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Me in my studio - Yehan Jehan: “Without UA, I don’t know if the bedroom studio could exist the way it does today”

Yehan Jehan Me in my studio
(Image credit: Yehan Jehan)

Yehan Jehan is every inch the 21st Century recording artist, self-producing his groove-laden songs from his bijou Paris apartment.

That said, the roots of his sound can be traced back to yacht rock luminaries such as Steely Dan and Hall & Oates - Jungle and Kindness are more contemporary reference points - while his multi-instrumental skills have seen him compared to the likes of Beck and Prince.

Born in London after his parents had moved from Bosnia in the 1990s, Yehan began composing at the age of 12 and has also found the time to write scripts and make films and animations.

He’s just embarked on the next phase of his career, recently releasing new single Invisible Friends, which features his sister Zadi on vocals, and announcing a headline London show at the Waiting Room on 17 March

Most importantly, though, Yehan was kind enough to take us inside his studio and show us his favourite instruments and recording gear...

1. Dave Smith Instruments OB-6

Yehan Jehan Me in my studio

(Image credit: Yehan Jehan)

“The OB-6 was the first proper synth I bought myself and it’s been a game changer for the amount of gold I’ve sucked out of it. I’ve used it on all the songs I’ve been done for about three years and it doesn’t stop inspiring. It’s incredibly versatile, pleasing to the ear and textured.

“Its detune feature is one of the coolest things about it as you can really get haunting and unpredictable moments. Add a bit of wow, flutter and noise and you’re off.” 

2. Lovetone Cheese Source

Yehan Jehan Me in my studio

(Image credit: Yehan Jehan)

“This was an amazing gift from my uncle Vlado when I was 19, I think. I recall he used to own a few more of the Lovetone pedals back when they were being produced - I’d been fascinated with them ever since they started to become rare and sought-after, so you can imagine [how I felt] to receive one as a gift.

“With both the fuzz and overdrive engaged it can get incredibly saturated and juicy, cascading back and forth across the frequency spectrum. And the feedback somehow never sounds the same twice because it reacts differently to a lot of amps.”

3. Fender Stratocaster 1974

Yehan Jehan Me in my studio

(Image credit: Yehan Jehan)

“My main guitar is a Custom Shop 1960 Sunburst I bought a few years ago but, before that, this is the one I mainly used, a Blonde 1974 Strat which, again, my uncle kindly lent me years ago.

“It’s got all the mojo you want and a neck that plays like butter. You just get stuck with what you learn on and that happened to be the Strat, so all my playing and writing has been on the two Strats I have.”

4. Fender Precision Bass

Yehan Jehan Me in my studio

(Image credit: Yehan Jehan)

“My first bass was a hollowbody Hofner which got very used and abused, but sounded beautiful. I’d always wanted a P Bass, so when I got the chance I grabbed one of the new American vintage reissues in Sunburst because of Motown, and to match with my other Sunburst Strat.

“Although these models are not true ‘60s specs, and I wish it had the Nitro finish, it sounds great with the Thomastik flat wounds I’ve put on and it does the job with recording and live. Like any new guitar it still needs to get worn in, so it might take a few years…”

5. Clavia Nord Electro 5D

Yehan Jehan Me in my studio

(Image credit: Yehan Jehan)

“I’ve been using a Nord the longest - it’s a workhorse for everything you want to record. I had an Electro 3 first and then upgraded to the 5 which enables you to patch two sounds at once which is really a level up compared to the previous models.

“Having attack and decay controls for the sample section is also inspiring - you can quickly reshape samples you install yourself with ease. 

“The pianos have also become more and more realistic over the years, which is great when you don’t have access to a nice grand piano. For live it’s so simple and reliable to use, especially when sending MIDI data.”

6. Universal Audio Apollo

Yehan Jehan Me in my studio

(Image credit: Yehan Jehan)

“Without UA I don’t know if the bedroom studio could exist the way it does today. I got an Apollo when it first came out and, alongside the plugins they make, it’s a revolution that just keeps getting better and better.

“As far as I’m concerned, sonically there is a 5-10% difference between the hardware and plugin. It’s very much still a luxury to own the hardware they model, and I’d love to one day, but in the end, making records with the Apollo is a new standard. You can go anywhere and reproduce a really coloured signal path that is as analogue as you can get in the digital domain.” 

7. Line 6 Helix

Yehan Jehan Me in my studio

(Image credit: Yehan Jehan)

“This is a recent addition which is at the forefront of my live show and just as useful in the studio. Having gone through about 70 different pedals and 10 completely different pedalboard setups over the years, I couldn’t be bothered anymore, so I started recording straight into the DI. With the Line 6 Helix, not only are pedals accurately emulated, but amps and cabinets to a degree I’ve never heard any other emulation or plugin do.

“For a long time a guitar DI into a random stock amp plugin sounded like a tin can. With the Helix it’s surprisingly authentic and musical, and the whole device is really user-friendly and intuitive, which is important.” 

8. Gibson ES-125

Yehan Jehan Me in my studio

(Image credit: Yehan Jehan)

“This is something a friend of mine recently lent me and I’m really excited to get into it more. It’s from 1954 -  super-simple with one P-90 [pickup] and that’s it.

“I guess it’s the complete opposite to a Strat, so I’m already playing differently and coming up with a new angle to playing. I’m curious what songs will come out of it. It’s been living in a damp guitar case for a long time so it needs some love and attention.”

9. Strymon Volante and Deco

Yehan Jehan Me in my studio

(Image credit: Yehan Jehan)

“These two live on my live vocal chain, as well as being used for processing stems and FX during mixing.

“The Deco I love because I’m a sucker for artificial double-tracking. I use the Wave ADT a lot in mixing and the Deco does just that, but in pedal format. It sounds especially good with bass guitar and vocals.

“The Volante, another masterpiece from the Strymon team, is super-fun to play with. Its spring reverb section sounds very nice and I love processing drums through it.”

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