Coming up in the southern French city of Montpellier, Yamen & EDA started out on their path towards being the credible DJs they are today by being dropped off at the city's day parties by their parents. As a result of this unlikely, but welcome scenario they became close friends as adolescents and found a true affinity working together. That relationship spilled over into the studio where the pair began to experiment and make their own music which blossomed into their debut release for Safari Numerique in 2012. In more recent years the pair have been supported by Adam Shelton and Subb-an's One Records camp with whom they now firmly form, part of the family.
With One Records having long been regulars in our basement space, their upcoming takeover of Room Two this Saturday has offered Yamen and EDA their first opportunity to come to Farringdon and play so, we hooked up, found out a little bit more about their story and jacked in to their audio aesthetic in this exclusively prepared mixtape.
Yamen: We met in 2006 thanks to Myspace! At the time we were making music solo, I found EDA’s myspace and figured out we were coming from the same city and we were doing the same kind of music so we decided to get in touch and that’s how it all started
What was going on in your home of South of France that drew you towards electronic music?
Yamen: Montpellier has always been an electronic music city. Parties had been happening way before we were teenagers. Lots of festivals, clubs, radios were broadcasting house and techno music at that time, so as teenager it was really easy to be surrounded by electronic music everyday. There were a lot of good clubs such as La Dune where we first start our clubbing experience. Back then, the lineups were pretty amazing: we saw Dennis Ferrer, Loco Dice & Sven Vath to name a few, so we had the chance to have quality music on our doorstep! Also Montpellier was famous for its after hours club called Bar Live. We were 17 years old and used to wake up on Sunday mornings and be driven by EDA’s mom to the club. That was a very funny way to go clubbing when we think of it now! But it was through this that we discovered the underground sound which gave us the envy to start DJing and producing music.
EDA: Unfortunately, after a few years the clubbing scene started to fall apart - clubs closed and festivals were cancelled. To the point that it became very hard to find places to party and play. Over the last three years things have started to move in the right direction though with parties starting to happen again and new clubs opening their doors.
Why have you decided focus on a collaborative project as your main outlet as opposed to working as solo artists?
EDA: It was a natural step for us to collaborate and work as a duo. Back in 2009 when we were still playing as solo, we used to have a label together which didn’t last very long we must say, but at that time we knew that our music and personalities would fit together well.
Yamen: Actually there is a funny story again on how we started making music together. One night in 2011, EDA got into a fight with his ex-girlfriend and he asked if he could stay at my place for couple of nights, so he came and we started producing music together and that’s how our first sounds as a duo came out. Ever since that night it's been clear for us that we will keep making music together.
Who or what would you say have been your main influences?
EDA: My father was into jazz and soulful house music, so he helped me discover St Germain and the Buddha Bar compilations. I was very curious and thanks to the internet I began exploring and discovered all kinds of genre in electronic music. But I really fell in love with German minimal scene and the house amd techno music that was coming from the US and of course I was into US hip hop music when I was young and used to wear large jeans and a New York baseball cap!
Yamen: I grew up in a musical environment, my mother used to listen to Kitaro (a Japanese new age music artist) and my father used to play piano all the time. I started to play drums at the age of 11 with influences coming from jazz to hard rock. I went through all kind of music from metal to hip hop but what really kept my attention was when I discovered house and minimal music from the likes of Larry Heard and Ricardo Villalobos.
We have very eclectic influences, we always try to listen to all kind of music and that gave us the opportunity to include it in our productions. But in terms of electronic music, artists such as Zip, Chez Damier or Kerri Chandler really influenced our music.
I know you both pride yourselves in digging deep to uncover special tracks for your sets, where are your favorite vinyl digging spots in Europe?
EDA: Unfortunately we don’t know all the shops in Europe otherwise we will be totally broke, but now that we have the chance to travel we try to dig in every place we go. Shops such as Syncrophone in Paris, Spacehall in Berlin and Kristina in London are the ones we try to get to regularly. But there are so many little places where you can do vinyl digging such as little second hand vinyl markets happening only once a year. it’s also very easy to find music from your home with websites such as Discogs, Decks and Deejay.de which are really helping us.
What’s happening in the studio at the moment - what releases have you got coming up?
EDA: At the moment we spend most of our time in the studio. We are making music almost everyday. We try to always go forward and create new tracks, it worked well and allowed us to sign 4 EPs for this year. What we can say at the moment is that our next EP will be on One Records featuring 4 original tracks from us. We are really happy and excited to return to the label.
Yamen: We also recently finished 3 tracks with Loquace for our trio project LYE, which will be released later this year on our own imprint.
You’re coming to Farringdon as part of the next One Records showcase - what’s your involvement with the crew?
Yamen: Firstly, it’s a real honour for us to be playing at fabric alongside the crew and so many other great artists. We are fully involved with One Records - we really feel likepart of the family. Adam and Ash trust our music and always have the good advice when you need it. We've been visiting Adam in Birmingham at least twice a year and he also comes out to Montpellier, along with Ash. This is not only a label where we release our music we've also built a great friendship with the guys and all the team such as John Dimas, Alex Arnout and Jack Wickham.
Can you introduce the mix that you’ve prepared for us, how did you go about putting together the playlist and vibe?
EDA: We cooked up something personal that highlights our influences and what we are into at the moment, mainly focusing on hypnotic vibes and groovy beats. We've experienced fabric environment before, we had amazing time at parties there so we went deep into those memories and the playlist came out naturally.