In conversation with Helena Hauff
Interview by Shannon Lawlor
Helena Hauff is German producer and DJ currently based in Hamburg. Strictly focused on using analogue gear, Hauff’s sound can be best described as dark, gritty and atmospheric, blending together elements of industrial, EBM and techno to cleverly construct her own unique, distinctive sound.
Previously working as a resident DJ at Hamburg’s infamous Golden Pudel, Hauff then went on to further her career, releasing a number of EPs including work on James Dean Brown’s Hypnobeat label, and recording her debut full-length LP titled Discreet Desires in 2015, released via labels Werkdiscs and Ninja Tune, respectively.
On October 27th, Helena Hauff will release a brand new EP titled Have You Been There, Have You Seen It via Ninja Tune.
We spoke with Helena Hauff on collaborations and the influence darkness can hold:
With such a wide variety of influence, in such saturated territory. Could you explain how you first started producing music as a solo endeavor, and what compelled you to in the first place?
I just had the feeling that I wanted to make music, some people just seem to have that and I’m one of them. I was at university in Braunschweig at the time and they had a recording studio there with a computer with Cubase on it and a midi keyboard. I didn’t really get on with that but later on, through friends I got introduced to hardware/synthesizers and found that that really worked for me.
How would you describe Hamburg’s music scene, and if you could change anything about it, what would it be?
Apart from the Golden Pudel I’m not really involved in the Hamburg music scene, there are however loads of great pubs here. So if you’re looking for a night out it’s a great city.
Your latest EP ‘Have You Been There, Have You Seen It’ follows a similar path in direction. Could you tell us about the recording process and how it may have differed from previous sessions?
Well, I still use the same machines and the recording process hasn’t changed at all. That’s why it sounds the same I guess, haha
You have always been inspired by darker, ominous threads of sound – could you explain what might have influenced this wave of creativity?
Happy music makes me angry, always has done. I don’t feel anything really listening to Funk or Soul for example. It hasn’t got anything to do with the way I am, I don’t feel depressed or anything, in fact I’m a really happy person generally.
Three favourite albums of 2017?
Radioactive Man – Luxury Sky Garden
Steffi – World Of The Waking State
Hypnobeat – Prototech
What are some of your favourite aspects of performing live, and what are some of your least favourite aspects?
I don’t perform live as a solo artist but I collaborate with Hypnobeat, what I like about our live performances is the spontaneity, what I don’t like is all the cable action.
Being quite an influential figure in the underground electronic scene, what challenges have you come to face in such a predominantly male dominated culture?
Apart from the same problems as everybody else trying to make it as a DJ I don’t really know. I’ve always just concentrated on giving it my absolute all and doing the best job I can. I never payed much attention to what was going on around me. I don’t care about those kind of sexist people, they can just fuck off.
If you could collaborate, or perform alongside any artist – who would it be, and why?
Besides having collaborated with f#x, Hypnobeat and children of leir, Stuttgart’s Konstantin Sibold and me were thinking about doing some stuff together but haven’t found the time so far.
Is there anything you feel is detrimental to Helena Hauff’s distinctive musical style? Whether it be equipment, hardware, software etc – anything.
Sometimes the kit packs up but then that happens whatever gear you use. Regarding DJing, I only play vinyl and unfortunately I have had instances when they just don’t know how to set up the decks properly. Other than that fine.
When you aren’t performing or recording, what do you do with your spare time?
I meet up with friends!
For more information follow Helena Hauff on Facebook