Who is Hello Yes? Eclectic Live Duo Open Up Ahead of New EP
The electronic outfit Hello Yes smashed their debut set at this year’s Lightning in a Bottle festival. The duo consists of Aaron Leibowitz on saxophone and Mitch Bell on guitar, who first crossed paths while touring with Grammy-nominated electronic artist ZHU.
A few years, a debut EP titled Listen Clearly, and several tours later, the group gears up to release their newest four-track EP, Lost Signal, on Oct. 21.
Although the group landed a festival slot at Lightning in a Bottle without much previous traction, their May set solidified a loyal fanbase. The duo amasses over 65,000 listeners on Spotify, increasing daily.
“We knew it was going to be special, but it ended up kind of being on another level,” Leibowitz said. “Having that sort of cosmetic energy where everyone sort of comes into the stage, and all the totems start coming in, and everything lined up just perfectly. We had planned a really special set, and I don’t think it could have gone any better.”
“Literally after the first or second drop of our whole song, the stage was packed, and they rocked with us the whole night,” Bell said. “It really just confirmed that we’re in the right space and heading in the right direction.”
Hello Yes derives its moniker from a trip Leibowitz embarked on with his girlfriend. The couple traveled to Bali, Indonesia, where they encountered vendors gesturing for their business with two welcoming words, “hello” and “yes.”
Leibowitz adored the junction so much that he added it to his prank phone call vocabulary. While touring with ZHU, Leibowitz and Bell submitted to the underrated art of crank calls.
“Somehow the ‘hello yes’ made it into the prank phone calls. We were all riffing on that, and later on, Mitch and I were listening to these phone calls and noticed that the ‘hello yes’ was kind of different,” Leibowitz explained. “Who says that? No one says those words together. It’s kind of strange. It’s like not how American vernacular usually goes, but it totally makes sense to put an affirmation after a greeting, and we’re like shit. That should be the band name.”
Between Airbnb workshops, impromptu garage sessions, and creative nights in cities, the group does not settle on a single style of creating hits. Sometimes the regimented schedule of tour helps them carve out a time slot for songwriting, and sometimes a hiatus from touring allows them to generate chart-toppers.
“The EP [Lost Signal] really touches on the ups and downs we have in our significant relationships, so we hope that everybody can hear that. They’re all very simple little messages in each song, but hopefully, everybody can hear the pain, the beauty, the struggle that we all experience in our relationships,” Bell said.
“My Love” is the first track on the four-tune EP Lost Signal. The opening track originated as a workshop song in a Zoom class Bell taught during the onslaught of COVID-19. While Bell instructed students on how to craft the perfect song, he realized the sample exemplified the exact sound the band sought out.
The melodious, ethereal song chirps with chimes, hollow percussive notes and flits with a romantic saxophone beat. The breathy flute elevates the romantic nature of the beginning of a new relationship, and the ballad concludes with a lick of decrescendoing flute riffs and percussive hits.
Bell continued, adding that the festival performance demolished any doubt the group had about their inaugural performance. According to Bell, the initial lack of audience inflated the group’s collective apprehension for the inaugural performance, but that anxiety soon evaporated.
Over the Zoom call with MP3 MAG, Bell demonstrated some of the production elements included in the song.
“There are sounds of me banging on this desk, so that’s in the song. I think I was hitting this candle with this pipe,” Bell explained as he brought a candle into his camera and mimicked the creation of “My Love.”
Hello Yes wrote “The Lesson” in three hours in a garage. According to Bell, it encapsulates everything Hello Yes desires to be “kind of dirty, grungy, but also sensual and textural.”
This darker tune throws listeners into the limbo entered immediately after a breakup. Shekere shakes shimmy behind vocals recounting a situation of a lover learning they will get burnt in their relationships. The words “stop asking” loop throughout the entirety of the track, suggesting someone suffering from the heartache of separation.
Never Trusted Me adds longing saxophone melodies depicting the absence of trust in failed relationships, utilizing deeper horn rhythms and flute measures to draw listeners into post-relationship healing. The somber start of the EP concludes with crescendoes of hopeful horns and swirling, airy synth, inviting the process to repeat.
Leibowitz said he hopes the EP stirs up feelings of nostalgia or joy in listeners.
“I hope that one of our songs on this EP elicits that from people because sometimes we write a sad song, but the way the song presents itself might make someone really happy, and you can’t control that, which is the beauty of all of it. It’s just art, and it’s to be interpreted.”