Yea Big is the audio alias of Stefen Robinson, from Kankakee, Illinois. Stefen is 1/2 of the brains behind the kinetically sound hip hop duo Yea Big + Kid Static. Stefen is also a part-time member of Jane Dowe and Hank Hofler's Oh Astro, and co-developer of a "beautiful band that never existed" called Secretary. Yea Big sat down with The 405 to talk about how he got started, his work with Kid Static, his new home town of Chicago and his dog Miso. Special Thanks to Yea Big for the interview. When did you first start making beats? i've been recording and writing various kinds of music since around 7th grade. i started to gravitate toward beat oriented music during an independent study i did with a very amazing professor my last year of college. What music did you listen to/become inspired by growing up? in no particular order, these are some of the many artists and bands that really changed my outlook on music at various stages of my life up to now: Grateful Dead, Miles Davis, Ravi Shankar, Jim O'Rourke, John Hartford, Phish, DJ Shadow, Flaming Lips, Aphex Twin, Matmos, Ben Folds Five, Waylon Jennings, Boyz II Men, Weezer, Otomo Yoshihide, Aesop Rock... i could go on and on, but i'll stop here. What type of genre would you class your music as? Folk Music. How did you become affiliated with the likes of Kid Static and The Mae Shi? i've known Brad-Shi for many years. we grew up in the same town. but when i first heard his band (the Mae-Shi) my mind was thoroughly and forever blown. they are my favorite band in the world. i've since met, toured with, and become good friends with the rest of the band too. they are all great guys. i met Static when i moved to chicago a few years ago. i was looking for a vocalist to work with, and he came to my rescue. Kid Static is my favorite rapper in the world. i'm lucky to get to work with him. Do you think its an even playing field when it comes to rappers and producers getting the same recognition? the recognition they receive will be inherently different because the roles they play are different. How did you come up with the name Yea Big? in college i was in an improv band, in which i played laptop and electric mandolin, called Yea Big By Yadda Thick. i was going to just keep that name. BUT... i sent a demo cd to Matmos and they actually responded, but their entire response was about how they hated my name. it was hilarious and kind of salty. so after that i shortened it to Yea Big, and i've only had good responses and many many mispronunciations since. What is the key to never becoming bored with what you do? changing it up. i've gone from rock bands to bluegrass bands to self-indulgent improv groups to laptop shows to rap music. but i'm still not bored with what i'm doing with Static, i genuinely love the music we're making together. What's the music scene like in Chicago. Has it been easy for you to get noticed? the music scene in chicago is full and buzzing, much like any large city i'd assume. i don't necessarily feel like i'm a part of any scene though. i just make music. to answer your second question... its easy to get noticed, but its hard to hold people's attentions. What's been your biggest accomplishment so far? i don't know. maybe... raising and training my awesome dog, Miso. Where do you hopefully want to be with you work, 5 years from now? in five years, i hope to be making music as my full-time job. OR maybe i'll be a high-school history/politics teacher. Be sure to check out Yea Big on MySpace - Aaron