Yeah Boy is the musical side project of former Parachute Youth member Johnny Courtidis (also known as Johnny Castro). Only The Beat had the pleasure of getting to know this fresh face in dance music with an interview that gives you the inside scoop on his recently released electro-pop inspired single “Can’t Get Enough”, the release of his first artist EP and all the inner workings of who Johnny is as an artist. Read on to learn more about Johnny as he prepares to launch his exciting new solo career.
Johnny, originally from Adelaide, Australia, is a singer/songwriter and music producer based out of London. His first big break in the world of dance music came at the end of 2011 when he teamed up with Matthew Gill (Matt K. Von) to form the electronic dance duo Parachute Youth. Their single “Can’t Get Better Than This”- released in January 2012- put them on the map, landing them a large following throughout Australia and Europe where they performed at a number of world renowned music festivals. Parachute Youth’s second single “Runaway”- released in January 2014- was accompanied by an awesome official video. Both received a staggering amount of success in a very short time, but the pair parted ways just a month after its release. Now, Johnny embarks on his own swift-moving solo career as Yeah Boy.
OTB: Who were you before you became Johnny Castro? What were you doing?
YB: I was working in a factory in Adelaide with my Dad. I always wanted to pursue music but wasn't pushing it that much, then one day when I got more into the scene I thought, 'Yeah I could definitely do this as a career!'
OTB: Who were your first musical influences and who are your biggest influences today?
YB: I was influenced by so many different artists it's hard to say. But early on I'd say a lot of hip hop and soul music. I love my female soul artists, haha. Mary J Blige, Sade, Toni Braxton etc. Progressing through my musical career having played at a lot of Dance Music festivals, my influences are changing everyday, but I'm always learning and taking new things on board...it's rather exciting! At the moment I'd have to say my major influence would be Pharrell Williams. Man, I would kill to have a writing session with him!
OTB: If you could pick anyone in the world, who would you love to collaborate with next and why? What kind of track would you make?
YB: Sorry to mention him again, but my main man Pharrell. To me he still seems like a super talented little kid who you could still have fun with in and out of the studio. It's not as far as a man crush, but I dig his music.OTB: What is your creative process like?
YB: It varies a lot. I think some days are harder than others. There were a lot of times in London I would be out and about and suddenly get a great vocal idea and think 'Damn I'm going to forget this'. So I'd have to record it into my phone in public while people watched me sing into my phone on the street, haha.OTB: How would you describe your sound to an 80-year old woman?
YB: Something that will hopefully get you out of your seat/wheelchair and grooving!OTB: What is the most gratifying part of your job?
YB: I'd say the moment when you've created something from the heart and you are so proud and people respond so positively to it. Like playing your favourite song you've written and hearing a crowd go crazy for it.
OTB: In terms of your career, what would you say is your biggest accomplishment thus far?
YB: I think my commitment would be the best accomplishment. I've played many well known festivals and travelled across Europe and had a great time, but there have also been many, many hard times where you feel like you could pull the pin on your career. I'm so happy I've had a great manager and team to snap me out of it and keep my eye on the prize.
OTB: What has your involvement with Parachute Youth taught you about being a DJ/producer in today's industry? What does it take to be successful?
YB: Being committed! Pushing through the hard times and putting in the work. You need to keep writing and learning. In time that success will come, some get it early, some don't, but it's the journey there that makes success taste so much better.
OTB: How has your music grown since Parachute Youth? What are some of the differences between that sound and your new sound?
YB: My music is quite different than that of Parachute Youth. I feel I can be more experimental and try new things as Yeah Boy. PY has a set formula to making our songs work, which was great and exciting, but as time goes by it becomes more difficult to 'nail it'.
OTB: Which of your upcoming endeavors are you most excited about?
YB: I'm so excited to see the response to the first EP and the 2nd. Then I'm super pumped about finishing and releasing an album. I can't believe I have the support of these major labels from around the world. I'm so blessed to have this for my first release.
OTB: What is your ultimate career goal? (i.e. winning a Grammy)
YB: A Grammy would be nice, haha. I think just finally having an album or two out and watching it just blow up. We never did do an album with Parachute Youth, so I don't know that feeling, soon though!
OTB: Where do you see the future of electronic dance music going and where do you envision yourself in the mix? How would you contribute to the future of the culture?
YB: I believe electronic music will always be adapting and it will always eventually return to its early roots. It's a trend that's never ending and If I can contribute with some original Yeah Boy then I'll be happy!
OTB: What is your most memorable night out as a fan and how has that night impacted your career?
YB: I went to go watch Pink Floyd and to see the response they got before they even started to play was incredible. It was unlike any music festival i've seen. It was more real. I would love to have that reaction one day at an arena!
OTB: Do you have any other hobbies, talents or interests outside of music, and if so, what are they?
YB: I do indeed! I recently have been going to my local pub in South London with some friends I've met there; just going crazy watching every Chelsea game cheering and drinking with 100 other crazy fans. I'm a proper hooligan!OTB: What is your favorite quote?
YB: "Music Is What Feelings Sound Like"
For more information on Yeah Boy and to purchase "Cant Get Enough"