With her previous single ‘Black Mamba’ being awarded the title ‘Best Song In The World’ from Across The Line with BBC Radio Ulster last year, Irish hip-hop artist Lauren Hannan – aka YINYANG– has now blasted into our ears with immense new tune ‘Bloodhound/Earthbound’. With shades of GIHE fave Noga Erez, the track oozes a gritty energy as the angst-driven power of Hannan’s vocals seethe alongside attitude-fuelled glitchy beats, building with a soulful, soaring splendour.
We caught up with Lauren to find out more…
Hi YINYANG, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello! My real name is Lauren, which is bit more vanilla than YINYANG. I decided to have a pseudonym because YINYANG represents the project better – yin and yang as a philosophy is the concept of dualism, how seemingly opposite or contrary forces can be complimentary and interconnected. This resonates with me as my music is where I channel the dark, fierce energy I have that takes no shit from anyone, but if you met me in real life I’m also just a nice wee, kinda zaney, Northern Irish woman who loves a red wine and her cat Elvis. If you’re into star signs I bet you guessed I’m Gemini, and you nailed it!
How did you initially start creating music?
In my pre-covid life you’d catch me in a field producing festivals, and I’d watch the artists when I got a chance and just have a belly full of jealousy like “why the hell am I not up there? I really want to be up there!” So for me, although lockdown has been shit in many ways, it’s also been a bit of a blessing in disguise because I was able to find time to be able to make the dream become a bit more of a reality – even though I’m still a newbie, it’s the realest it’s ever been which makes me very happy! I found Garageband on my laptop and started making really terrible demos to begin with, I think I spent forever at the beginning just listening to every built in instrument sound to work out what I like, then I turned all the buttons off and on again to see what they do cause I didn’t have a clue what I was doing or what compression is or wtf is EQ?! I spent every single day on GB writing and working out my sound like I was addicted to it. I released my debut single ‘Black Mamba’ last July to just dip my toes in the water and see if anyone liked what I was making, ’cause to be honest I didn’t know what it was, and I still don’t know what genre I am, but people liked it! So I decided fuggit we’ll keep going, and gas levels have been on 10 ever since.
Your new single ‘Bloodhound/Earthbound’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
Yes, very excited and nervous all at the same time! It’s basically about protecting your energy. The title is from one of the lyrics “Learn to sniff the bad out of them – Bloodhound, bring your head out of the clouds – Earthbound…” This line hits the jackpot for what I’m trying to say really – sniff out the bad out of the situation and get your head out of this romanticised, fake reality you made up in your mind and into the ugly truth; that this isn’t serving you how it should be, so don’t bother cause you’re really a baddie and ya don’t need crumbs. It’s not just about one particular event in my life, it’s about all of the times I’ve made that same addictive mistake, even when it was in disguise.
You’ve been compared to the likes of Little Simz and Peaches, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I’ve got quite a few musical influences that I think will become more apparent with the next few releases: M.I.A. is a constant, Sampa The Great, Ben Khan, Kendrick Lamar and then bands like The Prodigy and Rage Against The Machine. Bit of a mix really, all depends on my mood!
In ‘normal’ times, how is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music
What’s a gig… ? It’s been sooooo lonnnnggg! (Terrible dad joke I’m so sorry!) Yeah, I totally immerse myself in live music and will 100% be going to every gig possible when this is all over. There are some wicked artists in Northern Ireland, a lot of talent there.
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Minchanbaby’s ‘Luzzy’ is the soundtrack to my life at the moment. Special mentions to Draper, who’s not new but his new stuff is great and has been going in a new direction from his other material ,so it kind of counts as new. Melahnin, Red Eye Pariah and Rye Milligan.
And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
I guess you could argue that it’s always been hard! But at the moment I think it feels particularly hard because it’s so online focused in 2020/21 as we can’t play live, you could totally drain yourself trying to keep up with promoting yourself on all the socials, thinking of new ways to connect and reach audiences and stay relevant I guess. BUT, that doesn’t make it any less fun! I’m just trusting the process, keeping my head down and working hard, hoping for the best.
Finally, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for YINYANG?
Oooooohhhh it’s feeling like an exciting year but I’m scared to jinx it! Going to be releasing eight tracks throughout the year and if we can play live shows then I’ll be performing as soon as humanly possible. I’m pretty buzzed for 2021 – a lot of work has gone into it, I have a real good feeling about it and a great team to share it with.
Massive thanks to YinYang for answering our questions!
Listen to YINYANG’s latest single ‘Bloodhound/Earthbound’ on Spotify now.