Our Producer’s Corner and Perspective series are colliding today with a new profile on one of our favorite producers, Will Yip. Yip has been the man behind the scenes for the new Circa Survive, Title Fight, Daylight, Man Overboard, Light Years, and Citizen records, which means he kind of works on all of ours and your favorite records.
PropertyOfZack had the chance to spend some with Will while filming Man Overboard’s album documentary, and decided it would be great to have Editor in Chief Erik van Rheenen share his story. Check out the new Perspective below!
Will Yip has a secret.
Since he landed his first studio job at 15 — answering phones and booking practice spaces in a crappy Northeastern Philadelphia studio — he mastered the art of making the too-good-to-pass-up-deal.
“I will always try to present something to someone in a situation that the absolutely can’t say no,” he says.
A practiced drummer, Yip quickly recognized his place was to be on the other side of the glass. So he saved all the money he made working the phone lines for the studio and, in true DIY spirit, started recording bands in his mom’s basement. “It was like the size of a closet,” he laughs. Without hesitation, Yip rattles off the album that first inspired him to become a basement producer, and stuck with him: Nirvana’s In Utero.
“It’s big. Like, it’s larger than life, but not blown out. It’s as human as it gets. Some songs hurt to listen to, but in the best way possible. People don’t have the balls to do that now,” Yip says emphatically. One listen, and Yip was hooked.
His first big shot at stepping his foot into the production door knocked when Philly hardcore outfit Blacklisted booked rehearsal space at the studio. The chance was too good for Yip to pass up. “They were recording some demos on like a tape player in there, so I went up to them and offered to record some free demos for them,” Yip recalls. “I was like, ‘I have this basement set up, just fucking record some demos there for free,’ and they took me up on it. Once you get the player to the field, that’s when it gets easy.”
Standing outside his house and waiting for the band to show up, Yip felt nervous. “I didn’t want to fuck up,” he laughs. “I wanted to impress them, since they’re one of my favorite bands.” Blacklisted, who Yip describes as some of his close friends and “so naturally down to Earth,” ripped through some demos in the basement, and Yip finally got a chance to start cutting his teeth as a producer.
Yip’s strategy — finding his own bands (mostly local) for basement sessions — worked, but he itched to work in a studio, with the expensive professional equipment he’d read about online. So at 18, he hit up a local studio manager and asked to intern. He offered to mop floors, clean bathrooms, anything that would get him in the studio.
The manager said no. So Yip made a gutsy move to prove himself.
“I spent a lot of my savings, like 500 bucks, to book one day of studio time there to mix some tracks I tracked in my mom’s basement,” Yip recalls. “They loved what they heard, and asked me where I recorded it, and I was like, ‘my mom’s basement, which is like the size of a closet.’ I got that internship.”
A week after his internship started, Yip got the chance to record his first live show at Philadelphia’s Electric Factory. The headlining band? An on-the-brink-of-stardom rock band called The Fray.