Words By Miki Hellerbach
The Producer’s Voice is a new series for GUAP where we highlight the stories of instrumental crafters. We hope to bring their stories to the forefront instead of kept behind the artist they are producing for.
Young Chencs has put the work in and is now reaping the benefits of that as well as having developed a good partnership with hot prospect Central Cee.
Kettering’s own Young Chencs has recently solidified his place in the game producing the opening and closing tracks on one of UK Drill’s biggest albums of 2021, Wild West by Central Cee. This journey has been a long time in the making though and he as well as Cee’s breakthroughs have both come after around ten years of honing their crafts. At age 14 Chencs was tasked with choosing his GCSE exam subjects and he didn’t know what to pick. The only thing he knew piqued his interest was music.
Luckily he was attending the newly converted Corby Business Academy which had received hefty funding from the de Capell Brooke Family of the Brooke Weston Trust. Chencs had to take two buses to get to school everyday in order to reap the benefits. One of those benefits was a set of new Mac Desktop computers that had the software program Garage Band. He liked it, but as his teacher knew he wanted to focus on music, they directed him to the sole computer of the set that had the more advanced program, Logic. This would be the impetus for Chencs to lock into his passion, eventually pleading with his parents to get him a Mac desktop of his own with the program.
Originally focussing on this passion on his own for a bit, eventually one of his mates who was a cameraman introduced him to a local group of rappers from Wellingborough who he’d go on to work with for four or five years. But like most youthful music groups, it never all really got off the ground and everyone fell out. Chencs had to go out on his own and did so diligently until landing his first big break with rappers D-Block Europe and Yxng Bane on “Flights”. The album the track was on peaked at number 14 on the UK Billboard Charts and led to collaborations with M Huncho and even more tracks with Yxng Bxne.
In the midst of a quiet time in the music industry in 2020, Chencs received a dm on Instagram with new potential management that would lead to a session with Central Cee. His biggest track from that session “6 for 6” now has over 30 Million streams worldwide, appeared on Drake’s OVO Sound Radio, and was just used in a promotional video for the England national football team for their trip to the Euros.
“The pockets of drill, I’m not saying the UK can do it better than anybody else, but they can certainly hit pockets that people might not hear or see. I think because of Garage, that was a massive thing in the UK when it started in the early 2000s. There’s elements of that that carry forward.”– Young Chencs for GUAP 2021
I asked Young Chencs to give the backstory of three of his top instrumentals. Take a read.
“6 for 6” by Central Cee
“I was getting some samples sent to me at the time from a guy named Seyon (Tharmathasan) from Canada and I was blown away. The way the “6 for 6” sample sounds now is much different. (Originally) it was a lot slower and in a different key, like a 120 bpm and slow Trap vibe. I was in the studio waiting for Cench to come and I thought it would be hard if I made it into a Drill beat. I more or less finished it and he liked it, started writing to it, and laced it. We just made the song and that was that.
I knew the sample with the vocals had to be the first thing people heard cuz they would be like, “What the fuck is this?” But I wanted the guitar to be the main drive for the song. I really wanted to get into the guitar Drill vibe because I liked the feel of these kinds of beats. That euphoric and jumpy energy. Once Cench put the vocals down I moved things around to where I thought the arrangement should be. Then the drums were not too complicated but consistent because Cench likes beats when there’s not much of a break.
The outro funny enough wasn’t done in the session though. Once I knew the song was gonna be on the tape. I got the stems from the sample sent over and then really went through everything. When I originally got the sample the outro wasn’t there but when I got the stems there was that little bit and I was like, “Oh, that’s got to see the song out.” I went out to smoke a spliff in that original session and I saw he put out a clip on Snapchat of him vibing to it. When I saw that, I knew that it could go off. Then there were snippets put up on Youtube as a Central Cee leak and now they have over 100,000 views. At the time of that session, he had a big buzz cuz that day his song “Loading” had also debuted on the charts at 19 or something. Mad timing.”
“Porsche” by Yxng Bane feat. Headie One
“I started making the beat at my yard, but after Bane’s HBK tape came out I went on tour with him for a couple dates in the UK. They picked me up outside my crib and I was gassed and I’d already had the idea. I was cooking it up on a laptop with headphones in the bus and at the hotel and then played it for him there. He liked it and told me to send it. Then when the tour ended a week or two later he told me Headie One was jumping on it. I was like, “Rah sick!” Headie jumps on it and he sends it back to me, but it sat there for a year and a half. Then one day his manager hit me up and said it was coming out.
There’s no samples on that, I played it all in. He gave me a brief of: jumpy hard hitting Trap. I played it to him and he liked how it was. There’s a piano I played and that’s how it started, then I reversed it for the verses and it was dirty so I went off that. Did the bassline, drums, and plucky melodies after that. When I made that I was making bang on Trap. I was listening to Lex Luger, Waka Flocka, brass and heavy orchestral shit.”
“Gangbiz” by Central Cee
“Later on in that same (“6 for 6”) session we did “Gangbiz”. Seyon did the sample for that as well and when I pulled it up Cench said he liked it and I cooked the beat up. I made it on the spot. I don’t think I changed too much on the sample. I haven’t got many other Drill beats with that kind of emotional feel to them. It takes you somewhere.
Most of the time when I’m using samples, I try to avoid just grabbing a sample and putting drums over it. I feel like I’m limiting myself when I do that. I try to play with it and add melodies on top. But in this sample there were a bunch of different layers already. For me, part of the way I produce is I start with the melody. I find it easier to put the drums into the melody pockets. I feel I’m restricting myself by doing the drums first. I did a lot of trial and error with that here, made sure I was putting things where they sounded good.”