Tonight we feel exalted to host the exclusive premiere on Last Day Deaf of a song about memories; Memories that remain vivid until today from Los Angeles born-and-raised artist and musician Yoji Minor‘s childhood. ‘Ellis House‘ unleashes the tranquillity, naivety and sentimentality and it’s far from a folk ballad. The combination of the intimate and soothing vocals with the imposing strings’ arrangement is paradigmatic. This one comes straight from the heart and it’s an absolutely, humble soul testimony by the artist.
It’s fragile like the most valuable jewel been kept in the safe for decades. Today, it’s re-discovered….
Yoji Minor is a Los Angeles born-and-raised artist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who has played in numerous bands throughout the city’s indie-rock circuit, including Pkwy, Small Forward, and Yucky Bangs. Growing up in an artistic household—his dad is a guitar teacher and his mom is a drummer—he quickly developed a love for DIY punk and indie, as well as a love for classical composition. He began writing songs at 8 years old and recording at 13.
After graduating college with a degree in English Literature, he soon after got married, had a baby, and began life in the “real world.” For the most part, he now lives a “normal” life: working as a copy-writer and graphic designer in an office, raising a kid, trying hard to pay rent every month, and slowly uncovering the truth of that old aphorism: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with their song still inside them.” And yet, the compulsion to create remains unbearably strong.
So, in 2020, as the COVID pandemic forced us all into solitude, he changed his name to “Yoji Minor” (lol), began writing biographies about himself in the third person, and let go of his old goofy and meaningless indie-rock style in favor of a lush music that tried, instead, to capture a bit of that post-modern American dread he had been feeling in the air, hoping it would give others some comfort.
I grew up on Ellis Avenue in Inglewood, CA. The house that we lived in had a gigantic plot of backyard land—like, an absurd, surreal dreamland of wild weeds and ivy, spider webs, an overgrown rusted shed from the previous homeowner. The yard was larger than the house itself, and I spent my formative years roaming around back there, making things up and digging.
I feel extremely lucky to have had the rare opportunity of growing up in Los Angeles while simultaneously being exposed to the disorder of nature. That juxtaposition of concrete structures and gasoline-reeking streets with the mysteries of grass and bugs was important to my childhood. It did something. I can’t really explain what it did, but it did something.
This song is about that time, growing up in that old house on Ellis Avenue with my artist parents, our animals (we had a cat, a dog, three birds and a turtle), and the infinite ghosts that lived inside my budding anxious imagination. I’m not nostalgic for that time. Really, my memory is so clouded that I hardly remember how it felt to live there. But I am curious what that place did to me. I still feel haunted by certain aspects of it: the mosquitos, the bumble bees, the spiders, the concrete staircase in the backyard, the telephone wires lifted over the house, the cracked cement, the rusted shed, the smelly kitchen, the dusty windowsills.