Before Yeah But No release their self-titled debut album the duo gives us a first tease in form of the first single that is called ‘Sand’. The track comes with remixes from artists such as Phonique, Lessons and Ruede Hagelstein. Prior to the single’s release Torture the Artist had the chance to speak to Douglas Greed from Yeah But No and Ruede Hagelstein about the challenge of producing and remixing. Also you can listen to Ruede’s remix exclusively on our channel.
Torture the Artist: What challenges do you face when producing an album, and how does it differ from your usual routine in the studio?
Douglas Greed: I’d say the challenge, and the difference, is trying to find something that holds the whole album together for 50 minutes or so, some magical element. Finding that ingredient ist he hardest part of producing an album. If you were to compare it to the production of a track, a track is a little story, whereas an album is a proper feature film.
Ruede Hagelstein: An album takes more time, of course, and more attention. It’s one piece of art where the right selection and order plays an important part. The whole album has a message and every track should play a role, and in the end it must sound unified, and not like a random compilation.
The only thing I would suggest, even though it’s rather cheesy and sounds like the perfect slogan tatoo for your sister’s weird boyfriend: ‘Be true to yourself.’
Torture the Artist: What’s one piece of advice you’d give each other after having worked on an album?
Douglas Greed: I think I couldn’t give any advice, as in my opinion making an album is a pretty intimate and personal work which should end up reflecting ‘YOU’ to one hundred percent.
Of course it has been a different process while working on the YEAH BUT NO album. Fabian and I have been constantly pushing each others comfort zones. But in the end I feel like the music is a reflection of the two of us and what we bring to the table. I don’t like getting advice from the outside, and I wouldn’t dare giving advice myself. The only thing I would suggest, even though it’s rather cheesy and sounds like the perfect slogan tattoo for your sister’s weird boyfriend: ‘Be true to yourself.’
Ruede Hagelstein: Take your time, but set deadlines.
If you make more listening music you are more free to create feelings and situations.
Torture the Artist: Producing club music is one thing, producing tracks with a song structure is another. How does the process of producing music for either one of the aforementioned differ, and do you prefer one thing over the other?
Douglas Greed: I love doing both. It keeps you on your feet if you do both disciplines. I sometimes find ideas in pretty raw club tracks that I then take over to the YEAH BUT NO side of things. Working with Fabian who’s studied jazz singing at university opened up my approach to club music, as well. I think that’s what I love about being a musician – you never stop learning.
Ruede Hagelstein: Soundwise it differs in mixing. Techno is made for clubs, so it is not made for your HiFi at home. While producing dance music you have that club situation in mind. If you make more listening music you are more free to create feelings and situations.
Torture the Artist: Douglas, on a recent Facebook-post you said that ‘Sand’ was one of your favorite tracks from the upcoming album. How difficult was it for you to give away the stems for remixing, consindering it’s something you’re so emotionally attached to?
Douglas Greed: It’s not difficult at all. Instead I’d say it’s rather exciting. Fabian and I have been through the tracks so often that they are fixed and locked. So hearing someones elses approach is sometimes weird, but also a great feeling. We really do like Ruede’s remix, as he pushes the track in a different direction and plays with its timing so well.
Torture the Artist: Ruede, how did you cope with the burden of remixing one of Douglas’ favorite tracks from the Yeah But No album?
Ruede Hagelstein: I’ve actually never felt like it was a burden. That would be a very bad outlook for a good remix. I never try to fight the original, it is not making something better or worse, it is about creating something new, like an addition to the original.
I instantly felt thrown back into a Sunday morning kind of a situation.
Torture the Artist: Douglas, what’s your interpretation of Ruede’s remix for your track?
Douglas Greed: When I heard the remix for the first time I instantly felt thrown back into a Sunday morning kind of a situation: you leave the club, surprised that the sun is already up and that last tracks still sticks in your head. And Ruede’s remix is exactly that song I want to have in that kind of a situation. I love the combination of precise groove, frosty techno atmosphere and Fabians rather warm vocals.
Torture the Artist: Douglas, what sound/element makes you recognize a Ruede Hagelstein track amongst all the other music out there?
Douglas Greed: I love his sound design, everything is in its right place! I also really admire his talent for big gestures through small movements and small changes.
Torture the Artist: Ruede, what element/sound made you want to remix Yeah But No’s track ‘Sand’?
Ruede Hagelstein: The vocals.
Torture the Artist: Douglas, what’s the most suitable title for Ruede’s remix of ‘Sand’?
Douglas Greed: From the basement into the light remix.
Torture the Artist: Ruede, what’s a reaction you wish the remix causes?
Ruede Hagelstein: For someone to listen until the end.
I would love to have something that is a bit more ‘out there’.
Torture the Artist: Douglas, what other track from the album ‘Yeah But NO’ would you like to be remixed, and by whom?
Douglas Greed: We already have a few remixes lined up by really great producers, but if I could choose and some magic fairy could grant me one wish I would love to have something that is a bit more ‘out there’. Like choosing someone who has no connection to club music at all. For instance to have a rework by TOOL for ‘New Again’.
A successful remix should present the original in another suit.
Torture the Artist: Ruede, generally speaking, what’s your approach when producing/working on a remix and what’s your idea of a successful remix?
Ruede Hagelstein: A successful remix should present the original in another suit.
Torture the Artist: Douglas, working with a singer gives you different options to express an emotion or opinion in a song. How far would you go with either one of these options?
Douglas Greed: When Fabian and I work on YEAH BUT NO we try not to slide into the typical roles of producer and singer. Of course, each one of us brings a certain skill set to the table, but we try to keep it all in the open. The whole process is what it is: a process. We don’t make rules on what has to be done, and by whom. It’s an organic process and we tried to make the songs as best we could. I wasn’t thinking about what options I have. We just made music.
We try not to play this ‘song vs vocal’, ‘producer vs singer’ game.
Torture the Artist: Especially when it comes to electronic music, one can witness kind of a battle between the instrumentals so it can happen that one aspect becomes dominant compared to the other aspect How do you overcome the struggle of not harmonizing (vocal vs. instrumental), from a producer’s standpoint?
Ruede Hagelstein: It is all about mixing? Actually I never felt a struggle. Or I just don’t get the answer right. <winks>
Douglas Greed: We try not to play this ‘song vs vocal’, ‘producer vs singer’ game. The song is what it’s about and if the song is great with just a cheap sound design I can put myself aside for the good of the music.