Yannick Roberts is a Dutch producer who popped onto the Freerange radar following a rather tasty release on S3A’s excellent Sampling As An Art label. Yannick’s own take on the deep, disco-influenced Detroit house sound spearheaded by fellow countrymen Dam Swindle, Fouk and Nachtbraker is warm and punchy with a big sound which feels like the perfect fit for Freerange.
This four track EP kicks off with title track I Can’t Hide From Myself and rolls along perfectly with the help of an infectious roughed up bassline, crunchy hihats and saturated claps. Next up we have the shuffled bumpy groove of Glorious Illusions reminding us of early Dam Swindle complete with sampled stabs and necksnapping beats.
Flipping over we’re treated to Femme Fatale which continues the dusty chopped up MPC sampled vibe in fine style with looped up vocals adding bags of extra energy. Closing out the release we have Desalniettemin which treads a similar path but with a more jazzy approach cutting up some classic Philly soul and reimagining it into a late-night, heads-down basement jam.
Thanks for talking to us today Yannick! It’s great to chat ahead of your new EP ‘I Can’t Hide From Myself’ on Freerange Records. For our readers that are new to you, can you take a moment to introduce yourself?
Sure! My name is Yannick and I formerly made music as Ouvrijster, which might or might not be familiar. I have been doing this for a few years now, but actually work as a Finance Specialist and Event Producer in the film festival industry. I love making and playing music and will continue doing so in whatever pace and style I feel like.
You are based in the city of Amsterdam. How is the club scene there right now, good and healthy?
I think generally it is now really getting better for the venues after the pandemic, although I haven’t been clubbing a lot myself. That’s because musically there has been a shift towards more paced and darker music in Amsterdam. Combined with an increased drug minded crowd, I don’t feel connected on a dance floor lately. Additionally, I feel like the audience here is not aware or educated in what a DJ actually does or needs to do and that clubs here have turned into concerthall set-ups, which both result in too many DJ’s with too fast growing careers and clubs with similar programmes or even the exact same line-up as others. There are still parties for me, but I have to search for them.
Your sound touches on disco, with some classic house and Detroit vibes. How would YOU best describe the sound that is Yannick Roberts?
I think you described it like that in the best way and I don’t want to make it more complicated than this. As Yannick Roberts I tent to focus more on this classic house sound while I still love to incorporate older Disco and soul. So I keep searching for that groove, to dance too, and for that soul, to feel! There’s a lot of sensational producers from your city! Nachbraker, Dam Swindle, Frits Wentink. What’s in the water in Amsterdam? Haha, that is true. These producers are all connected trough Heist Recordings though, which made them all grew together. Dam Swindle still do amazing work in that sense for producers in this scene, in Amsterdam and in the whole of the Netherlands actually. They are unfortunately all more of an export product of the Netherlands than around here to dance too, which I think is too bad. Again, this is a result of the current club scene here I think. Also their music is inspired by or more similar to music from outside of the Netherlands, which is typical here. Besides the larger Hardcore Progressive EDM genres, I don’t think we really have our own musical club style in electronic dance music, so we mix it up and listen often to styles from other countries. That definitely broadens once scope, musical taste and feeling for music.
I was in love with your ‘Staying Sane’ release on Sampling As An Art. Very Moodymann!!! When you make music under your OuvriJster moniker how does the vibe differ for you?
Well, as Ouvrijster I often felt I was trying to make something out of sounds that wouldn’t fit actually and ended up sounding wrong. With that Staying Sane record I learned to let go of that and let the sample be what it wants to be, more of an approach by S3A himself or what Moodymann does indeed. Therefore, I changed the name so I can feel more often that I can let go not only through but also in the making of music.
What can you tell us about your label Dievegge Recordings? What is the next release planned?
I started Dievegge Recordings to test out things for myself and to keep a certain musical focus alive. Maybe also to create a community around it where friends could release music and earn all the profits, to be part of something. I experienced some great moments and label parties but it never really lifted off, so for now the project is sleeping until the right moment comes.
Who are the artists and producers that inspire the music that you make right now?
For inspiration, I currently listen to this older house music style, Strictly Rhythm stuff from Visual and Logic, but also Workin’ Happily, JohNick, Kenny Dope and of course Kerri Chandler. But I am also always inspired by music from Moodymann and Theo Parrish. However, to begin making music, I always start with Soul and Disco. So I listen to that, or Hip-hop that sampled it as well, most of the time actually.
How did you hook up with Freerange Records?
I have always had Freerange in my mind as a dream to release on. For me the clubbing and music making really started when I heard Brotherman of Dam Swindle when going out. Once those stabs got in I lost myself in dancing and was sold to the music. So once I made ‘I Can’t Hide From Myself’, I finally took a leap of faith and reached out.
Can you talk us through your new Ep a little?
As mentioned, I start out with Soul and Disco records. Everything you hear on this record is sampled. I always wanted to do something with Brass Construction and finally managed to do so for ‘I Can’t Hide From Myself’. I sampled and played around with the keys which you can hear by the distorted percussion. The title came from how I resonated to that vocals in the track, while the lead was added to comfort that feeling.
The same motivation was for ‘Glorious Illusions’ were I wanted to do something with Grover Washington Jr. for a long time. It asked for stabs, that I sampled from another record years before, in that old Dam Swindle on Freerange style. Slightly darker and again with a vocals from other records that resonated with me at the time. I just love that laughing vocal with that delayed drop.
‘Femme Fatale’ is mostly connected to how I made music as Ouvrijster and might be seen as this transition track for me. The groove of the Archie Bells sample gets me every time and the off beat sampling was so much fun to make. My Hip-hop side also got some room in this record, which I also love to make on off days.
The last track ‘Desalniettemin’, which is dutch for nevertheless, contains maybe 5 or more samples from different records. I really wanted to lay down a slower spacey groove with that wicked sound in the style of Junktion, who I listened to a lot then (and still do). That style is truly beautiful and he is one of the nicest persons in the scene. But also some clear Moodymann inspiration here.
If someone wanted to get to know Yannick Roberts a little better, what album should they listen to?
This is my first outing under this new moniker, so this is a good start for whatever comes next haha.
What do you do when you’re not making music?
I am actually doing finance at IDFA, the largest documentary film festival in the world, most of the time and produce this small open air film festival called Pluk de Nacht. I am also taking classes each half year to learn something new. Now I am dancing salsa, but I am thinking about taking singing classes the second half of this year. It is a way to keep developing for me in life. If we get to the city of Amsterdam this year, where’s a great place we should check? Well, if you want to go record shopping, you must stop by Rush Hour of course, but make sure to also check KillaCutz for House and Zap Records and Waxwell for Disco and Soul. For drinks I like to go to this gin distillery in my neighborhood called ’t Nieuwe Diep or beer brewery called Oedipus. And if you want to go clubbing, check club Lovelee and Sissi’s or organizations like Bibi and Late Night Burners.
Have you got any gigs coming up that you want to drop here?
Not right but I would love to play records out more! If you are reading this and would like me to come over to your party to play records, then please drop a line!
What else are you working on right now?
I have found the time and a pleasant pace to make more music, so I am constantly trying out stuff and finishing new tracks that yet have to find a home. I am also looking for a place, organization or club to play records more occasionally were I could grow together with others and discuss music more often. Sort of community or group to share music with.