Open City

Yannick Verhoeven vs Mash P in the WORM and Way Out Sound Studios

Yannick Verhoeven is well known for his work in the rumbustious Cairo Liberation Front, the much-missed Incubate Festival and the Eurabia club nights. More recently he’s been recording under the name Ramses3000. His debut album, Ataraxia (a Greek word which roughly translates as “a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety”), is a splendid smorgasbord of electronic styles and beats and really worth your time. It also features the work he did with Sierra Leone rapper Mash P, in WORM’s and his own studios.

How did your new release all come about?

I’ve been playing music under my solo moniker Ramses3000 for four years now. And through playing sets at clubs and festivals, the music I’ve been digging inspired me to produce my own music again. For my debut I didn’t want to think anything through or work too conceptually. I just thought, what if I get behind my DAW and grab some synths; what kind of music I would make? Because of the DJ sets I was playing, it felt natural to create tunes that would follow my tastes, so Ataraxia is really percussion based. After I visited Sierra Leone last year I kinda knew where things were heading and with the guidance from Raynor De Groot, who’s releasing music as Coloray and running the Intercept record label, I’ve put together a debut record.

You’ve always looked outside of NL for inspiration; why do you think that is?

Not to downplay the scene in the Netherlands, as there are a lot of great producers, DJs, bands and artists around here, but on a bigger scale I hate it that a lot of media and journalists are only focusing on the Anglo Saxon culture, and aren’t looking beyond the Western borders. Currently most new music styles are in my opinion emerging outside of the Western world, cause of the combination of electronic music and traditional music from their own heritage. For me it started seven years ago with the electro-cha3bi movement in Egypt. Later on I discovered that simultaneously these developments causing new exciting music in so many different countries in the Middle East, Africa en South-America. At the same I think it’s important to give a voice to artists from those areas as I think it gives an insight into a different culture, which most people aren’t aware of. Remember that digging into new music in these kinds of countries wouldn’t be possible twenty years ago; because of the Internet everything is available for everyone.

Why WORM’s studios?

As I found that Mash P came to Rotterdam for a show at a special YCreate x Pantropical night we connected via the YCreate platform and they explained to me that he would be in town for a couple of days. I knew it would be a little difficult to invite him to my own studio in Tilburg and I knew WORM had a studio, which I wanted to experience for a long time; so that’s when I sent out a request of working together.

I’ve often been to WORM and I think this place is really an exception in the Netherlands; I don’t know any place like this. I’ve seen a lot of great shows, both DJs and bands, and I admire the vibe which is in the place. For me places like WORM should be cherished in the Netherlands; it gives artists, including myself, a platform and it helps us get inspired; think I’ve spent my whole weekend making beats after I visited the Pantropical night with Siete Catorce and Lechuga Zafiro for instance.

Mash-P is an interesting guy, can you tell us about your work together?

When Mash P came to Rotterdam it was actually the first time we met. We had a chance to hang out and became friends. Also in the studio, where we connected really well. I think he’s a really talented guy, who works really fast and is always eager to try out new things, which I always admire while working with artists. It’s amazing how he’s able to jump onto a more club-oriented track, as well as working on a love song or spit out bars about political matters, which is rare; not a lot of artists are this versatile. After we worked together in WORM he invited me to his home country, Sierra Leone, and introduced me to so many great artists from the capital, Freetown. In Freetown we worked together at the Way Out studios; an amazing place, which is run by a group of dedicated people, who give talented people from Sierra Leone a possibility to explore and develop their skills. Not only do they focus on writing, singing and producing music, they also give guidance for making documentaries, giving poetry classes and helping people with their Adobe-skills.

Next week I’ll release my debut record as Ramses3000 at Intercept. A couple of those tracks I’ve recorded last year in Freetown, Sierra-Leone. Thanks to Prince Claus Fund WAYout (Worldwide Arts For Youth), Mash P, Raynor de Groot & Pascal Terstappen this would not have been possible ❤️

Geplaatst door Yannick Verhoeven op Donderdag 23 april 2020

From what I have seen of the clips of you both in the WORM studio it seems you had quite an expressive way of working together (or were you mugging for the cameras?)

Funny that you mention that; I saw this footage actually a couple of weeks ago for the first time, when my friend Koen Bouman sent it to me, who shot the video. Also don’t know if there is a lot of footage of my working in a studio that was quite fun to see. In the studio, at my own place or anywhere else I record, I feel at home and doing something I love to do, so I’m often quite hyped when I’m working on music.

Since Gbana has dropped a lot of people have been asking when I first met Mash P. Before I went to Sierra Leone we actually linked up at the recording studio of WORM Rotterdam & my homie Bouman captured some of those moments. Ataraxia drops in a couple of days at Intercept

Geplaatst door Yannick Verhoeven op Woensdag 29 april 2020

What did you learn there, specifically?

Compared to the Netherlands, in Sierra Leone it is much more common to dance to music in daily life, regardless of who you are. This affects their music, as a lot of it is primarily made to dance to, and some of my beats were a little too crooked to properly dance to. At some point I just limited my beats to their core and just ensured the beats would continue instead of breaking them up all the time. If you’re in an environment that’s not common to yours, you notice that you’re used to living in your own bubble, so it was definitely a good decision to go there.

…That period in Freetown was a really good time. I was really blessed in going on a daily basis to the Way Out studios, to record music with all kinds of different, cool artists. I met a lot of really friendly people and everywhere I went it felt very welcoming. The double side of the country is seeing so many people live in poverty, which was something that was hard to cope with. As well as with freedom of speech… I had other things in mind, but I also reckon that’s the western glasses I’m wearing.

What can SL creatives can teach us, in your opinion?

I’ve noticed that nobody I’ve worked with in Sierra Leone is scared of the mic: if there’s a pumpin’ beat going on they’re thrilled to rock the mic. They can spit bars on bars on bars, without writing and just express their feelings instead of overthinking everything. I admire that and it really gives a different approach to working in the studio. Most of the artists I’ve worked with at Way Out also have a different kind of way of rhythm that’s got a different ‘swing’ to it, compared to Dutch artists for example. Which I dig.

How’s life under lockdown? Is the fabled creative surge true for you?

It’s weird; when the lockdown started I had just finished Ataraxia and the third Eurabia EP for CLF, so I wanted to take a little break from recording. But everything is closed and I don’t have that much else to do at the moment, so I started working on beats right away. Currently I’m finishing a new record with Jasper Grave for my other project called G.O.D., which we hopefully can release this autumn. At the same time I’m trying to spend more time sitting on my balcony, enjoying the sun and reading, and a little by little also recording new stuff for a follow-up on the Ataraxia record.

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