By Sasha Foot
Reuben Styles is set to release new single Wolfer & Dove on Friday as part of his side project, Your Only Great Always (Y.O.G.A), in the midst of Sydney’s current lockdown.
Speaking to the Inner West over Zoom, Styles’s background shows his darkly-lit music studio, adorned with fairy lights and an impressive collection of guitars.
He has fortunately kept working in lockdown as his private Leichhardt studio is only a short walk from his St Peter’s home.
Styles has lived in the Inner West for the past four years and admits, “I came for the vibe but I stayed for the coffee.”
Despite the circumstances, Styles remains positive about the release of Wolfer & Dove.
“It is very prepared for an online only audience, the music video just so happened to be filmed before lockdown,” he told the Inner West Independent.
However he admits Sydney’s lockdown has impacted a live show set that was scheduled for August.
“There was an opportunity for a Y.O.G.A set… I was so excited because the debut of that show was supporting Kwame – it was great, we sold out and [now] that’s not going ahead,” he said.
Wolfer & Dove reflects Y.O.G.A’s focus on addressing mental health issues, with specific reference to hypermasculinity in Australia.
The filming of Wolfer & Dove’s music video on a farm in Cooma addresses masculine culture in rural areas.
“It’s a story about a man chasing his inner ‘herself’ and going through the mental health stigma that can be followed around regional communities,” he said.
Styles spoke fondly of property owner George, who gave full support to the music video’s vision.
“George is a great person that has been really active in creating spaces for people to open up and talk – share stories and their feelings.”
The music video’s lead actor, queer performance artist Nicola Enrico Bruni, enhances the track’s theme through a shocking reversal of masculine ideals.
“Nicola is a bearded drag queen and she plays the role of a real blokey bloke. You really feel this is the true hard yakka, before she makes the switch to herself,” he says.
The project of Y.O.G.A confronts mental health issues by creating a collaborative space that allows people to share stories through art and music.
Styles posted on Y.O.G.A’s instagram about the struggle of losing a close friend to mental illness, leading his friends, other music industry professionals and listeners to share their own experiences.
He looks forward to the reopening of Sydney and having the opportunity to perform his new track.
“I know the song is going to be really, really fun to play live,” he says.