This is a man who needs no introduction. Famed for his work with Loco Dice and Desolat, Yaya has gained notoriety with a plethora of excellent releases over the past few years.
Likened to the sound made so popular by London’s Fuse crew, the Berlin-based producers fluent sets and heavyweight, groove-driven productions have put him up there with the greats and his latest release, ‘13K’ lives up to the hype. Coming through as his debut release on his own brand new vinyl only label ‘Tamango’, it has his signature groove written all over it. The Italian born maestro has had releases on Get Physical, Cadenza and Kaluki to name a few and seems to have a never ending touring schedule. This is one of the hardest working men on the scene.
We sat down with the man to discuss his plans for the label, and his thoughts on 2016.
Hi Yaya, how are you?
Hello guys, I’m wonderful, everything’s fine here in Berlin. I just love to live and work in this city full of artists, music studios and parties. It’s by the way the best place to live for an electronic musician… definitely my bread and butter.
We love the debut release on your latest project ‘Tamango’. Tell us a little bit about the new label and the inspiration behind it?
Tamango is the name of the first black slave who, according to the legend, rebelled to his slavery condition, but is also inspired by the famous cocktail that my parents still prepare in their pub “Les Arcades” in Turin since 38 years. It’s even stronger than Absinth! So these are the main reasons about the label’s name and I’m very happy about it, I think it’s quite a catchy name too.
It has that signature sound associated with your music. Tell us a bit about your musical background and what influences your sound.
Since I was 3 years old my father introduced me to the world of music with his huge vinyl collection, mostly based on Afro-funk and Afro-beat music. I grew up on James Brown, Fela Kuti, Manu Dibango, M’bamina and many others, including my personal favourite, Michael Jackson.
We also just saw a release form yourself on Italy’s Admaoira Music. As a producer you seem to have a relentless work rate. How do you manage your time between touring and studio time?
This year I had more time to work in the studio compared to the last couple of years. I worked on a lot of new tracks and projects, including my new alias “Chango” together with my friend Hugo. As I said before, I also had time to launch my newborn label Tamango and it’s now time to enjoy the fruits of my labour and efforts. I already completed 3 releases in the last two month and I have more to come in 2017, including new joints on Tamango, Hector’s “Vatos Locos”, Monologue, Eukatech and more unreleased stuff.
What is your preferred studio set up? What was used on the latest ‘13K’ EP.
I work with Logic. I really like its clarity and easiness to work with. In my latest ‘13K’ EP I also used Moog Voyager, Elektron and Maschine Studio.
And why did you make it an exclusively vinyl release?
I decided to take this way because I’m a super vinyl lover. I buy records since I started playing music when I was 13 years old. I’m addicted to this fantastic physical support and I will buy records that day (I hope it’s very far from now) when I’ll quit playing music.
The past year or so has seen the revival of wax and the ongoing debate between vinyl and digital use. What is your stance on this topic?
Everyone should be free to play the way he prefers, but I appreciate more djs who use vinyls, especially when I see young talents using it. These guys remind me when I was a child and I had their same passion.
You’re famed for your releases and involvement with Desolat. Are you still working heavily with the label as well as branching out with your own projects?
I was one of the first artists ever to join the Desolat’s family back in 2009, they always made me feel at ease and I will be forever grateful to Dice, Martin and the whole crew for what they did for me and for my career. I launched my imprint because I feel that I need to create something new and more personal. I definitely felt the need of new stimulations and I think that the project of Tamango is the best expression of them.
You’ve had a busy touring schedule for some time. What are your essentials for travelling so much?
I just love to do what I’m doing in my life, living constantly in contact with my passion. Djing has been my dream since I was a child and I feel blessed to have the chance to do one of the best jobs in the world. For that reason, even if I’m touring around the world, with the typical problems like missed flights, jetlag and no sleep forced hours, I’m always happy to do it. One of my secrets to “resist” to this busy life is Guaranà: I definetly enjoy drinking it and it’s a real treat to cure the accumulated stress with some fresh fruit sugars.
What is your favourite place to visit and play in?
I have thousands in my head but if I had to choice I would pick: Row 14, Barcelona and Amnesia (Terrace) Ibiza.
What track has been a favourite of yours this year? What’s been getting a lot of air time in your sets recently?
My personal favourite of this year is: Cajetanus – The Bixby Blues (Loquace’s Cowboy Remix). Another gem that I’m recently spinning is from one of the FUSE London’s exponents: Ben Rau – Metatrack (out on his own Inkal Music).
What artists will be releasing on ‘Tamango’ in the future? Who should we be getting excited about?
Well the first 3 releases are going to be “Yaya only” on the original side, but in the future you’ll hear tracks from the likes of Cassy, Mike Shannon, Rich NXT and many more. I’ve been working also with the lovely singer Eka Moon and I can’t wait to show you what’s up next.
What DJs are you enjoying most at the moment?
My three picks are: Raresh, Enzo Siragusa and Giuliano Lomonte. It would be such an honor to have them on my own imprint Tamango in the future.
What does the future hold for Yaya?
I’m pretty sure that 2017 will be a very productive year for me and Tamango, my aim is always to do my best, “walking on my dream” for the rest of my life.