Parisian DJ & Producer Yass knows a thing or two about production. He has signed releases with Defected, King Street, Guest House and Strictly Rhythm. Yass is pretty good behind the decks too with 25 years of experience, having played in Tokyo, Ministry of Sound, Pacha Ibiza, Vanguard in Hollywood and much more.
He has a new EP out on Great Stuff Recordings with his partner in crime Axelino featuring Nicolas Ly on the vocals. We reached out to him to ask some of his secrets when producing his great songs.
What software do you use when producing?
I mainly produce on Protools, but I use Ableton & Logic X as tools to set up loops, fx & some plugs too.
Are you more of a hardware geek or software guru? Definitely hardware guru...
Real machines are a part of my music history. I like both ways of producing, but I get more feelings with real ones.
What’s the piece of hardware in your studio you would never sell to anyone? (even Carl Cox)
My Emu Sp1200 drum machine.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been told when producing?
To have something to say & to express yourself during your producing process. The message you spread is the most important.
Are you well organized when making a track? A place for everything and everything in its place?
Yes I am, but the most as possible I’m trying to get some different approach of the track construction. It helps creativity to use new synths or sound banks for example.
Native Instruments or Waves?
Sorry I like both...
When you make a track what’s your favorite VST to use?
I like the Kontakt soundbanks or the Virus Ti plug in.
What’s the best VST compressor?
I like the SSL master comp or API compressor in wave or the opto c4 for the vocals.
What’s the best VST brand in your opinion?
Besides the magical UAD plugins... the Waves or Soundtoys plugins work very well.
How do you make a nice groove when making a track?
I usually start with pieces of loop (cut & paste) to find the proper groove...
Then I add or replace some drums elements with my real drum machines (mpc, Sp, Tr...). I usually set the kick later at the same time as the bassline. The keyboard and synth grooves are set up between the vocal idea and the beat/bass groove. Everybody has to match each other immediately (otherwise, the mixdown will be a nightmare)