Yannick Labbé (Ex-Trickski) – The Ransom Note Mix
"What do you do when you've toured the world as a DJ for the past 16 years and been an internationally acclaimed production outfit for over 10 of those? You stop. Just to start over again."
Yannick Labbé, Producer, DJ and former half of the now defunct Trickski steps into the limelight as a solo artist. Trickski's unpredictable, extra-terrestrial style mixed Rare Groove with Techno and House producing a raw electronic framework which gave birth to the all-conquering Pill Collins towards the end of the pair's journey together.
With the project put fimly to bed Yannick picks up his own musical thread in 2015 which has given rise to a plethora of solo-releases, remixes and co-productions… so we thought it about time to ask him to lay down his sublime musical mandate for the Ransom Note mix. Let's get this on, then find have a chat to him.
Who are you?
Yannick Labbé, Producer and DJ, former half of the now defunct Trickski.
Where are you?
At my desk. In Hamburg.
What are you?
When did you decide you wanted to get involved in music? Is there a certain moment that made you realise this was what you wanted?
Before discovering the magical power of DAWs, Plugins, Acoustics, Vinyl, USB-Sticks, LFOs and, most importantly, filters, I had always played in bands. Bass, guitar, singing – I was never very good, but then again that didn’t really matter at the time… I can’t really remember a certain moment that made me realise that making music is what I wanted – since I can’t remember my life without making music.
But then again, there was this moment that kicked off my "career" in electronic music: In 1997, I was on vacation in London and, while strolling around on a fleamarket, suddenly I heard these supercool sounds and discovered a girl selling Keb Darge mixtapes. That was my entry-point into this wonderful world of music that waits to be discovered and shaped. And also: Rainer Trüby’s Root Down parties, of course.
What was the first electronic record you ever heard? How did it make you feel?
My dad had a copy of 'Oxygène'. I heard it as a child and, although it’s somehow corny to say, these synth sounds never really left my brain. Still, today I feel something special when I hear similar synth-sounds – suddenly these records sound "French" to me. And that makes me feel at home.
Who would you say are the greatest inspirations to your sound?
There are so many musicians that I adore. Too many, actually. If I’d have to pick one from the very top, I’d go for Ada – she’s amazing. And also, her productions blow me away each and every time. She merges radical electronic music with her unique sense of harmonies – and that mixture stuns me since I first listened to 'Luckycharm'.
And then, of course, there is Carl Craig, the wonderful sounds of Comémé, the ever-inspiring Mr Axel Boman, King Koze, Underground Resistance who will always own my heart, Mr. Eurokai who gave me the best welcome when I moved to Hamburg, my friends at Suol… I could just go on endlessly. Oh, and lately almost everything that is being released on the German Rap-label Alles oder Nix.
What happened with Trickski or would you rather not talk about it?
Well – let’s say this, in short: there came a point where we didn’t share the same visions anymore. And so we split. End of story. Beginning of a new chapter.
How does your solo work differ from your previous output?
Hard to say. I mean, I can’t shake off what I have learned production-wise during all these years, and I sure don’t want to, but since there is only me involved, I can pretty much do whatever I want. And so, the music now is maybe a little weirder than Trickski. It’s definitely less slow. More electronic. Also, I bought a lot of new equipment – which makes the productions sound very different.
Things slowed down a lot a few years back and Pill Collins was, in part, responsible for that. How do you feel about that record today?
I still like it – but today I especially like the record because of its flipside. 'Point 0' is one of those tunes where chaos led me through the production. I just wanted to do something dark and minimal with a break in the middle where the sound almost goes out – and ended up trying a lot of different sounds, pads, effects due to that minimalistic approach. There is a synthlead in the tune that wasn’t in the actual arrangement at the end but just in an extra stem where I recorded a previous version of the sound in my room to get some reverb. I love to do tracks like that – just doing stuff and keeping the possibility to fail fairly high. That’s where I find inspiration.
What’s your favourite magic trick?
David Copperfield escaping a house that is set to be blown up. And then re-appearing somewhere to the sounds of 'Burning Down The House'. That was some serious shit back in… I guess 1987?!
Production-wise, my magic trick is to never really know what I am doing – that keeps the fun going.
Cats or dogs?
Both. A lot.
If summer didn’t exist would we all make better records?
Wow. Can you read my mind? YES!!!!
What would you bury in your time capsule and why?
If you were invisible what would you do?
What every other dude would.
How deep is your love?
Very. And that’s because we’re living in a world of fools, breaking us down, when they all should let us be.
What's the most important part of a tune: the melody or the beat? Or something else entirely?
I know that I used to say: THE MELODY! But I am not so sure anymore. The beat alone won’t do either. I guess it’s all about the energy you are able to create. If your track pushes forward and comes without a beat – fine! I mean, just check Carl Craig’s Darkness. Such a burner! And still – there’s no beats! Or take Tessela’s 'Bottom Out' – not much of a melody in there. Still: this track rocks! So yeah, I guess it’s all about the energy.
And now onto the mix…
Where was the mix recorded?
At home, in the same room where I produced the tracks for the Seilertracks EPs.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Monday morning and you are pissed to go to work because the weekend was so great. The mix might put you back there. For a little hour.
What should we be wearing?
Here’s a rule of thumb: always wear clean underwear. Because you never know…
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
Too many awesome mixes. But this Pal Joey-only mix ranks pretty high up.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
Back then: 2 turntables, a Pioneer mixer and a tapedeck. Today: 2 turntables, a pioneer-mixer and a computer running Ableton.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
For me, it’s the start. From there, I embark on the same unforeseeable journey as my dancing and/or not dancing guests. I never have a pre-planned set, when I play. I think that it’s every DJs most important task to be as surprised as his crowd, when he plays records. Also, you have to be abIe to react to your crowd. So I guess there’s no point in just pressing play and then switching to autopilot because you have a prepared playlist in your head or in a folder somewhere on your USB sticks. That being said, I will always put a thought into the first track I play, when I take over or when I start the night. That record is the startingpoint for the rest of the night. Anything can happen after this. But everything is put on the rails via this record. And that’s why the first track for me is the most important one.
What were the first and last records you bought?
First record: Queen and David Bowie 'Under Pressure' 12“.
Last record: The Overdubclub Album on O*RS records. They are one of my favourite labels. And the Overdubclub compilation is such a prime slice of weird experimental Hip-Hop. Just so good!!!
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
Salty ’n’ sweet with some crunchy stuff in the middle. Wow… I’m talking about a Snickers bar, right (totally addicted)?
If it was an animal what would it be?
A puppy with demonically fluffy ears.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
If I can’t mix it, I’ll cut it, if I can’t cut it, I’ll use the fader, If I can’t use the fader, I’ll use the EQs… Anything is mixable, I guess…
Upcoming in the world of Yannick Labbe?
Releases!! Remixes! Cooperations! Seilertracks Part 2 will be out soon with an ace remix by Kris Davies, then my remix for Jad and the Ladyboys 'Never Come Back Down' will be coming on May 8th on Sonar Kollektiv, also a more poppy remix for Nessi, will be out the same day. Then, I am very proud to contribute a track to one of my favourite labels of the moment, Omnidisc, later this year and I have finished a few tracks together with Dominik Marz and the guys from Paskal and Urban Absolutes (we call our project DAAY – all the initials in a row) that might see the light of day later this year. Then there is a remix I did for Nicola Toma that will be released through WellDone music and at the moment I am working on two further remixes. And then there’s the plan to do some stuff again together with Dominik – and then new solo stuff. Life is good.
Seilertracks Part 1 is out now via Hafendisko.
Yannick Labbe can be found on facebook here