In Conversation with Yadava

The first time Yadava came through to the Melodic Distraction studio, he was running over an hour late. His calm-headed co-host, Bolts, assured us that the wait would be worth it. 90 minutes into the two hour show, Yad flung himself out of a car, into the studio and onto the decks. As assured, the wait was repaid in full…

Jumping in with an unreleased track, something he’d “knocked up a few days before”, we knew that Yadava (or Yad, to those that know him) had an extraordinary sound on the boil. His floaty melodies, punchy MPC powered drums and intricate sampling has caught the ear of a discerning audience, with Seb Wildblood’s Church Records, Manchester’s Ad Hoc and Bristolian heavyweights, Banoffee Pies Records all knocking at the door.

His latest release, a debut album on Church entitled, It Rains Here, has garnered support from across the UK and is currently receiving gleaming reviews from the likes of Bolting Bits, Juno and Mixmag. Coupled with his legendary So Flute parties in Manchester – run by a collective of DJs, producers, musicians and artists he co-founded 6 years ago – Yad’s output both as a producer and a DJ has not only made him a prominent figure in Manchester, but is helping to shed light on his home city around the UK.

We caught up with Yadava to talk life in Manchester, the flawless reception to his debut album and what he’s got cooking for the rest of 2018.

First of all, huge congrats on the debut album! There’s been such a great reaction to the project. How does it feel to be bagging premieres off Stamp the Wax and Mixmag, and getting a spin on Bandcamp weekly alongside everything else that’s been going on…

Thanks man! It’s been kind of surreal to be honest. I spent a lot of time listening to the tracks over and over before they got to everyone else’s ears. It’s really nice to hear people are digging it! I feel you can lose a sense of perspective when you’ve been sat on music yourself for a while. I guess it breathes a bit of new life into it for me.

Church feel like such a nurturing label for a debut LP. They’re especially esteemed for breaking new and rising artists, how did the link-up come about?

Church is a great label! I’ve known James (Seb Wildblood) for a few years now. I met him via Dan, another So Flute co-founder. It’s funny, James actually first picked up on a track that I’d accidentally uploaded onto my Soundcloud channel as public, rather than private. From there, I recorded most of the tracks in the weeks following this encounter. A few more got added a little later down the line and it turned into a mini LP.

“It Rains Here”, that has to be a reference to your Manchester roots, right? It sounds cliché as hell…but was there a story or mood you were trying to tell with this album?

Yeah it’s a Manny reference, I wanted to give a nod to the place where I made the record. It’s not always the case, but often a major part of the process of making music for me is to create a space where I can reflect on or express how I’m feeling at that time.

I wouldn’t say it was a wholly conscious thing but I’ve had a lot of change in the last 12 months. I guess some of the more melancholy moods that made their way into the music will have come from that. For me, there’s optimism in there too though. I guess it wasn’t an entirely explicit process but it was some kind of a reflection of my experiences at the time of recording it.

It was really a story I was telling for myself, but if people connect with some of the moods too then that’s cool with me.

What was your studio set up for the LP? Last time you came to feature on Bolts’ show you played us a tune you’d made just in one evening – is this your normal production process?

It was all recorded in the living room of the one bed flat I shared with a long suffering ex-girlfriend. I used an MPC 2000xl for sampling records and drum programming, a Fender Strat and Bass with various pedals and effects boxes, a Nord Electro 2 rack version for the keys (super cheap way to get tasty rhodes sounds without emptying your bank account) and then my trusty Macbook and plug-ins for all the other synth sounds. For me, the record does sound like it was recorded in a living room rather than a proper studio space but that’s just a reflection of what was available to me at the time which is OK.

I’m constantly making tracks or recording little ideas, most of which get lost into the abyss. I think that track I played on the show that time had a similar fate. As someone who’s still figuring their way around production without any formal lessons in music or studio techniques, the way I find my way to making sounds that I like is through just experimentation. I might sit for a whole evening noodling about and then not save what I’ve worked on. Although, it does all still counts as development for the next time I come to record a track.

Even if nobody was ever interested in releasing my music, I’d still sit and do the same thing so it’s kind of a no pressure approach.

How’s So Flute going? We heard big things of that sell out at The White Hotel!

That was a really good party, we hadn’t done one for almost 12 months so it was great to see so many of our old crowd there along with plenty of new faces, and still going at 6am! We’ve got another party coming up at The White Hotel in September and some more plans to announce after that so keep an eye out! Still talk of a So Flute label on the horizon…

Artistically speaking, there’s a pretty broad collective of So Flute members, how do you bounce off one another?

First and foremost, we’re all really good friends which creates a really great atmosphere to grow within. It’s not that often we all manage to get together in one room nowadays so there’s always a bit of a buzz when we do manage it. Aside from just catching up with each other, there’s always that excitement of sharing a new record one of us might have found or some music we’ve been working on; keeps you on your toes, in a positive way!

Also, although we all play pretty eclectically, I think we all have our own little niche sounds and styles of DJing. We all take influence from one another which is great, it means you don’t get too stuck doing your own thing.

It’s good to always be open to changing things up and learning from others!

Have these parties alongside such a rich collective of artists and DJs influenced the sound you’re now producing? 

I’ve probably been messing about making beats for almost the same amount of time I’ve been playing records. Over time, I think my ears have definitely benefited from being exposed to a wide range of sounds through digging for music to play or listen to. The eclectic approach we take at So Flute had an influence on the Church release in terms of trying to encapsulate a range of different styles and sounds that I like, whilst also having some continuity throughout; parallel to how you might approach a DJ set where you’re jumping around in terms of styles.

How much of the new album were you able to road test?

I tend to do my road testing of new bits on the radio, or in the car on unsuspecting passengers so I can get an honest opinion of things…Although for our 5th Birthday show a while back I did record a track specifically to play at that night. It was a cover of “The Audience” by Matthew Herbert with a Latin spin on things. I played all the parts in and got P-Ro, who sometimes joins us on mic duties, to record some of her lush vocals.

That track is a So Flute classic and I wanted something to play that was specific to So Flute and our extended family, hence the choice of track “The Audience”; thankfully it got a good reaction so that was a nice moment!

Piccadilly Records referred to you as a; “Darling of the local scene”, in their release blurb for the new album. What influence has Manchester had on your music and how do you see So Flute as fitting in alongside the rest of the city’s music and party scene?

Haha they’re super kind words from Matt! Manchester has had a huge influence on my music, more so than anything else just to give me the impetus to try and release music myself. Seeing close mates like Tom Burford (Contours) and Tom Leah (Werkha) do so well with their music definitely pushed me to take the next step and start hitting up labels. Besides the Cumbrian contingent of Toms, there’s a whole host of other Manny artists (Garth Be, Cervo, Taurtollo, Szajna, AdHoc crew- list is endless!) whose music I’ve digested, so undoubtedly it’s influenced my own music in one way or another.

It’s through doing So Flute, as well as going to other parties in Manny, that I met a lot of these people so I’d like to think that So Flute makes up one part of the rich musical community that Manchester has. There’s a real sense of support for local artists and it’s been really humbling to be on the receiving end of that when the record came out.

So what’s on the horizon from here on? 2018 so far seems to be your year musically…

I’ve got lots of new music incoming over the next few months. There’s a track on the next Banoffee Pies Limited Series VA coming out in September, a mini LP on the way this year for another great label, a cheeky joint 12” of some disco edits with another Manchester producer, a project of live stuff that I did with another Manchester producer that should hopefully find a home in the near future, and a few other projects for labels that I’m working on finishing at the moment.

Party wise, we’ll be back at The White Hotel on September 1st for another So Flute, and if you can’t wait that long I’ll be playing records all night at Eastern Bloc on the 26th August. I’ll also be over in Liverpool some time soon for Down to Funk alongside Bolts and some other top selectors which is looking good!

Finally, and this is something we ask everybody…what’s one album you’ve been enjoying lately that nobody else is on to?

It’d be a bold statement to say nobody else is on to something I’m listening to, and in the rare instance that might be the case I’d be inclined not to share it anyway… Jokes aside, something released this year that I’ve had on repeat since picking it up is Salomo’s Reflecting Pools LP on Leipzig label, Vary. Highly recommended!

Something a bit older that I’ve been digging is Romano Mussolini Trio – Mirage, keep coming back to this one although he was actually the fourth son of good ol’ fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Wild…

Connect with Yadava | So Flute at The White Hotel | Buy “It Rains Here” | Prince Street Record Forum