elektro exclusive interview with Hook n Sling
You're well-known for your skill in genre blending. Popular demand aside, what genre do you have the most fun working with? House, progressive, trance, breaks?
I like picking up on the emotion in music...so i'd have to say, progressive, but I like pairing that emotion with something energetic...so maybe electro...I dunno...im somewhere in between those two right now.
There seems to be a big demand for thick high-energy electro and progressive right now in the States - thick basslines, dramatic buildups, fist-pumping beats. Is it the same back home in Sydney?
Yeah I dunno man, thats hard to comment on, because I'm sure we have different ideas on what progressive and thick high energy electro are...but yeah for me, my sets are more energetic than ever. I dont really know if its the same back in Sydney, it really all depends on the venue.
As an artist you've seen genres like breaks, trance, D'n'B, etc. fade in and out of popularity. What do you think most of the world wants to hear now and how long do you think it'll last?
I have been Djing for about 10years now...and producing a few years less than that. To be completely honest, I think we're all still writing the same kind of music now than we ever were. Its all about context. Genres come and go but the good music is timeless. You could write Faithless- Insomnia today and it would still be a top 40 record. The only difference is that it would be a much shorter arrangement, have different production and probably sound about 20% louder.
You come from a very musical background. Can you share with us some of your first experiences making music?
Well I taught myself guitar when I was about 18...I never took music lessons...all the music I write/produce now is by drawing midi notes...nothing I ever do is played in. My parents always played music in the house and my mum tells me I was always asking questions about how things worked. I dont know what that means but I suppose I had a technical interest in things alongside creative interests. which works out well writing/producing EDM.
We are constantly seeing new sub genres of house emerge - it seems there's no limit to how creative producers can get.
Yeah I suppose technology has a lot to do with that..and how quick you can get production tips and information.
What's the most interesting thing you've heard out there so far?
I think Pendulum / Noisia stuff from a couple years back really blew my mind...just sound design wise and the amount of bottom end those guys can get into a track was really inspiring.
When you go on tour, you seem to do it full-force and nonstop. What's the life of a traveling DJ like?
Ha, to be honest, its early starts, a lot of time in airports and hotel rooms and not much time at the gigs, so I suppose I can focus my energy. The foods good though, I get to eat at some of the best restaurants around the world...its almost as fun as playing to a heaving club.
Who are your favorite artists, both mainstream and underground?
Mainstream/non EDM I love Robyn, Rihanna, M83, Miike Snow. Underground a bit of tech house...producers like Jay Lumen, Chus and Matteo DiMarr.
How often do you get mistaken for two DJs? (Hook AND Sling)
Quite a bit to be honest...'Hook N Sling...they're my favourite!' I always chuckle when I hear that.
We hear a lot now about musical talent taking back-seat to performance skills - all this talk about 'Push Play DJs'. What's one thing in the music industry you think needs reforming?
Yeah the whole Push Play thing becomes a bit of a frustrating topic after you talk about for more than 5 minutes..I roll my eyes when I hear someone like Deadmau5 totally miss the whole point of Djing and...I mean, I was a DJ before a producer, so Djing is a skill I've been working on for a while. I dont think anything can be reformed...its pointless to suggest that anything should be. I would suggest if you love a certain DJ, dont just go see them play at a festival, go see their club side show...get to know the artists you follow, you might find a track here or there that you had no idea they released or collaborated on.
What has been the hardest thing to overcome throughout your journey to success?
Self criticism...gets in the way of a good idea sometimes.
What are three things you really want to accomplish within the year?
Beatport number 1 (came close with REason at no2), Get faster at finishing records. Taste the best steak on the planet.
Any up-coming projects/tours/collabs?
Yeah, the next single for me is Tokyo By Night, coming out on Axtone....its almost done, Axwell and myself are both working on it..i dont really want it to come out until it sounds entirely amazing. No release date has been abnnounced just yet but i'll be doing a tour after the release...we've got some awesome ideas in the works for that.
Who are three up-and-coming artists we should keep an ear out for?
Sick Individuals, Special Features and Torro Torro.
Which track has held the most significance for you?
Probably Reason, it came out just as I moved to LA...was a tough time relocating my life here...setiing up things like a social security and finding somewhere to live....a hectic couple of months.
Can you tell us about a typical day in the studio with you? How do you go about producing a track, from idea conception to mastering?
I take my dog for a walk around 9.30 every morning, then i go through all my emails that have come through overnight. Sometimes that takes an hour or 2, then I get into music by about 11 or 12...I like working on a few things at once...so I do a bit of work on one track then move on to the next. Its hard to describe how I work, sometimes I've got an idea down within hours, other times I find it really hard to make something work, I could waste a day or 2 on something that sucks. But generally I start with drums, then bassline, then I make the most heaviest part of the track when everything is in...I once heard Eric Prydz say that if you can listen to a 4 bar loop for a whole day then you're onto something special. I think thats cool way of looking at it and keeping your standards high.