For a land responsible for Abba, Ace of
Base and that guy who writes for Britney Spears, perhaps
Sweden isn't the first place you'd expect to be home to
some of the most refreshing house music in recent years;
but then YMC aren't exactly your average kinda guys.
YMC (Yunk Music Collective) consist of two talented
young Swedish producers: Yan (alias Jan Lutgebaucks)
and Cpook-E; (pronounced'Spooky' - a.k.a Erik Svahn)
who spend their time making spectacularly beautiful house
music together somewhere on the edge of the Baltic Sea.
Yan and Cpook-E first hooked up in 1995 when Cpook-E left
his home in the Capital city of Stockholm to travel 700
miles south in search of the guy responsible for the
incredible new tunes he had been hearing on Swedish
National Radio. Convinced that the man behind these
banging house masterpieces must be some hard-ass New York
producer Cpook-E was stunned when he caught a radio
interview with Yan, a native Swede, talking about his
music. Cpook-E immediately packed his bags and went to
meet this musical local hero.
By 1997 Cpook-E and Yan had worked out what kind of music
they wanted to make together, deciding to push the envelope
and experiment with all kinds of genres - incorporating jazz,
ambient and dub to their house style. The result was a unique,
dreamy sound, all at once laid-back, uplifting and packed full
of shimmering atmospherics. Explains Cpook-E: "We sincerely
admire anybody trying to put soul and heart into their sound.
We love the amazing sound of the 70's productions like Brian
Eno, Vangelis, Jamaican Dub, Headhunters and Blackbyrds and
that's definitely made more of an influence on our style and
sound than any of the curent trends. We still truly admire the
deep moody music of St German, Kevin Yost, Chaser, Etienne
DeCrecy, Roy Davis Jr, Carl Craig and - of course - Deep Dish,
but it's definitely the organic, vibrant moods of the 70's,
which was all about putting soul and mood into music, which is
the legacy that YMC tries to continue."
Since Sweden was in the throes of a techno /hardhouse
craze, YMC decided to look further afield to Europe and
America for a label to release their work. They sent out a
demo to three labels and were immediately offered three
recording contracts. Yoshitoshi, the DC-based record label run
by deep house heroes Ali and Sharam of Deep Dish, won
out and YMC released their debut EP ' The YMC EP'
in 1998 to great success. Heard by Source records in Germany,
YMC were asked to record a double album for the label Orange
Peel' that was released to critical acclaim in the fall of
'98. Immediately on turning in the finished album Source
commissioned the guys to record another one. On the strength
of these initial recordings YMC found themselves being
approached by labels all over Europe. There followed a spate
of top quality releases: 'The Last Stop EP on
Yoshitoshi (1999), 'The Moody Traxx EP' on Force
Inc US (1999), 'The Nu Mood EP on Plastic City
(1999), 'Nice & Slow' album on April Records
(2000), 'The Satellite Traxx EP' on Placktown Sounds
(2000), 'Nu Directions EP on Nepenta (2000).
Putting together a live show, YMC played in a variety of
club venues around Sweden before making a stunning appearance
in front of 40,000 at Sweden's Hulsfred Festival in 1999 -
sharing a bill with The Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx.
Says Cpook-E: "We always get a great kick out of performing
live, it's an amazing way to communicate with people!" The YMC
live experience has been a major success. Behind banks of
samplers and sequencers the duo make the transition from
studio to club a flawless one and there are plans afoot to
include percussion and guitar into the act.
Keeping up with their track record of being super
industrious, YMC are set to release several records in 2001: 'The
Nite Grooves EP' (Nite Grooves/King Street), 'Essentials'
CD (Yoshitoshi), and 'The Niteflite EP (Yoshitoshi)
as well as forthcoming projects on Alola, Glasgow
Underground and Statra Recordings.
YMC have made a great impact in their short lifetime.
Comparisons to Air, Saint Etienne and Lemon Jelly only go half
way to explaining where the duo's sound fits in, but there are
similarities in the laid-back soulful grooves of each of them.
YMC, however, definitely add a musical smorgasbord to the
proceedings. With YMC leading the pack, and countrymen Laid
and Spanka not far behind, you could be forgiven for asking
yourself more than once this year: Is Sweden the new France?!