A sedentary and blurred journey: a Haring interview

Pictures by Maria Baoli

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The elusive Brussels-based producer presents his sophomore album, Blurred – the result of months of seclusion in the studio.

If you like your house with a spoonful of Caribou or a pinch of Four Tet, the music of Yann Attia might be your cup of tea. The Brussels artist always made soothing, colourful electronica that never strayed away from the dancefloor too far. Blurred, his second album to date, might be his most accomplished work so far.

Where did you grow up, and how did it shape you?

“I lived in Mons until I was 19 years old. In my early teens, my father listened to lounge music, and that's how I discovered some artists that would influence me later on, like Bonobo. I've always been a jack of all trades, and as soon as I had an instrument in my hands, I would compose melodies straight away. It's when I moved to Brussels that making music became the focal point in my life”.

You moved to Istanbul for a few months. What have you learned over there?

“I moved to Istanbul as part of an exchange program. I didn’t know much about this city but was mesmerized as soon as I arrived. Istanbul is a city that makes you wonder, a city at the crossroads of many cultures. This stimulated my creativity. Maybe now is the right moment to mention the mixtape I made with Turkish heritage music (laughs). This place is where I composed my debut album In Spaces too, so I owe a lot to the city”!

This album is the result of settling down in Brussels and taking my time without any expectations, pressure or deadline.

‘Blurred’ will be your sophomore album, how have you changed since your previous one?

“A lot of things have happened since the previous album: I played many solo concerts, I collaborated with other artists (like for the GANGUE project, with La Fine Equipe and Fulgeance) but I also toured with my live band (which includes Monolithe Noir and Antoine from Glass Museum). I hope that people will feel this evolution in Blurred. I feel like my music is more assertive now. This album is the result of settling down in Brussels and taking my time without any expectations, pressure or deadline. Usually, I would be all over the place, doing a million things at once, but this album was recorded entirely at home. It’s the honest result of months of reflection”.

How do you rate the local scene at the moment? Any names we need to keep our eyes on?

“Even though I'm in a solo project, I'm in touch with a lot of musicians and producers here. Over the years, I've enjoyed making music with Monolithe Noir, Glass Museum, RARI, Marc Melià, etc. Each of these has influenced my work. In a broader sense, I think the electronic music scene here is less organized than the hip hop scene at the moment. Initiatives such as Kiosk Radio and Listen! Festival are gaining momentum by uniting the different little niches of the capital. As for local tips; keep your eyes on people like Alp Emre, coline, Nero Palms and Floriane Charle”.

Playing live taught me a lot about production techniques, like how to get the result you’re looking for.

Is the live performance something you keep in mind when you make music?

“When I compose, I usually try to separate the thought of a live performance from what I do in the studio. When I finish a song, however, I always ask myself how I can make it more appealing in a live performance. Playing live taught me a lot about production techniques, like how to get the result you’re looking for. I love how a song can take another dimension on stage”.

Where did the name Haring come from?

“My moniker comes from the famous NYC graffiti artist, Keith Haring. I got into his work during an exhibition at BAM in Mons, back in 2009. His use shapes and colours inspired me, so I told myself that if I would ever start a music project, I would use his name as a tribute. When I played Amsterdam Dance Event two years ago, the production team welcomed me with a fresh herring, which I later found out was what Haring means in Dutch (laughs)”.