Thursday, 27 June 2013

New Artist name?

I need your help guys. I'm thinking about changing my artist name...and there are several reasons for that.
1. There's that asian artist girl called Yenn. Our artist profiles get mixed up everywhere, like on Spotify, iTunes etc. She's hotter than me, and more popular.
2. There's 3 or 4 Yenns out there actually.
3. People think "Yenn is certainly some asian dude". Nothing against being asian, but as a matter of fact, I am just not asian.
4. I think one or two more syllables (compared to one, in Yenn) in an artist name could work better...I don't know...
5. Also when you google "Yenn + something" it thinks it's an error and checks out "Yen" the frickin' japanese currency^^

This is a random pigeon.

- I hope my father won't see this, but I couldn't possibly use my full real name. What am I supposed to do, when my real (family) name is so awfully horrible? My name's Yannick Ciancanelli. I mean, have you ever tried ordering a pizza with that name? If I book a table at a restaurant these days, I just tell them my name's Müller, which is quite common here :D
- Do you think artist names can really be a key/turning point of your career?
- Even if not, there's still that artist profile mix-ups, like on Last Fm etc. 

Monday, 25 February 2013

How To Process Vocals

I often get asked about how I process my vocals, so I decided to write a simple guide on how I do it.

This is my vocal processing chain:

1. First in line is Auto-Tune:
If it's not already Auto-Tune'd, then that's the first plugin I put into the processing chain. It fixes the little errors here and there that singers tend to do. I route Midi notes into this plugin to tell it on which note it should be at a specific given time.
2. Equalizer:
As a general rule: Cut frequencies, don't add them. Meaning, try to listen to what does not sound good and take it away.
Often, you can cut some of the low frequencies. Every voice and recording sounds different, so use your ear(s) to cut just the right amount. Personally, I often have an "M" shaped EQing curve.

M shaped EQing curve.

3. Gate:
Use a gate to cut undesired noise or background sounds that do not have a certain level of dB (volume).
Play with the threshold until you're on the limit between hearing and not hearing the lowest part of the vocal (volume wise), then turn it back a little. Make sure every bit of the vocal is audible and that the lyrics understandable.
4. Compressor:
Use a compressor to create a streamlined volume level across the whole vocal.
5. De-Esser:
A de-esser takes the strong "S" sounds in the lyrics down every time they pop up. (Also "P"s, "T"s etc.)
As when someone would sing: "Oh you silly sexy Sasquatch eating sorceress you!". Because every time an "S" is sang, a lot of highs are added to the equalization curve.
6. Second EQ:
On this level I'll add a new EQ to adjust the low cut of the curve again, right after the audio signal has passed the gate, compressor and de-esser.
7. Second Compressor:
Same as "6.", it's for micro adjustments and/or presence of the vocal.
8. Delay:
The first effect comes in now. A nice and simple delay does the trick for most vocals.
9. Reverb:
Just like the delay, keep it nice, clean, clear and simple.
Tip: Add a delay and a reverb to your pleasing, then listen to a completely different track from any other artist and take a break. Come back later and you'll notice that you probably added too much reverb. In a nutshell: Do Not Overdo It!

Processing of a vocal in Ableton Live 8

10. Chorus:
It depends on what you'll want to hear, but usually a tiny wee of chorus can add that little nice touch to it.
Suggestion: Duplicate your vocal channel twice. So now you should have one main one, and 2 duplicated ones. Pan one completely to the left. Pan the other one completely to the right. Add a lot of chorus to those 2 audio channels, without having any chorus on the main one. Take the volume down and adjust everything. And bam, you have just tremendously  increased your vocal's size.
11. Sidechain:
Yes! Sidechain your vocal with the bass (kick) drum. Just a tiny bit...and it makes an instant positive and tidied-up effect. This is one of my favorite things to do on a vocal, and has for me one of the best effects, considering the 2 clicks this takes to achieve.
12. Filter:
Use a filter in your processing chain for automating and cleaning up the delay/reverb's tails created by your effects. Don't bother using this on every syllable. An example on where (when) to use it:
Your vocal is just about to be at its peek moment, right before your track's breakdown, leaving your vocal to sound off the reverberation and delay tails. Now use your filter's automation to cut down the frequencies, making room for a clean upcoming breakdown or any other significant change in your track.
13. Volume:
Make volume automations on your vocal when quite moments come in (lower the volume), or when the sound spectrum is filled with many room consuming sounds (turn the volume up).
14. Pan:
Pan your vocal to a side (a little) or leave it at the center.
There's a million theories about panning a vocal and in my opinion: Don't bother reading them, save your time, I did that for you...and spend it on tuning your track. There are times when the vocal sounds just right a little to the left, sometimes it sounds better to the right. Often it sounds just right in the center. It depends on the voice, and the track you made.
Tip: If you didn't use the chorus technique in "9. Tip" or if you'd like to combine them then try this.
Duplicate the main vocal channel. Pan one hard left, pan the other hard right. Adjust volumes. This is the technique I prefer and like the most.
15. DONE!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

How To Prepare A Remix Pack - And How To Make Everyone's Life Easier (Yours Included)

After having seen, used and created hundreds of remix packs over the last 6 years, I've decided to make this little guide on how to create a clean, nice and user friendly remix pack. Feel free to comment on here to add your personal ideas/experiences to it, as I can always add stuff to the post.

Yenn Ableton Screenshot

1. Create a folder.
2. Name that folder including:
- artist(s)
- track name
- *BPM* (you can't imagine how time saving is is when the remixer has that information)
- You do not have to necessarily use underscores in your file names. Those times are quite gone (for end-users).

Remix Pack title example:
"Yenn - Unqueer 129 bpm rmx".

Yenn - Monzen Remix pack 131

3. Open your track's project in your DAW.
4. Cycle through your audio channels and pick out only the important samples / parts.
Sometimes I get remix packs that are 500 MB of size and include all the single clap layers, snares and cymbals and stuff that most of us don't really need.

Just include:
- special sounding drums and effects
- bass (just to have an idea of how it was in the original tune. usually, remixers won't use your bass)
- breakdown melody (not too wet, take out all processing that won't alter the sound too much, like EQs, normal high or low pass filters, normal reverbs etc.)
- main melody (not too wet, or both. Once wet, once dry.)
- vocals (not too wet either. Also, don't add like 34 mini parts of the vocal. One main vocal .wav is the way to go. The rest is just unnecessary work for the remixer).
- leads
- all midi files of the above sounds (if applicable)

Folder content

5. Export only between 1 and 4 bars per sample. Except for breakdowns and vocals. Sometimes i get remix packs that have almost 1GB of file size, because the artist just exported all his 36 audio channels, put it in a .rar and sent it to me. This is annoying to download (depending on the sharing method) and very hard to work on.
6. Don't cut the tails of the samples (leave it longer for the reverbs or hall effects to fade away).
7. Export your samples in 16 bit / 44,1 khz.
8. *Include the original track* or at least a preview of the most important parts. It happened quite a lot of times that a label or artist showed me a private link on Soundcloud and asked me if I'd be up for a remix. Then when the deal was done, let's say 2 weeks after that, I get the remix pack and I'm like:"Ok let's work on that remix. Hmmm how was that song again. Oh yeah lemme check his SC link out again!
...Ugh, link's gone."
9. Make it a Zip file - not a .rar, 7z, or what not. Zip files are the most common and will function on many operating systems by default.
10. Share it on a "good" sharing site. Preferably not on ads-filled sites where you have to start a public investigation no where that real download button is.

Tip: Dropbox comes with 2GB of free space which is perfectly usable for this kind of things. (Dropbox is extendable to up to 16 GB of free space). Install it, then put the zip file into the Public folder. Now right-click and click on "copy public link". Now you can paste that link into an e-mail. You have now created an instant download link!

11. DONE

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Yenn Piano Mashup - 9 Songs In 1!!

Ji-Sook Yim loves to cover songs you wouldn't expect to hear on piano. Most of us know her for the amazing Wolfgang Gartner, Skrillex and Zedd interpretations she did. 
Her latest work is a mashup of 9 of my tracks! It is a great honor for me that someone from the other end of the world is willing to sacrifice so much time for and about me. And she did so darn well!

0:02-0:29 New Generation 

0:30-1:07 Prelude the Great Introduction feat. Jay Jacob
1:08-1:34 Another Night feat. Halev 
1:35-1:48 Happy Dirt 
1:49-2:14 Esperance 
2:15-2:52 Naughty Notions feat. Jay Jacob
2:53-3:25 Unqueer 
3:26-3:54 Upright 
3:55-end  Banzai feat. Jay Jacob

Ji-Sook Yim and Wolfgang Gartner (Joey Youngman)

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Remix Contest Winners Announced: Yenn feat. Jay Jacob - Banzai

The Banzai remix contestants have downloaded the remix stems about 400 times and have uploaded 38 submissions after days and days of hard work, which are amazing stats. So let's cut to the the chase and share the much anticipated results! (We have a message for the ones who did not win the contest. Please check out the "Message to the ones who didn't make it" section.)

First of all, we picked more than 3 mixes. There have been too many great ones, so we have decided to make an initial release with 3 remixes, and one more remix EP later on. Anyway, here we go!

The winners are:
1. Hi5
The chords of the breakdown, the track's quality and arrangement make this the best mix.
2. Backer & Wacco
The high pitched main lead made this an easy pick.
3. Unix
Quality work here with an amazing breakdown and clean sound.
4. Lunar Trance
Highly skilled mix in terms of notes and feeling.
5. Almi
Hands up, very fun to listen to.
6. Dotcom
Impressive take on the chords. It doesn't need vocals to stay in you head all day.
7. Patos
Simple, effectif and straight forward electro madness.

Congratulations to the winners, you have created amazing tracks. We look forward to our release. Welcome on board!

Message to the ones who didn't make it:
I'd like to share a personal story with you guys to show you why you should not give up, only because you've lost a remix contest. Here's my little story on how I have never won a remix contest.

In 2005 I joined my first remix contest. The track was from Trick and Kubic for Great Stuff Rec. I personally thought I had created a masterpiece. I put myself so much into this, I worked day and night on it and even created a cover art, printed a CD and sent them the track by real mail. 
That was the first remix contest that I lost. I was really sad and disappointed, and I didn't know why I lost. I thought, back then, that the other tracks were worse than mine. But when I look and listen back now, I can tell you one thing: My track fu**ing sucked and was probably one of the worst in the pack xD But I didn't hear it back then. My ears weren't ready.

2 years later I tried another remix contest for Carl Cox' I Want You track and lost again. That time my track wasn't that bad...but my sound sucked balls. 

In 2010 I entered the Wolfgang Gartner remix contest with Anton (Zedd). Anton won and I didn't, again.

Then I entered Deadmau5' remix contest (Anton had already remixed Skrillex and was about to get famous then x) and lost again. I changed my breakdown and released it as this track.

Now it's 2012 and I've participated in the Bjork Remix Contest...still waiting for those damn votes ;D I will probably lose again, which really sucks. But then I'll just take out the vocal and do my own thing and release it.

YES I am always a little sad and it drags me down to lose all these contests. But when I look back...I have learned so much from the remix packs of other artists' tunes. It often pushed my quality up a notch. So when you lose a contest, throw out the stuff that isn't yours, turn up the quality a bit, change it to your own track and try to release it somewhere! OR just leave it be, learn your lesson and come back stronger the next time!

So even though I never won a contest, I have still somehow managed to get some decent deals with labels, publishers and even movie producers. That being said, Noobish Records and even me as an artist will offer more remix opportunities in the future. So...stay tuned, don't give up and get your chance next time! 

Thank you for having shared your time with us. This remix contest was really fun and we look forward to our next joint adventure!

All the Best


Monday, 13 August 2012

New Release: Yenn - Mad Frog is a Mad Frog

My latest tracks are out on my new Mad Frog is a Mad Frog EP. The release contains 3 electro house tracks that surely are...different!

01. Absolution
So I followed that hint by Lucky Date and made a bootleg. I chose to remix Gotye...even though I didn't know that people liked it just as much as they hated it. (I'm not really into commercial music. Of course I know it existed, but my favorite music, if you'd like to know is stuff like that.)
So after creating the bootleg, I've decided to tweak it a bit, change the breakdown, remove the vocals and stuff, and release it along with the following tracks...

02. Mad Frog is a Mad Frog
So yeah. I guess after hearing this track you'll think I'm really crazy this time (again... x). I quote my dude Paul aka Refracture:
" is that a frog in your tune!? Man, you're so crazy!^^"
Yes I must admit I really tried to not let my craziness get the upper hand in the music know, where we all try to sell our stuff and really make it and bla bla. But I'm tired of not letting myself go. You know, I'm an artist...and when I play my crazy shit out in front of thousands of people they go nuts and I think that proves that I even should fully be myself, and let my inner artist grow...grow on me, and on you. Enough bla, let's move on to the next one track in the pack.

03. Stampede
This is "just" a big epic stomper. If this isn't making your feet stomp like very hard on the floor to try to break through the earth's very core and even stomp on that hot lava 'cause you don't care that it's hot even though it's making your feet disappear, then I don't know what could. 

This is my little release's story. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you'll enjoy the tracks. They can be bought exclusively on Beatport for 2 weeks right hereAfter the exclusive time, it's gonna come out on iTunes, Trackitdown, Juno and more.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Vote For Yenn

Hey guys,

I’ve participated in the Bjork Remix Contest. It was no easy task at all. This was one of the most complex tunes to remix for me, ever. But nevertheless I must say, I’m pretty happy with the result :)

If you like it, too. Or let’s any case, please do help me get that remix voted up! ;D That would mean a big lot to me, really.

I thank you with all my heart.