It's not every day you come across an Egyptian, female, electronic producer but Hana Yousri, AKA J!n, is exactly that and then some. We talk to her about her Ambient and Experimental sounds...
Female Electronic music producers in Egypt are few and far between. Actually, we could count them one hand. So, when we discovered Hana Yousri AKA J!n, our interests were most definitely piqued. Not to dwell too much on the fact that she has a vagina and makes music, her sound is 100% fresh out of the kitchen; a kitchen where most Egyptian girls would be happy to reside in after marriage. Her music could be described as Experimental and Ambient, each track wrought with a delightful mirage of fascinating soundscapes, ethereal noise and vocal clips, with a very subtle Oriental vibe. After floating back to earth following a listen of her first EP, Falling Under, we had a chat with Yousri to find out more…
When and how did you start producing electronic music?
I started producing electronic music around three years ago after chilling at a friend’s place, watching this swag dude called Zuli (i.e. my sensi) making some sweet sounds on what looked like a rather complicated program. He was awesome enough to give me some tips and show me the basics of production, and from there it basically shifted to the “trial and error” zone until I got the hang of production.
I actually started off as Izumi J!n, which is a unisex Japanese name. I didn't want people knowing that I'm a female producer at first, and since my love for Asians is fucking huge, I decided to pick a Japanese name. After I've getting some proper feedback, people started concluding that I'm Japanese, which I wish I was, but I'm not. So I shortened it to J!n.
Unfortunately not much of a scene here for Ambient and Experimental tunes. Ever thought about producing something more commercial?
I did, or I tried, at least. But it sounded like shit, so… I didn't.
What do you use to produce?
I use Ableton Live8 and, sometimes, a midi keyboard. Sometimes.
It's rare to find female Electronic producers in Egypt, why do you think that is?
That’s actually a very good question. I don’t know. Maybe because most female musicians sing or play some sort of instrument and they let someone else take care of their production for them? Or maybe they’re not patient enough to work on a production software? I don’t know.
Have you played your stuff live before?
Who are you listening to these days?
Well, the past three years I’ve been constantly listening to Air , Bonobo, Zero7, and Pretty Lights. But recently I’ve been addicted to Active Child and Sound Tribe Sector 9.
Who are your favourite local artists?
First off, I gotta give a shout out to my homie, Omar, aka BamBam, the finest of the finest English rappers around here. Also, the badass himself, Youssef Altay, aka Abyusif; not only is he a mon’star’ when it comes to rapping, he’s also a beast at electronic production. Aside from these two, I have to say in all honesty, my favourite local artists are also Ahmed Ghazoly, aka Zuli/Swag Lee; Kamila Metwaly is fucking incredible and Mahmoud Mashhour, aka Smash Beats, makes some of the finest tunes and beats I’ve ever heard so far.
Is your production process a case of trial and error experimentation or do you start with a clear vision of the kind of emotion or sounds you want to communicate?
Sometimes it's a case of trial and error and other times I do have a clear vision of what I’m aiming to produce. Most of the time, though, it’s both combined. I start not knowing what I want to do then, after meddling with a synth or two, I get motivated to create a certain portrait with my sounds. Ambient music is tricky to please people with; listeners will either call it soothing or gripping, others might call it boring and too spacey. Ambient doesn't really revolve around vocals and lyrics but rather focuses on the different uses of spacey-like sounds and synths and how they're layered on top of each other to create an emotional scene. Hence, when I produce Ambient, I make sure my sounds are vibrant and filled with some sort of character to project a vivid scenery.
Listen to more of J!n on her Soundcloud here