In a world where dance music has become saturated and lacking in soul, AYN is bucking the trend… Working quietly in the shadows during the pandemic, AYN has produced an emotively driven techno story EP masterpiece, along with manager, close friend and artist Yasmine D. starring on vocals. The combination of AYN and Yasmine D. is set to offer the world of electronic music a refreshing approach to dance music, driven by dualism with the intention to awaken the soul. The EP has received early DJ support from legendary techno duo Slam, Flashmob, Syreeta, Robert Owens, Paco Osuna, Eelke Kleijn, Joyce Muniz, Anthony Pappa and Horse Meat Disco.
We sat down to catch up with the powerful duo to discuss the release and find out more about the artists behind the music…
Hey Ayn & Yasmine D, thank you for joining us and a massive congratulations on the new EP – how did this release come about?
Thank you, We’re very proud of the feedback we’ve received so far on the New EP since its release on September 24th. We’re happy to announce four days into the EP Release “NXT CHPTR – AYN Feat. Yasmine D.” has gained traction moving up the Beatport Top 100 Charts – at #4 in “Top 100 Releases – Techno (Peak Time / Driving) and at #12 in “Top 100 Releases” on Beatport as of September 28th. We recorded and produced the EP in Jordan (the Middle East) in the midst of the pandemic. We felt the heaviness of the world, as the whirlwind of dark events unfolded around us, and felt the urge to unfold a new chapter of hope, synergy and love, through music. While working on the New EP, we realized this darkness we were feeling was not a result of the pandemic, in fact, it’s a darkness that was bound to surface due to the ongoing injustice, inequality, discrimination and lack of love that existed way before the pandemic came along. The pandemic in fact gave us a reason to unite, to become more aware, to protect each other, to become more connected despite the distance.
What was the inspiration and meaning behind each track on the EP?
‘Global Warning’ is a call to all ravers to come together – ravers being awakened souls. Amidst the darkness, there is always light within us all.
World On Loop:
‘World On Loop’ is the voice of reason acknowledging the reality of the world – the yin and yang.
As the lyrics aptly say “Hey World, can you hear me? Calling out for you, don’t hide away, let’s seize the day and find the truth”.
‘Raver’s Anthem is all about empowering ourselves and each other, uniting as one to create an unstoppable force, one that can withstand it all. This track is a message of strength, unity and peace all at the same time.
‘The Next Chapter’, as the name suggests, is a chance to transport listeners to a new chapter of hope, synergy and love. The Next Chapter is all about believing in the ethereal power of music, music being the light connecting us all.
The four-track EP is about the journey of a raver and the awakening of their soul. We sought to relay messages of empowerment and unity through the EP – to transport listeners into another dimension through seamlessly merged musical elements, driven by dualism with the intention to awaken the soul. Through enchanting rhythm sections interlaced with deep heavy techno kicks and melodic synths – the music intends to bring warmth and light to the soul.
What was the process of making the tracks for the EP in the studio?
I started off by creating simple beats using midi controllers and synthesizers to sketch out the structure and layout of the productions. As we flowed, Yasmine D. and I dove into finding the lyrics that best expressed the messages we wanted to convey throughout the EP, in the simplest way possible, while finding the right balance between “darkness” and “light”. Writing the lyrics and transcribing them into vocal melodies was a simultaneous process. Once melodies were finalized, we started recording the vocals – giving Yasmine the freedom to vocally deliver raw spacy and enchanting vocals.
I followed a multi-layered approach while developing the tracks’ final mixes, incorporating progressively liberating musical elements, coming together to transport audiences to higher frequencies of sound. The process was a melting pot of deep heavy techno beats, synths, melodic loops and vocal escapes – to map out the journey to the NXT CHPTR, a mixed synergy of freedom, love and light.
How long have you been making music for and what made you first get into music production?
The openness I found in the world of electronic music is what attracted me the most to music and production – it provided me with a space to escape into a world of freedom, a safe haven so to speak. It’s like entering a vacuum of sound and space – where time doesn’t exist.
Before deciding to become a DJ, I actually started production – I started learning about the different software out there, and experimenting with mixing sounds, rhythms and synths to create short loops and extended flows – to translate what I’m hearing and feeling in my head into music – a language everyone understands. In parallel I started learning how to DJ, as mixing in tracks was a big learning curve for me on the production front too.
I could say I started production halfway through 2017 and started officially Djing end of 2017. I also officially released my first track in 2018, “Lover’s Hymn (Remix)” – a remix of a track by El-Funoun Palestinian Dance Troupe.
What advice would you give to anyone who is just starting out or thinking of getting into music production?
Always start off with it being your passion rather than a means to an end. Always remain true to your sound. Aim to always grow and evolve as an artist, to develop your technique, to be open to new sounds and immersive experiences. On another note, never think you need a whole studio and a music production degree to start – the internet is full of learning experiences, and I am a believer learning is something you can do regardless of what tools you have at your disposal. Lastly, always keep an eye on the long run, look at the bigger picture and keep going 😉
When you make music where do you draw your inspiration from?
My approach to sound has always been about translating my emotions and memories into my music. My collective experiences shape my sound identity. I never confine myself to rules while making music – I give myself the freedom to explore and feel, to let go into the unknown without fear. To me, music has always been about transcending everything and just living in the now, surrendering to space and time.
Travelling throughout my upbringing and living in the US during my college years at VCU, I was exposed to new cultures, new ways of being, new music and different music styles … which instilled in me a continuous longing for unfamiliarity and adventure. Going to dance music festivals, watching artists I admire in the Techno Scene like Nina Kraviz and Helena Hauff, discovering new artists along the way … all these personal experiences opened up my horizons and expanded my understanding of sound and its limitless dimensions.
Which artists have influenced your music the most?
It’s hard to pinpoint specific artists that have influenced my music the most – the music scene at large has always been an influence. Of course, there’s a never-ending list of artists across the genre spectrum that are on my musical radar and I’ve followed, discovered and learned from throughout the years as a fan. I’ve noticed regardless of genre, the status of the artist, or the language spoken (when the music includes vocals) – it’s always been about the experience and the emotions I feel while listening to the music – music that moves my soul. I am grateful to all artists out there who have poured their hearts into making music and sharing it with the world.
What artists should be looking out for apart from yourselves at the moment?
There are so many artists worth mentioning, yet here are the ones that come to mind at the moment: Karim AlKhayat, Space 92, NURE, Syreeta, Yellow Space Music, Carl Haze, and Indira Paganotto.
If you could pick three artists to collaborate with from any genre of music, who would they be and why?
Arab icons Um Kalthoum and Warda Al Jazeeria (may they rest in peace) for their emotional delivery and their soul.
Legendary Carl Cox, and Electronic Powerhouse Nicole Moudaber for their groove and openness.
Techno Queens, Nina Kraviz, Amelie Lens and Helena Hauff for their respective energy, deep heavy beats and rawness.
I guess that’s more than 3!! I want to collaborate with everyone, isn’t that what music is all about?
What is in store for Ayn & Yasmine D for the rest of 2021 and 2022?
When it comes to the New EP, we’re releasing four music videos (visualizers) in October for each track of the EP – once a week starting October 8. Inspired by our EP Artwork illustrated by the brilliant artist Raphaelle Macaron, the team at Banana Monkey did an impeccable job at transcribing the artwork – into visualizers that will take audiences on a journey of mind-stimulating, beat dropping, soul opening animated loops.
We also have a lot planned, including very special features and upcoming sets featuring the EP, leading up to a new single release before the year ends. Hopefully in 2022, a live act “AYN Feat. Yasmine D.” will start to unfold. Stay tuned for a lot more to come 😉
In parallel, Yasmine also happens to be my manager, so there’s a lot we’re planning for when it comes to sets and upcoming bookings for AYN. On another note, I haven’t disclosed this yet, but Yasmine and I have been working behind the scenes on E.T.M. – Escape Through Music – a musical platform that encourages diversity, unity, and freedom through musical experiences, both physical and digital. We’ve soft-launched with a Live DJ Set filmed by the sea in Lebanon “Escape Through Music with AYN”. Stay tuned for more to come from E.T.M. and keep an eye out for upcoming pop-up events.
The future will definitely be all about more music, more live shows, and maybe even a merchandise line? A lot could happen in a year – let’s see where next year will take us!