Yanni On ‘Sensuous Chill,’ Playing The Pyramids & ‘New Age’ Music [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]
Yanni, the Greek composer and music producer, recently dropped his 17th studio album, Sensuous Chill, which he’s not too shy to say is what he likes listening to most these days.
Yanni On ‘Sensuous Chill’
“You know, it’s one of my favorite albums right now,” Yanni, told uInterview in an exclusive interview about Sensuous Chill, which took five years to come together. “I wanted to create an album that would create atmosphere for the listener that was first of all sensuous. I wanted it to be melodious. I wanted it to be rhythmic. At the same time, I wanted it to be sexy.”
Sensuous Chill was spurred on by Yanni’s desire for an album that – from start to finish – allowed the listener to be lost in it. Unable to find a “station” on the multitude of streaming services that delivered on the promise of providing enjoyment while not requiring one’s full attention, Yanni set out to make his own album that did just that.
“Out of desperation I decided: Here’s what I want, I want this, I want it precisely in this fashion. So it was…” Yanni, whose full name is Yiannis Chryssomallis, explained of his new album. “It works for me. I hope people enjoy it.”
Asked to pick his favorite song out of the 17 on Sensuous Chill, Yanni declines. “Once they all come together as one the whole album becomes a track,” he says. “There’s a beginning a middle and an end. And it flows, like a song.”
Yanni dedicates nearly as much time and attention to the details of a concept to his live shows as he does to his albums. Last fall, he had the honor and the pleasure of performing at the Great Pyramids of Giza. Like with other notable concert venues he’s played at over the years, the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence proved a challenging concert stage – but one well worth the challenge.
“Oh, don’t even ask about the technical aspect. That is not an easy concert to do,” Yanni told uInterview. “Any time you see me play at the Acropolis, the Taj Mahal, the Forbidden City, the Pyramids, or any of that stuff, assume that it is a year’s work of preparations, and work of a lot of people. The experience, though, was phenomenal.”
Yanni, who is excited to be playing across the United States this year, has amassed his dedicated following with his impressive output of experimental instrumental music. He’s also earned the label of a “new age” artist, which Yanni thinks is a misnomer.
“Nobody knows what New Age is! What is New Age?” asks Yanni. Flinging off the label while pointing out its shortcomings, Yanni declared, “New Age becomes Old Age really fast.”
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You know, it’s one of my favorite albums right now. It is consistent. It was meant to be that way. And it took me five years to finish it. It took me that long because I worked with some of the best musicians, and I took my time because I wanted to create an album that would create atmosphere for the listener that was first of all sensuous. I wanted it to be melodious. I wanted it to be rhythmic. At the same time, I wanted it to be sexy. And I also wanted it to last a long time. That’s why there are 17 songs on this album.
The album is not demanding. It does not demand your attention to enjoy it. It’s meant to be an album that you put on repeat and let it play. And it came out of a need. I made it for me. Cause I’ve been trying to find albums – I mean stations – on the web, that I might appreciate and I could never find one. Because sometimes it would be okay for five minutes, and then it would be something else, and something else and something else. And then there’d be another good piece, and bunch of not so good pieces, falling. So, out of desperation I decided: Here’s what I want, I want this, I want it precisely in this fashion. So it was… It works for me. I hope people enjoy it.
That’s very difficult to pick. I cannot say this track or that track or that track ‘cause that pigeon holes the album. And my favorite track tends to be the track of the album I’m working on at the time. Once they all come together as one the whole album becomes a track. There’s a beginning a middle and an end. And it flows, like a song.
Oh, don’t even ask about the technical aspect. That is not an easy concert to do. Any time you see me play at the Acropolis, the Taj Mahal, the Forbidden City, the Pyramids, or any of that stuff, assume that it is a year’s work of preparations, and work of a lot of people. The experience, though, was phenomenal. And it wasn’t just the experience of performing there. It’s the fact that the Egyptian people took us in. They protected us. They loved us. They showed us their love. We went into places that nobody is allowed to go. We went inside the pyramids. We went to the national museums. We went to… I mean, we were inundated with their culture. And their culture is phenomenal.
Of course. There is always a security challenge whenever you go to the Middle East. But I have been in the Middle East many, many times. After we left Egypt, we went to Sharjah. Not that there’s any trouble with Sharjah. But, you know, we’ve been in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Sharjah, Dubai—you name it—Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia. You know, any time you’re in this area, there’s always a challenge. Especially in Egypt, I was very, very well protected. They made sure we were very protected.
Right now, I don’t know. The most amazing place I’m going to play next is the United States of America, is North America. And that includes 60 or so concerts. That’s a long time. And I’m going to enjoy every one of them.
Because nobody knows what New Age is! What is New Age? It’s like a guy in Los Angeles…I can see it right now! There are a bunch of people in Los Angeles, in some small little room, executives from record companies, and they’re all scratching their heads going, ‘What do you want to do with this guy named Yanni? You know, he plays classical music, he plays jazz, he plays this, he’s played that, he plays electronic music, he’s doing this, he’s doing that. What do we categorize him as?’ And I can see this one little guy in the back going, ‘Why don’t we call him New Age?’ And everybody went, ‘That sounds really good?’ There’s one little problem with that. New Age becomes Old Age really fast.