Ahead of our day party on July 24th 2021 at the Progress Centre, with Freddy K, The Lady Machine and Yant, we had the pleasure of sitting down (virtually) with Yant to find out more about his journey.
When did you start making music? Can you set the scene for what led you down that path?
Hey, thanks for inviting me in for the chat, always been a reader of these over the years so it’s amazing to be on here.
I started making music when I was around 13 years old, so around 11 years ago. I’ve always just been intrigued in the process of creation. Always trying to discover new things and always thinking “how do you do this?” (obviously not necessarily new but new to myself). I’ve dabbled with other creative outlets but this one really stuck with me. I think everyone has something, they just need to try it.
I’m curious so this is a good place to ask – why the name Yant?
Haha I’ve been asked this a few times and it’s been slightly twisted and adapted along the way, it didn’t start off as much but turned out quite interesting. I was just playing around with the letters of my name, my nickname was andy t at school so I tried that. At the time I googled the word Yant to see if there was actually a meaning for it and found that in Thai means Yantra. Which actually means ‘Machine’ in Sanskrit (a classical language of South Asia). So I thought that would work, machine heavy music, the connection between the two, mind and machine and more recently I’ve been meditating to keep the mind healthy, it all kind of fits and has a much more personal meaning to me now, and my music.
I’d love it if you could give us maybe:
- 5 tracks you’re loving (other artists)
- 3 Yant tracks to get a flavour for you as an artist
- 1 mix you’d chuck on in the car given the opportunity
Here are just a handful of tracks that I have discovered or re-discovered recently. Although some tracks might have been released a while ago, new is what’s new to me, these are refreshing so have a taster of a slice of my collection.
Tough to pick a few but 1 mix, I’m going with techno here, strapped in for the journey. Let’s say Manchester to London. DVS1 in Tokyo.
Velocette – Untitled
Deluka – Acid Sundays
Terrence Dixon – Music Box
Head Front Panel – Vocalize
Herb LF – Keep It In Red
Yant – Contravention
Yant – Rubble Trouble
Yant – Cut Loose
DVS1 in Tokyo
Do you have any artists or labels that inspire you? They could be early influences or recent – we don’t mind!
I will always go back to the music that really gripped me first within electronic music and made me think, this is fucking pure, no messing about, serious music. So definitely Ed Rush & Optical’s Virus Recordings, the early stuff like their album Wormhole which is a classic and presents 10 gritty analogue tracks with such strong themes in each. I’m just going to list some names for people to check out as I could be here all day talking about them: Photek, Metalheadz, Mala, Skream, El-B, Luke Slater, James Ruskin, Alfa Mist, Buffalo Brothers, Blawan.
There’s so many, I’ve been lucky to have been introduced to and to still be around so many styles of music, and I love that. I get to take influences from everywhere and whatever comes out of me is a twisted collective combination of those. I’ve only scratched the surface of bringing the ideas to life.
What’s your go-to of the following (and if you don’t have one, what could you see yourself using?) .. feel free to tell us why!
Ableton Live 10
Operator within Ableton is Polyphonic and can either work as an FM synth or using subtractive or additive synthesis, there aren’t many tracks that i haven’t used it in. Also in the realm out of the box studio gear I was able to get my hands on a Prophet 6 for a couple of days at my good friend Habgud’s studio, which one day I will own… We created some beautiful sounds through that, the filters are just lush.
There are a few, Trillian VST is amazing for warm basslines, although I havn’t used it a lot in my tracks. Out of the box, I had a Korg MS-20 which I loved for a while but had to part with it. Now I have a behringer Model D which sounds really phat and is super cheap.
Drum Rack in Ableton or Drumazon. Of course the 909. Although I am trying to implement some finger tapping and a field recorder.
I’ve lived with my first monitors (m-audio bx5 d2) since 2013, pretty awful monitors when compared to the majority of others but i’ve been able to learn how they respond during that time, although moving house every year for the past 4 years has made it more difficult to predict the response, each room sounds so much different so I usually try to play a lot of music on them and leave things running in the background while I leave the room when I first move in. This helps me to become familiar with the acoustics by listening to music I know quite well, and a variety of styles. Fortunately, I now have access to a studio where I work (Make Me A DJ) with a pair of Genelec 8030a monitors which are so much clearer. In the past I was also lucky to have access to the studios at SSR in Manchester which had some PMC MB2S-A’s which would be the dream… £££££
Outboard effects unit (delay / reverb…)
As I don’t have any, I will say I have tested the outboard of Roland Chorus Echo SRE-555, Lexicon 224, AMS DMX 15-80S, and all are amazing but my time on those were all short lived. Budget is the answer for me right now, so i’m looking for a few bits to expand. I find that these outboard units usually sit much better in a mix, where in the box effects seem to take much more tinkering to get them to a point i’m satisfied with.
Any other studio secret weapons?
Ears and the book of no rules 🙂
Something that struck me is your dedication to production, and it’s really exciting to see you hone your craft and become more established with each release. Have you ever had any inclination to run a clubnight, a label, or perform a live-set? Why?
Thanks yea I find it’s the most important part of what we do, without the music there is nothing, no scene, no dancing, no clubbing, no djing. And now that there are a lot of people making music, the next thing is to try to keep things fresh and come up with new ideas, whether that’s through new sounds or themes or rhythms it doesn’t matter but it has to have identity and something different about it.
I would love to run a club night, I have been involved with running a few events in the past, but I think i’d rather commit to building one thing at a time, give it my all and when I feel I can do something else and make sure it’s going to be good, then i’m well up for it!
Similarly with a live set, I want to build up a bit of a story first with this and then present landmarks or freeze frames in the journey when it’s ready to present.
What’re your tips or mantras for staying focussed? What motivates you?
Through lockdown especially its been tough to do this, with no gigs, little social contact other than through a screen and plenty of time for your mind to overthink, but I think my motivation has always been a combination of things but mostly remembering feelings i’ve had in the past. Either not wanting to feel like that, or wanting to regain that feeling.
The basics in life need to be in a good place in order for you to perform at your best. So, to help, I have been walking more often, doing yoga, and some meditation when needed. Sometimes we need rest to come back stronger.
Fortunately through this period though I have been lucky to have some connections with people I have never met before, which has been one of the struggles for many during this pandemic. I took on an inspiring job teaching people and sharing my knowledge of music, djing and producing.
I’m trying not to take us down a rabbit hole with what’s happened over the last 18 months so instead will look forward – can you chat to us a bit about what’s on the horizon for you?
So I’m really looking forward to the next chapter. With some positive news in the UK about the reopening of our clubs I’m feeling optimistic and raring to go. There’s some exciting bookings to announce both within the UK and Europe which will be wild. And ofcourse, absolutely buzzing for this Meat Free event, it’s been a dream since moving to Manchester to play, so thanks for the invite.
I will also have some new music coming on a few different labels, and two which have been very influential in Techno’s history. And soon will be working on returning again to SK_Eleven.
I can’t reveal too much more yet, but I am excited about what will come.
And my curveballers –
What book is on your bedside table at the mo?
I don’t read books that often, as much as I intend to, but I recently bought ‘Music Theory for Electronic Music Producers’ and Mark Archer’s ‘The Man Behind The Mask’ which I really need to read, flicking through, there’s some wild stories. After meeting Mark at Freerotation and hearing some of them deffo had to grab it.
A country you’d love to visit, and why?
Ukraine right now, for the club culture, it seems to be really strong right now and have heard nice things from friends who have visited. Aside from the nightlife, I’d love to go to Iceland and explore. It looks beautiful.
What’s something you’ve never disclosed in an interview before that you want to share?
I turned up to my first ever gig with CD’s I’d burned ready to play and the CDJ’s wouldn’t read any of the disks!! Honestly, still carry that anxiety every time I put my USB in the deck now.
Something we always like to ask as we get some unexpected answers – if you weren’t doing music, or could pursue something else, anything, what would it be? (Some previous interesting answers have included XDB who is an avid tennis coach, and Ancient Methods, who is a very successful lawyer Mon-Fri!)
I used to play football at a decent standard as a kid, but music was my big distraction from that. Maybe without music I’d have been more focused with that and other sports. I’m so glad I am involved in this.
We are all super excited especially given how much of a rollercoaster the last 18 months have been. What can Manchester expect from you on 24th July?
Expect energy and groove! I’ve been given the green light to get the blood pumping early doors so don’t miss a second of the party, we know how easily it can be taken away from us…