One of the fastest rising stars in the realm of House & Bass delivers us a short but sweet mix packed full (literally) of unreleased bass-heavy gems and chats with us about life as Hannah Wants.
I don’t exactly hide my love for Hannah Wants. I’ve repeatedly given her credit for inspiring my New Form Bassline dissertation and mix and I was pushing fan-boy status when I reviewed her forthcoming single on Food Music with Chris Lorenzo. But my feelings aren’t without merit. A veteren DJ of the since-past cheeky Speed Garage & Bassline music scenes, it makes perfect sense that she would be one of the most potent and powerful figures in the ever-expanding Bassline revival (I call it New Form Bassline, she calls it House & Bass, others call it Jackin House, it doesn’t matter).
Alongside her partner-in-crime Lorenzo (aka Chris Lawrence, 1/2 of Dirtybird’s Cause & Affect) she has consistently pumped out high-quality fun house jams with incredible low-end. In my never ending campaign to shed light on this burgeoning sound I tapped Hannah to deliver us an exclusive mix for our HIGHCAST series and let North America get a sneak peek into what is taking the UK by storm right now. Get to know what goes on behind the scenes with our in-depth Q&A below and then jump down to her exclusive mix packed to the rim with unreleased beauties.
The electronic dance music industry is notorious for it’s disproportionate amount of female DJs and producers. As one of the few successful women in the field you are undoubtedly an inspiration for many aspiring women producer and DJs. What is your advice to them on how to get started and get the ball rolling?
My advice is make sure you’re doing what you do for the right reasons and then simply don’t give up. I’ve been DJ’ing for ten years and for eight of those years, no one had a clue who I was. DJing has just always been my love and passion. Opportunities have ultimately landed my way over the years which I’ve taken and things have just kind of spiraled since 2010, I’d say.
With regards to getting started on a DJ front, my advice would be to get a Pioneer set up. You don’t have to go and spend thousands on the newest & “best” models, you can get the “lower” models (even good quality second hand). Pioneer is just the industry standard & the best I find. Then… teach yourself. If you’ve got “it”, you’ll learn and you’ll create your own style along the way. Don’t get me wrong, watching others can help but I think if you can learn the basics yourself, it’s beneficial.
You went to university for Sports Studies. What chain of events steered you into the direction of producing music and DJing for a living? Does your university education play into your music career at all?
My Uni life played no part in my music career. I’ve always had two passions in life; music and sports. I started playing football when I was 6 years old until approximately 3 years ago. I guess you could say I played at a high level – I represented Aston Villa LFC and at the international level for England, but I gave football up when I became a full time DJ. Getting in from a club at 6am to get up at 8am for a day of travelling and playing (or attempting to play) football just didn’t work very well! It wasn’t really a hard decision to make though – I’d had an amazing time playing football but music was beginning to earn me a living and I was climbing that industry ladder.
About the Uni thing… Before I begun DJing full time I was a sports coach and so I opted to do a degree in Sports Studies to open my options with teaching. I continued to DJ/produce whilst at university and things conveniently took off in the music sense in my final year of Uni, i guess.
Many artists aren’t fond of labeling their music by genre, afraid it will detract from the individuality of their music, but there seems to be a revival of wobble bass lines in House going down in the UK and you seem to be at the heart of it. From an outsiders perspective it appears to be somewhat of a merger of UK’s Hardcore Continuum with Tech House. How do you define your sound itself and how do you define it within the larger scene? Is this a legitimate cultural movement or just fun club tunes?
I get asked this question a lot and it can get quite complex in discussion. I just like to view myself as a “house music DJ.” I definitely do love bass though and my sets and tracks obviously portray that, but I wouldn’t like to be categorised into one specific genre. Although the “scene” I play on in the UK I guess is called ‘House & Bass’.
A lot of the tracks now that are listed in different genres such as tech, deep, bass, future garage etc I’d say were cross-genre – they have a lot of similar elements and they just get played at different BPM’s depending on which ‘scene’ / DJ is playing it. I genuinely don’t care which ‘genre’ a tune is from though, if I like it and it goes… I’ll play it.
What is your musical background? What are your feelings on Dubstep? Trap?
I actually come from a Speed Garage / Old Skool Garage / Bassline House background. When I first started DJing (around 2001/2002) I fell in love with those genres and thats the vinyl I started collecting and mixing.
My music taste is extremely varied – although I play only house music, I love to listen to other genres – obviously not allllllll of it but that’s the same as house (there’s stuff you like and stuff you don’t) but I love (some) dubstep, trap, chillstep, downtempo etc etc… I just love music, full stop!
I’m always fascinated by how producers go about collaborations in electronic music and a significant number of your tunes are collaborations with Chris Lorenzo. How do you two go about making a song together? Are there specific roles you each satisfy or is it more of a volley?
When we work together, I generally have the vision of what I want for the track and where I want it to go & Lorenzo is the technical master. Chris (Lorenzo) is one of the most talented, genuine guys I’ve ever met and will go far – I’ve known him since the Bassline House / 4×4 days (2002-2006 era). We’re good friends and have built up a great friendship and working rapport over the years.
What about life outside music? What do you do when you’re not working out, in the studio or at a gig?
That is actually pretty much my life. Week day: gym and work. Weekend: gigging at night and work/rest in the day, preparing for the next night. On the odd occasion I get a night off work, I love to stay in! Crazy, I know, but it’s such a novelty when it happens and I generally need the rest. I don’t get time to do much else, you know?… A “normal” social life for me is scarce but I wouldn’t have it any other way to be honest. I absolutely love my job and it allows me to ‘play’ whilst working at times too.
After your Food Music release, what’s next on the table?
Really excited for the Food Music release. Other than that, ermm… I’m in the studio next month (April) working with one of my favourite vocalists, Janai. If you haven’t heard of her you should check her out. She’s done some beautiful house tracks with Dusky and a couple of bass tracks with Gorgon City but yeah…. such an unreal talent. We’re working on an original vocal written and recorded by the lady herself which also has a special meaning to me too so I can’t wait for that one! Keep your eyes and ears peeled.
- IYES – Lighthouse (Hannah Wants & Lorenzo Remix) Unreleased
- SecondCity – The Story Unreleased
- Breach – Jack forthcoming Dirtybird
- Pete Graham, Marc Spence & Lorenzo – Who Dat Unreleased
- Hannah Wants – Butterflies (ft. Jamie George) forthcoming Rinse
- Hannah Wants & Lorenzo – Dappy forthcoming Food Music
- Hannah Wants & Lorenzo – Dappy (Kill Frenzy Remix) forthcoming Food Music
- The Weeknd – Wicked Games (Hannah Wants & Lorenzo Remix) Unreleased
- Redlight / Beats International – Basscone / Dub Be Good (Mash Up) Unreleased