Get to know Yehan Jehan, the musician who fuses slick 80s pop with funk, hip hop and psych rock.
With over 10 years of musical development to his name, Yehan Jehan knows exactly what he’s doing. Combining a myriad of influences found through his extensive research, which include classic funk, hip-hop, psych rock, rock n roll and 60s/70s film scores (just to name a few), he creates a slick, ultra-modern sound, tinged with electric 80s vibes, that would have been as at home on a 1980s dancefloor as it is in 2016.
Growing up in north London with a piano teacher mother and a father that composed scores for film and TV, it isn’t surprising that music was his chosen path. Brought up playing and composing on piano and cello and acting in short films – it isn’t just music that his talents lie in – his lightbulb moment occurred aged 13, when he found that the process of creating a music was something that he just couldn’t stay away from. 10 years later, and Jehan is working on his record, which will undoubtedly be full of psych rock bass lines, statement funk sounds and a smattering 80s elements that make his tracks so addictive.
Yehan Jehan is fully riding the wave in celebration of all things female. Inspired by sun goddesses who he cites as sources of positive energy, he feels that female energy is healing for the world. We can’t argue with you there, Jehan. In his track “Swallow The Horizon”, he taps into this idea, singing about a female figure that keeps playing tricks on him. Writing, arranging, performing and producing AND mixing, Jehan’s musical talents aren’t just limited to the writing process – he’s the full package. His slick 80s pop beats and funk tinges meld together to create infectious beats and sweet lifts that you’ll be humming all day long.
What makes you want to make music?
Personally, I don’t think I’ve got any control over it. It’s that feeling you get within the first 15 minutes in of writing a new song, there’s nothing like it, but then it becomes a nightmare to get to the finish line. When I’m working on a batch of music, its ridiculously intense. I come out of it ill, like I’m dying. Afterwards I don’t touch anything for a while and wait to recharge. Then I’ll end up doing it all over again.
Your parents were very musical – how did it influence your decision to become a musician?
When you grow up in between instruments, it becomes all you know. I started playing very young and then recording when I finally got my first computer around 13. That was a light bulb moment.
You have many musical influences (both artists and genres), but who would you say was integral to the development of your sound?
It’s repetition and studying whatever you find that excites you. For anyone, it’s a mixture of a thousand things that make you do what you do. Of course you have people you look up to and who guide you in certain ways, but then it will be time to move on and go somewhere else. The key is to just keep moving and acknowledging whatever phase you may be in, without being self conscious or bothered by what your peers may think. That’s toxic. For the album I have now, it’s based on the latest phase I’ve been attracted to. Next time it’ll be something else and I don’t know.
You used to work on your sound alone, but now you work on collaborations and side-projects with a group of friends who’ve moved to London from Luxembourg – do you prefer working alone or with other artists?
For my stuff, I work alone. It’s a meticulous process and I don’t think anyone would really want to be around me for too long. For other projects I love collaborating, producing, improvising. For my own thing I’ve just got a very clear vision. That being said, I’ve had a few collaborations with a few recent songs of my stuff. My good friend sang backings on one track. Another close friend I worked out some lyrics with and sometimes someone may make a suggestion and a change which ends up being really great.
Does the London music scene influence your music in anyway? Your sound is quite unlike anything else out there.
I don’t think there is a music scene here anymore. I find it hard, and most of my friends do. “Eat Me Alive” is about the struggles of living in London. I’ve no clue where this is going, but culture is really being killed off. I’ve been here my whole life, but for some friends of mine who grew up in smaller towns, there was opportunity to make a scene, to be part of something, influence the current. London is impossible in that sense, at least right now in the last few years. We’re more influenced by ideas and creativity on the internet which is worldwide. I’d say it’s all these pieces of the internet’s puzzle, we keep extracting from it and create a unique lens that we look through. That’s kind of where we’ve been going for a while now.
What’s the story behind your track “Swallow The Horizon”?
In a few years I’ll probably understand more what it’s about, but for now it’s clear to me that it’s some self discovery trip. A desire to reach an empyrean of sorts. There is a female character involved who keeps playing tricks on me.
What do you want to make people feel with your music?
Whatever they want, but probably the same feeling I get listening to the music I love. I really like things that are infectious. They become an addiction for a period of time. Songs can have that power. Listening to music and appreciating art can be a healing process for so many people going through shit. That’s what it should be and has been for me.
You’ve studied meditation and you’re very spiritual – how does this manifest itself in your music?
It keeps me grounded. For anyone that has periods of anxiety and deep unease, it’s always been the source back to my normal self. Sometimes I touch on things lyrically which are not compatible with living in the 3rd dimensional world, and then sometimes I’m really direct. Songs are a form of diary anyway, so you lock up certain thoughts and periods of your life in them so they’re not your property anymore. They become everyone’s.
What’s the next step for you?
Get this record out and move onto the next one. I’m also carefully preparing the live show and I can’t wait to perform these songs live. For real.