I/Y, an acronym for the founders of the Berlin based duo; Irakli and Yacoub. With releases on their own label founded in 2013, the group has gained significant awareness in the techno scene. Earlier this year they released their Objection EP on Dynamic Reflection with remixes from Acronym, which has almost gained anthem status in DJ – circuits. It’s clear that they have a vision with their productions and portray their style of music as most dedicated artists.
We are privileged to have the opportunity to ask the group a few questions about how they got started and their development for the future. For our 87th episode we have a live recording of a particularly long and sweaty set at Staub XL in Berlin. We chose to keep it as raw and dirty as it was there with all it’s imperfections – we hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
We chose to keep it as raw and dirty as it was there with all it’s imperfections – we hope you enjoy it as much as we did
Working together as a group, you must share some views about music, how did you discover your similarities?
I: For me, music is a feeling first and foremost. It should be an extremely personal experience. When we first started out, we hadn’t so much planned on where we wanted to go stylistically, but rather went with it and quickly discovered middle ground without really vocalising or describing where exactly that is.
Y: Exactly – while of course everyone has some ideas of what music means to them, I think it’s hard to really distill that down to something concrete in words. I think the two of us really just happened to be on the same wavelength in terms of what we expected from music right from the get go by sheer dumb luck – and built on that.
What inspires you as artists, and how would you describe your sound?
I: Everything and anything can be an inspiration – people, places, situations, colors. I think most important is your state of mind, allowing yourself to get inspired by something, anything or even nothing.
Y: Personally, when I feel a creative block when I try to draw inspiration from (at first glance) unrelated musical genres – I don’t see the purpose of attempting to recreate anything or becoming inspired electronic that already exists, mainly because more often than not it’ll be nothing more than regurgitation and doesn’t really bring anything fresh to the table. That being said, getting technical queues that are proven to work from existing material can be educational. For me personally, inspiration comes from old rock/metal music, movies and, most prominently, social interactions. I’ll have an emotional response to something happening around me, putting me in a certain mindset or mood…
I: I think our sound is mostly in the ear of the beholder, so to speak. It’s extremely important for me not to force people into one way of interpretation, but giving the listener the freedom to project his own response into music. And it has to have some mental qualities.
Y: I think as a whole, our sound is hard to describe. To be honest, I’m not really sure of a signature sound per se, even though I’ve been told there is one. I definitely enjoy exploring different sonic palettes as we go long, sort of like one would do studies on light, perspective, the human form and so on in the visual arts.
In the line of productions, what kind of studio setup do you work with, analog gear or software?
I: I’ll let Yacoub take this one…
Y: [laughs] Alright. Well, let me begin by saying we’re neither analog purists nor laptop producers – I find both to be terribly limiting all in all. The studio setup revolves strongly around a few hardware centrepieces, mainly a number of Elektron boxes which I’ve fallen completely in love with, as well as a small (6U) modular setup – mostly Intellijel/Make Noise pieces in there. Most of everything we do does end up getting multitracked, processed and mixed down in a DAW afterwards (though there are a few completely analog tracks we’ve put out also) — and some sounds might even come straight from VSTs. If it’s available and it works, why not? I feel like the digital coldness and accuracy of a VST pad can offset the warmth and imperfection of an analog synth quite nicely in some cases.
Lately we’ve been thinking of working more with field recordings/homemade one-shots, so I guess that’s next on the menu.
What’s the message behind I/Y?
I: The message is to make the world sound better … I guess? [laughs] In all seriousness, I don’t think there’s that much of a direct message to the listener, it’s up to the listener to interpret something into the music, and sometimes it might just be to let yourself go in the music, without overthinking things.
Y: I guess that sums it up quite nicely – I guess I’m sometimes guilty of considering too much intent behind things to be a bit pretentious, a piece of music might evoke an emotional response in the listener, and that’s fantastic. The same piece might allow another listener to completely disconnect from reality for a while, which is equally useful and important in the right context.
Tell us about upcoming gigs and releases?
Y: We’ve got a number of new releases slated to come out – both with our own material as well as other artists’ — I really wish we could go more into detail about those, but due to the pressing plant delays that have been plaguing the scene lately it’s hard to talk about any of this without giving too much away, given that we’re completely at a loss as to when things will come out.
I: We’ve begun booking shows a few months into the coming year around Europe which you can find on RA/Gigatools – and bigger plans are on the horizon as well, unfortunately we can’t divulge too much about those until it’s greenly by the promoters. I guess what we’re trying to say is that we’d prefer people to see where things of going… actions are stronger than words, or something!
The oddball question; Any guilty pleasures?
I: One too many…
Y: Yeah, that just about sums it up. How we get anything done is beyond me [laughs]