EXCLUSIVE 10 Year Anniversary Younan Music Interview w/ Saeed Younan
Washington DC resident, World class globe-trotting DJ, recording artist, sought-after remix producer, and head of his own record label (Younan Music), Saeed Younan celebrates its ten year anniversary in style with a collection of remixes of classic Younan Music tracks. These remixes are supplied by the hottest names in House music at the moment: Originals and remixes by: Joeski, Filthy Rich, Anek, David Herrero, Wally Lopez, Will Monotone and much more.
1) How would you describe your labels sound, from it’s inception to today?
When I launched Younan Music back in 2004, tribal, and sexy groove-driven house was the type of sounds I was into. So I tried signing tracks that had similar elements. Since music evolves over time, so did the label. But our core values have always been the same. Even though I stopped signing heavy tribal tracks, or just straight-up drum tracks (unless it’s unique). We still aim to sign interesting tracks that have solid grooves, bass-driven, and some sex appeal. We’re also accepting deep house, Indie dance & techno demos. Expanding the labels catalog beyond house & tech house
2) Do you miss the old “tribal house” days you were so profoundly at the forefront of – OR has that sound just mutated into the more organic tech house we know and love today?
I don’t miss it in a way that I wish old tribal house music would come back. However, I do miss the energy that tribal sounding house gave to people on a dance floor. It’s hard to get that (“close your eyes and lose yourself to the beats”) type attitude these days. Unless you’re playing a really good after-hours. I’m happy that tech-house picked up, where tribal-house left off…it was as nice hand-off. The stuff coming out now is definitely more organic, more underlined percussions, and not so much of that, “in your face tribal beats”. There is also a big difference between a percussive track and a tribal track. But a lot of people think it’s the same. Or can’t tell the difference.
3) I can remember seeing you guys play at one of my very first after hour experiences back in the day so as an old fan I’ve got to ask – what ever happened to Palash from Saeed and Palash?
Hahah..cool! Well, for those that don’t know the story. Palash and I were business partners back in the mid 90’s. We launched a label called Addictive Records. From that partnership we produced music under the name “Saeed & Palash” which then sparked many gigs as a duo. In 2003 we had to shut down the label due to the digital market take over. And at that same time, we each had different goals moving forward. We kept in contact for a little while, but since the business partnership dissolved, so did our communication. To be honest with you, I haven’t spoken to him in over 10 years. Last I heard, he’s married and has a family.
4) What 10 year celebration release is on deck in the Younan Music cue? Tell us about it?
Just released and available on Traxsource is our biggest release to date. “10 Years of Younan Music” is a compilation of 23 brand new remixes of classic Younan Music tracks. Remixed by amazing producers like Danny Serrano, Boris, Joeski, Hermanez, Detlef, Anek, Rub A Dub, Zohki & Roozlee, Charles Ramirez & Stan Garac, Diego Infanzon, Will Monotone, Matt McLarrie, Paskal Daze, Jonathan David, Timid Boy, David Pher, Gonzalez & Gonzalo, Sebastian Ledher, Oscar Escapa, An-Beat, Luca M & Just2, David Cujino, and more. We’re very excited to have such amazing artist join the label for our 10th anniversary release. We also just signed The Lion Brothers from Italy to the label. Their production is getting lots of support from Richie Hawtin. We are releasing another EP by Rub A Dub, from Bosnia. We’re getting ready to release a new pack titled “A Tribe Rising”, which focuses on new and up-n-coming artist. Some fun and exciting projects are in the works.
5) And how do you plan to celebrate? Any dope parties in the works we shouldn’t miss?
We’ve been celebrating since March. We did two events during Winter Music Conference in Miami this year. One of the events was the labels birthday. I just did Label anniversary event in Washington D.C at Flash nightclub, and we’re looking to continue the celebrations at venues in Toronto, L.A, New York, Montreal, and hopefully The BPM Festival in January 2015.
6) Do you ever get nervous before a performance?
I still get nervous before every gig. But sometimes it’s a good nervous, or I guess you can say I get anxious. When I get to a venue before my set time, and find out something is not working properly in the DJ booth. That gets me nervous and annoyed. Because people on the dance floor always assume it’s the DJ that’s screwing up, when something doesn’t sound right. And almost never assume it’s the set up or the sound system provided by the venue. Sometimes, an opening DJ decides to remap the mixer settings to suit his needs, but doesn’t tell me before I get on. That has happened many times.
7) Nightclubs or Festivals? Why?
Festivals are fun to play, I really enjoy them. Great way to connect with other fellow DJ’s and it pays well when you make it big. But I do love the vibe of a club. You can’t get that vibe looking out to 10,000 people.
8) You’ve been playing with the legendary Carl Cox lately, I’d hate to use the word “EPIC” so I’ll let you describe it – what does playing with him on that stage feel like?
It’s hard to put in words man. The energy he brings is unmatched. When we played at Echostage in Washington DC, last May. I had the opportunity to do a sound check with him & Nic Fanciulli. Watching Carl Cox do sound check is just like watching a mad scientist at work. The sound check was more like a full on live performance. He gets so into it, as if…a sea of people dancing in front of him. You can see the love and passion he has for the music. It was a great experience, and one that I will never forget.
Since that gig last May, we’ve been playing together at his Las Vegas residency, and he also invited me to play at EDC Las Vegas. I was the only DJ that got to play both Friday & Saturday on the Carl Cox & Friends stage. I’m just so honoured and super happy to be playing with him. And humbled beyond believe that he chose me to open for him at his residency.
9) Do you feel the rise of “EDM” is slowly helping our underground niche or slowly destroying it?
I think it’s a little of both. Someone new to the scene may attend an “EDM” event and experience all its bells and whistles and thinks that’s what it’s all about. He or she doesn’t educate themselves or dig deeper to learn about the music. But there are others who start off with EDM and slowly start to look at other genres, to familiarise themselves with underground rooted artist and music. Believe it or not, I discovered the underground rave scene through “EDM”. Which was called “Hi-NRG” back in the 90’s.
The great thing I see happening now is, a lot of “EDM” events in the US are including underground artist on a separate stage. It’s a great way introduce our sound to these EDM festival goers. So they can ultimately decide if they like it or not.
10) What’s your DJ set-up like? (CDJ’s, USB, Vinyl, etc?)
I use NI Traktor Pro for mixing tracks on channels 1 & 2 with X1 controller. I also use a USB stick with 2 CDJ’s to layer, edit, sample, and loop vocals on top of the mixing tracks. My preferred mixer is the Pioneer DJM900 nexus.
11) While DJing… what hydrates you, beer, liquor, water, champagne, wine?
Water or Coconut water is always handy. But I usually have some redbull & vodka to kick things off.
12) Production wise – Hardware, Software or both? Which ones?
I’m currently using Logic. All in the box with lots of plugins. I sold all my hardware years ago…I just prefer things simple, for production on the road.
13) Describe Younan Music in 3 words?
Labor Of Love
14) What are some artists to look out for on the label?
My label manager, Matt McLarrie has been doing some amazing tracks on Younan Music and other labels. Also look out for Rub A Dub, The Lion Brothers, Sebastian Ledher, David Herrero, and Stephank K & DJ Koutarou.
15) Any forth coming gigs for you this summer? PLUG AWAY!
Since we’re celebrating Younan Music 10th birthday, we’ve decided to put together a mini label tour. I will invite the artist from the label to play some of the gigs with me. We’re looking to hit major cities in the US, Canada. And hopefully Central & South America. We’re also working on Ibiza dates for the end of August with stops in Barcelona, Dubai and other countries in the area. Once details are finalized. They will be posted on my website www.SaeedYounan.com
16) Where does a store like Traxsource fit in your musical agenda?
I don’t always play promos that I get. And I don’t always play new stuff. I love digging for older stuff. Tracks that other DJ’s may have forgotten about or just don’t know about. With Traxsource I can find a lot of these tracks and use them in my sets. I also love the way Traxsource categorize and breakdown the sub-genres. Makes it easy and fun to find music & dj tools.
17) Any secrets from within the industry you’ve learned along the way? If so, what?
I’ve been doing this for well over 20 years. And there are few things I’ve learned the hard way.
- 1) The only person looking out for your best interest, is you and nobody else. Don’t relay on others too much.
- 2) Don’t sell yourself short, If someone doesn’t see or appreciate your talent. It’s best to walk away with your head held high.
- 3) Passion, drive and originality is the key to making it, and living comfortable doing it.
18) Name one thing you wouldn’t do without while traveling?
This is a given…And I’m sure most will agree. I can not do without my mobile phone. It’s my lifeline when I’m on the road. And my I always travel with my Mantra bracelet, to help me stay balanced & calm.