Yuma X want to write music that makes you feel good, more than anything else.
Since sharing their earliest work together, the Sydney duo – comprised of singer-songwriter Lucy Washington and producer Jake Smith – have kept this uplifting sense of euphoria at the forefront of the music they make together, regardless of what the music itself is about. “We want to make music people can sing along to and have a good time to,” they say, and in a time where the world feels constantly thrown in disruption and chaos, Yuma X’s music offers an escape – even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Initially, this sense of escapism came in the intricacies of warm, slow-burning electronica. After meeting at a high school New Year’s Eve party in 2009, their debut EP – 2015’s Home Recordings – showcased the bright connection between the pair; Smith’s spare productions built to emphasise Washington’s sweeping vocals and the charm that lay within them. Clearly, the EP – alongside an earlier break-out single, a cult-adored cover of Ghoul’s ‘Swimming Pool’ – proved a success, throwing the group into the upper echelon of Australia’s growing indie-electronica world and capturing the attention of some of the genre’s titans: RÜFÜS DU SOL and ODESZA, for example, both enlisted Yuma X for national tours.
Following Home Recordings, Washington and Smith stepped away from the limelight to hone in on their skills and continue writing music, eventually returning in 2019 with a pair of singles that welcome a modern-day Yuma X. ‘Chasing Patterns’ saw the duo move into the swelling house-pop, encapsulating their increasing confidence and attraction to more club-centric productions. Contrastingly, ‘What You Want’ – which arrived a few months later as their second single for the year – brought a sense of versatility and range; Washington’s vocal in almost ballad-esque form amongst Smith’s subtle electronics details.
In 2020, Yuma X aren’t ready to disappear again. Their new single ‘Secret Lover’ is a taste of what to expect in the year to come, channeling a heavier influence in club-adjacent sounds while not drifting far from the comforting warmth that defined their earliest work. “I remember the song had a very 80s feel to it on the day, and it had this fun, anthemic sing-along energy about it,” says the duo’s Jake Smith on the single, which was written alongside Pawws – the alias for UK songwriter and musician Lucy Taylor (Dua Lipa, Friendly Fires).
“The song has changed a bit since then, but I always remember that feeling even when I hear the song as it is now.”
Arriving alongside a video clip directed by Maddy King, ‘Secret Lover’ sees Yuma X enter 2020 ready to take charge. “We’ve been working on a lot of music that has been quite fun and upbeat,” continues Smith. “We’re just focusing on making music that makes us feel good, and we hope people get the same feeling out of it too.” After years spent finding their strengths and learning how to showcase them at their confident best, singles like ‘Secret Lover’ prove that Yuma X are ready to shine once again.