From the footy field to the dancefloor, Joey Daye’s new single “Yerra (Soar)” incorporates native sounds with electronic music, and the result is hauntingly beautiful.
Joey Daye is no stranger to the spotlight. After a successful career in professional AFL, where he became one of an elite group of players who scored a goal with their first kick in their debut game, Daye hung up his boots in 2018 to pursue his passion for music. Daye’s previous club-ready release “Everything You Need” was featured on the CLUBWRK “Tracks of 2021” list. Yerra (Soar) is a shift away from the club sound and towards ambient house music, inspired by a connection with family.
Yerra (Soar) is such a beautiful song! What inspired you to make it?
My family and close friends mean everything to me, and have always been the ones to inspire me to make the most out of life. About ten years ago, I worked on some projects with my uncle, Manuel Dhurrkay, who was in the award-winning Indigenous roots band Saltwater Band from the Northern Territory. I dug those projects out and felt a powerful pull from the deep sense of culture ingrained in the vocals as well as the personal connection to family. I found myself singing and recording some vocal effects, as well as playing my own didgeridoo to record some of the breakdown, as well as clap sticks to make the clapping sounds. I wanted to recreate that connection I felt to the music through sounds that are almost spiritual and leave you feeling relaxed but elated at the same time.
What inspired you to go from football to music?
It’s funny, because when I was playing footy, I was always doing run-out music, and a friend of mine, Marlon Motlop, and I used to borrow our football coach’s laptop to play with Garageband and make beats. I think it was from there that I became obsessed with making music. At my exit interview, the coach even mentioned that music was a passion I should pursue. I think now I can say that music was probably my main passion all along, and not football!
What is the meaning behind the word “Yerra”?
“Yerra” is a Ngunnawal word that means “to fly” or “soar.” When I chose the name, I was thinking about my nephews Mannix and Kodai and the idea of them growing up, spreading their wings, and “soaring” in life.
Yerra (Soar) debuted at number 61 in the ARIA Club Charts and is now at an impressive 28! What does that feel like?
I wish I could show you my bucket list because being in the Top 100 in the ARIA Club Charts is actually on it. I can tick that one off now! When I got the news, I was smiling from ear to ear.
What can we expect next?
I’ve got more tunes in the pipeline; there’s a mixture of chilled vibes as well as some club tracks that are more tech house. I’m also going to Japan in April. Japan is an incredible place for me creatively; the last time I was there in 2019, I ended up finishing two songs. This time I’m heading to Tokyo to go crate-digging in Japanese old school record stores and check out the nightclubs, where I’m sure I’ll find plenty of inspiration. I’m also hoping to do a couple of gigs while I’m over there.
Godson of AFL royalty, Michael Long and the eldest of three boys, Daye was born in Melbourne before relocating to Brisbane, where he was raised in the northern suburbs. Prior to starting his career in the music industry, Joey Daye played AFL professionally in Queensland after being drafted by the Gold Coast Suns in 2009. After 2011, he relocated to Perth, where he played for the Subiaco Lions. Daye joins another AFL player who has since dedicated his career to music, Vance Joy.