An eclectic mix and interview with Overview rising talent
Y’all know YAANO… And if you don’t, then now is most definitely the time to get to know.
Literally Blossoming into the scene in 2021 on Overview, then sealing the deal with a follow up EP on Critical Music‘s Binary series the following summer, he’s another exemplary tale of lockdown silver linings as he ploughed every bit of furlough time into what began as a mere curious interest… And has now turned into a fully fledged life obsession.
No big plans or grand designs; just a love of vibrant, springy, unbounded sonics (and levels of respect for all religious dubstep movements) that has now mutated into a strong reputation for making leftfield bass music with a wily, fizzy, instantly recognisable signature.
Unique, untamed drum arrangements, lush vocal textures and more twists and turns than an itchy snake, so far his output has been within the drum & bass realm. But as 2023 progresses we are set to experience plenty more sides to YAANO’s vision across the dancefloor landscape.
To mark this exciting development and celebrate his latest Overview EP – Cicada – we catch up with YAANO and grab this beautiful multi-genre mix from him in the process. Y’all better get to know!
I’ve been meaning to speak to you for so long! Pretty much since we played every track of your Blossom EP on Vision Radio.
That was so cool man. I thought I was lucky to have one or two tracks played but it was a six track EP and six weeks in a row you played something. The support was crazy! That’s what I really respect about Noisia. Even though they’re the ceiling of where you can take this, they’ve always been so supportive of everyone else coming through. With their position they could be really selective but instead they’re really encouraging of fresh ideas and energy. That’s inspiring.
Damn right. Inspires me every week! Your new EP is inspiring, too. I was looking up some facts about cicadas before we spoke. They’re fascinating creatures. How does one end up paying tribute to cicadas on a tune?
They are fascinating aren’t they! Basically I was watching someone play a video game, an indie horror game. It starts as you go through this train and the more you go through it, the more intense it gets. Cicadas can be heard throughout the train and it gets more and more dominant. It’s pretty freaky and you’re trying to work out the symbolism of them. That was the first time I really paid attention to them so I looked into them and yeah, they’re really cool! I ended up even loving the word so the track was named after it.
Plus they spend a lot of time underground and make loud noises. Very drum & bass!
They’re the loudest insect in the world mate.
Mixdown on lock!
I love the intro. I like it when atonal sounds become part of a beautiful melody
Ah nice one. I think there’s always a balance to be made between what’s predictable and what’s not. You want people to get pleasure from knowing where the track is going but you don’t want it to be too predictable or it’s not exciting. So the balance of satisfaction and excitement is key and an arrangement like that works really well. In those first 16 bars you have a moment where you have no idea where it’s going but also satisfaction when it suddenly does come together.
Yeah I love that. I’d say you’re excelling with the unpredictability you know…
I think it’s down to approach. I never want anything to sound generic so with every track I try and do something completely new. If you change your technique from what you usually do you’re bound to get different results but you’ll also develop your own sound because you’ll still process things in a certain way and see things to be done in a way you usually would.
Painting with the different colours in a way?
So you don’t use the same drums in more than one tune?
Oh I’m not afraid to use my own samples regularly. It’s more about the making them sound different but they do become part of your character anyway. It’s like S.P.Y with his classic riser – the minute you hear that, you know it’s him. So I quite like little signature sounds that people can recognise.
I think your drums are your signature. Loads of mad rhythms
I am trying to stay away from the classic two-step rhythm. I rinsed that when I first started and it’s nowhere near as exciting for me anymore. I prefer the breakbeat, jungly style, you can get more groove and swing that way.
Love that Latesleeper collab! She’s smashing it, how did you link up?
We met on lockdown online and were both starting to get really into it and starting to put our first releases out. We started Plimbo around September 2021 so it’s been a long time coming. We couldn’t quite work out where it was going or what it needed to be but I’m glad we took our time. The drum pattern was always there, it was mainly down to getting the right sub to hit but I think we got there.
You definitely did. It’s out there. I can’t find many other comparable tunes
It’s an interesting one. You have to be careful where and when you drop a tune like that.
Yeah not every rave is going to get it
Definitely not a freshers!
Haha. So talk to me about Christian Dubstep. The Critical release was a big moment for you wasn’t it?
A huge moment! Kasra approached me around the time of the Blossom EP. It took about seven or eight months to get some ideas together. He picked his favourites and I finished them off. I didn’t rush it and I’m really glad I didn’t. that’s why there was a year’s gap between the two. It was well received, so I was happy about that.
Where did the name come from?
It was this joke we had in our friend group with a picture of Jesus with Christian Dubstep in AC/DC style font. So I gave the track that as a WIP name but sent it to Kasra and he played it on Rinse and introduced it as Christian Dubstep so that was that. I had to commit to it. It wasn’t intentional.
Any haters or followers in the name of Jesus?
I had a few people in the comments saying ‘this isn’t Christian and it’s not dubstep!’ I didn’t want to explain the story to everyone so I just left it open to interpretation.
Definitely for the best. It’s mad you’ve only been on this for a few years. Feels like longer.
It’s been a long couple of years to be honest, but hopefully just the beginning. Fingers crossed! As things go on I want to release more things outside of D&B and expand sonically as much as I can. I want to get more international if I can.
It’s only a matter of time! What got you on this path in the first place?
The first D&B tune I heard was Pendulum Hold Your Colour, it was in a montage video and I was 13 and thought it was sick. Then I phased away from it and came back to it when I got into gaming. I’ve been through loads of phases with it depending on what was being booked in the clubs in Jersey. There are limited clubs here so we’d be at the mercy of the promoters. We’d have some really sick nights though.
Go on. What’s Jersey like? I’ve never been!
It’s a vibe. You need to check it out if you get the chance. Especially in the summer. It’s nine by five miles so it’s quite small but the D&B scene is strong considering how small it is. We’ve had Andy C one month, the next would be Camo & Krooked, or Wilkinson then in between you’d have the more underground promoters booking the smaller and up-coming artists.
Were you part of that scene and DJing amongst it?
Later on I was for a while. I DJ’d in my early 20s – the two years before lockdown happened. It was more a bit of fun on the weekend while I worked a crappy 9-5. I didn’t even have plans to produce back then.
Wow. So this has all come about in really interesting and quite random way
Yeah I guess it has. Before lockdown I had the odd dabble but it wasn’t focused or going anywhere. Work, socialising, life stuff all got in the way. I’d do a session then give up for another two months. Lockdown was when I actually sat down and properly made a concerted effort to do this.
WTF levels are high here! I started doing Vision Radio half way through lockdown and we played Blossom within months of me starting.
Yeah that came out in June and I think you started playing it in May, maybe? It wasn’t like I didn’t have any ideas of clue before lockdown but it wasn’t serious at all, just very very casual and amateur. Then from March 2020 that’s literally all I did. It’s got better and better ever since. It’s been fucking brilliant actually.
Haha. Damn right. This is really inspiring. This is the shit dreams are made of. You must have a natural aptitude to this type of creative outlet?
I’d agree. And I think it’s down to commitment and dedication. You can get stuck in that trap of being really inspired by something but then when it comes to it, your mate calls you to the pub and you’ve dropped it again. You’ve got to focus and get it done and I did disappear for a few years. My mates hardly saw me. You’ve got to make those sacrifices.
So many people say that in interviews. It’s true. You sacrifice your 20s, or relationships, or your social life or careers. You do what you’ve got to do. Are you the type of person who goes fully in when you decide to do something?
Surprisingly not! When I was younger I’d get into something really quickly for a week and then move on. My parents were reluctant to buy things for hobbies because I’d move on so quickly. I remember when I bought my first decks and speakers and showed my dad. He shook his head and said it was the most expensive hobby I’ve committed to so far.
Ha! Jokes on him! What does he make of your music now?
My parents are so supportive, it’s lovely. They ask about my next releases and gigs and bookings. My mum is like my own manager who only speaks to me. She doesn’t get any work in but she’s always checking up on me and making sure I’m on top of my shit!
Love it! So what comes after Cicada?
So I’ve just dropped a remix of IMANU along with VISLA. That came out on Deadbeats which is really cool. Then I’ve got one track per month coming out in May and June. I’m not sure how much I can say about that but they’re remixes…
Are they the non drum & bass bits you mentioned?
They are actually! It’s the start of introducing that side of me…
Oh sick! So it’s very clear you don’t just listen to D&B. What’s your collection saying?
I listen to a lot of house and future bass stuff.
I can hear the house influence. In the vocals especially.
Yeah I do tend to lean towards bright and poppy vocals. I’ve never been the biggest fan of dark, depressing D&B. The same with a lot of 140 music, it’s very tense and gloomy for me. My musical background is a lot more mainstream and I think that comes through. More in vibe than in sound. I’m into happy music basically.
Sick. What else does the world need to know about YAANO?
I hope you’re excited by the new music and there’s more to come and I hope people like it!