EXCLUSIVE: 5 MINS WITH ELECTRONIC PIONEER NICK HOOK
New York-based producer and artist Nick Hook has collaborated with some massive names including A$AP Ferg, Hudson Mohawke and Novelist. Here he tells us about his upcoming album, how he approaches collaborations and the beauty of performing in an unfamiliar place.
Relationships in out on November 1st. What can we expect from this new release?
I would say to expect a journey that is unexpected. It’s a 16-song journey that was all built in my studio in person. To me it’s a story about the highs and lows I went through in 2015, told through all the people on the album.
To anyone who is unfamiliar with your sound how would you describe it?
You just have to listen. My style is all styles and no styles at once. I’ve spent my entire life studying music, and I’m finally being able to break them down and rebuild them into my own sound.
What influences did you draw on for Relationships?
Primarily life. This album is a story of what I went through in 2015. Losing friends, losing relationships, gaining relationships, gaining friends, love, strength, getting back up, falling again, getting back up, falling again. Things we all go through.
Musically — shit. Brian Eno. David Bryne, Mike Patton, Dr Dre. Slash, Steve Reich, R Kelly, Young Thug, Kraftwerk, Dilla, all the people I worked with. The list could go on forever.
Gear wise Moog, Make Noise, Teenage Engineering, Ableton, Novation.
Thematically, what can we expect from the album?
It’s a 53 minute journey that weaves its way through the calendar year of 2015.
What key pieces of mixing gear did you use to make this album?
Moog Model D
Dave Smith Prophet 6
Make Noise shared system
Neotek elan 2 mixing console
Moog 500 series delays
Teenage Engineering op1
Roland 808 909 606 707 727
How has working with different artists and record labels over the years influenced your sound? Have you ever felt the pressure to sound a certain way as a result of those collaborations?
It’s the greatest influence of my life. Learning to walk into a room with a stranger and figure out how to release our egos, to come as one is one of the most amazing things there is. It’s like going on a date. They don’t always all work and being aware of that is the first key. It’s okay if it doesn’t work. I’ve never personally felt pressure. My mantra is for both of us to come in with nothing at all, and leave with something that we both know is OURS. Sometimes we do 50/50 sometimes as a producer I’m only needed to put in 1%, but sometimes that 1% is the hardest. My only goal in every collaboration is to make something new for both of us.
How has your style evolved since your very early days?
Depends how early we are talking. I grew up playing guitar in bands. Besides creating a better environment to make and create things. I’ve really worked hard on my songwriting and that less is more.
You’ve played in some interesting places around the world. Is there a palpable change in atmosphere that you have to adapt to when playing in places?
One of the most beautiful things that my travels have taught me is that in 2016 there are no boundaries anymore. The first time I went to Russia we stayed up till 8am talking about the Flatbush Zombies, Young Thug and everyone in our extended family. The kids knew just as much club music as I did. It really was such a humbling moment to realise that what you are doing on a day to day in a small room is resonating around the world. You can never really truly realise that till you get to a place where you cant even read the street signs but you can talk for hours on end about music and how it’s impacted your life.
Who are you listening to currently?
Young Thug – All
Jay Dilla- Welcome to Detroit
Novelist- New Demos
Junglepussy- New Demos
Nadus- New Demos
Lots of Ethiopian funk
Run the Jewels 3
What are the five albums of all time that have influenced you?
Dr Dre- The Chronic
Guns n Roses- Appetite For Destruction
Bone Thugs- Creepin on ah Come Up
Deftones- Around the Fur
Lastly what lies ahead for the next year?
Right now I’ve never been living more day by day, but I would like to make 100 songs next year and tour like a motherfucker with this live show I am out here doing now.
Nick Hook feat. Novelist – “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”
RELATIONSHIPS OUT 11/1/2016
Nick Hook will be playing at The Pickle Factory, London on November 16th, and his new release Relationships comes out on November 1st.
By Hanna Duggal