Ten Tracks: Yak

We’ve all had those moments of revelation when experiencing a certain song or sound for the first time. ‘10 Tracks’ explores the musical history and influences behind the careers of some of the leading artists in the scene; The tracks that inspired them to be producers and Djs, and how others music shaped their style and genres.

In the wake of Yak‘s mammoth 5-track ‘Termina EP‘ on R&S Records out earlier this month, the classically trained instrumentalist pulls out the tracks which informed his off-kilter, broken productions which have found homes on labels such as Versions, Martyn’s lauded 3024, Le Chatroom and Brotherhood Soundsystem.

1. Animals as Leaders – The Woven Web

“Prog metal was the first genre of music that I really connected with and I think a lot of the music I used to listen to has been hugely influential in my production, especially in terms of percussion and melody. Animals as Leaders has always been one of my favourite bands, their songs are technically impressive and are always underpinned by really nice grooves and soul.”

2. The Prodigy – Jericho

“I was going to under 18 raves around the time Invaders Must Die came out, so I was hearing Prodigy’s stuff a lot back then and instantly became a huge fan. Going back through their discography, this one really stood out to me and was probably what sparked my love for breakbeats.”

3. Boddika – Heat

“This is the first track I ever heard from the Swamp 81 camp and it’s still one of my favourite tunes. The only dance music I was really listening to at the time was house and garage, so hearing a track that had really sick rolling percussion and fused what I liked about prog metal and dance music together blew my mind.”

4. Mickey Pearce – Wam Barzz

“I had to include some more Swamp 81 in this list because they have definitely been one of the most influential labels for me. I used to listen to their Rinse show every week, keeping an ear out for new dubs and bought almost every release they put out. Mickey Pearce is one of my favourite producers and this tune always stuck out to me; the combination of the guitars, heavy drums and an acid bassline just works and always goes off in the club.”

5. Tom Blip – Wrong Guanco

“I heard this song just after I’d begun producing music, and it was undoubtedly a large influence on my earlier percussive tracks. It was one of the first tracks I heard that was almost entirely driven my percussion and it showed me that you can make a track with almost no melody as longs as the drums are lively and interesting.”

6. Pangaea – Hex

“This is one of my all-time favourite club tracks and I still play it in my sets to this day. The rolling yet broken beat, along with the killer bassline and trippy vocals always gets me gassed and I’m absolutely in love with all of the broken beat stuff that was coming out around the same time.

7. Objekt – Tinderbox

“This is one of, if not my favourite dubstep tracks ever. The sound design and weight on this track is mind-blowing and the combination of a heavy beat with smooth synths is something that I’ve been trying to achieve in my own productions over the past few years.”

8. Plini – Cascade

“I wanted to pick tracks I’m listening to a lot at the moment for the last three. I recently discovered Plini while listening to a load of old prog metal and all of their stuff is amazing! The grooves, percussion, lush guitar melodies and solos on this track are so nice that I’ve had this song stuck on repeat.”

9. Sully – Run

“This one only came out a couple of months ago, but it’s already up there with my top 5 favourite DnB tracks of all time. Sully’s been killing it for years now but the energy on this particular track is next-level. The rhythm’s progression and the clean editing on the percussion works perfectly – I’m definitely gonna be playing this one for years to come.”

10. DjRum – Sex

“This was my favourite track to come out last year and was a huge influence on the tracks I was writing around the time it was released. The meticulous sound design and use of beautiful pads, violins and vocals combined with a heavy, driving beat makes gives it an epic and emotive sound – and makes it a killer track in the club! That smooth yet immersive sound is something I’ve really been trying to achieve in my productions as of late.”