Hannah Wants Interview

Interview with Hannah Wants

THE name to watch on the dance scene, we catch up with DJ, Hannah Wants, to find out about her rise to fame and her exciting touring schedule. The native Brummie has just completed a tour in Australia and New Zealand and is getting in the mood for a hectic summer of festivals, but her next big gig will be Rainbow’s 10th Anniversary bash back in Birmingham. So let’s find out more about what Hannah Wants has to bring to the turntables…

Hello Hannah, how are you? Where in the world are you right now?
Hi, I’m really good thank you! I’m currently at home whilst I gig in the UK for a few weeks, before I fly to Austria for Snowbombing at the start of April.

Cool! How’s 2014 been so far for you?
Nothing short of incredible you know. I thought last year was amazingly hectic, but this year is completely just flying by, I rarely know what day of the week it is! 2014 started off crazily with three gigs in Birmingham, Sheffield and Nottingham, I then toured Australia and New Zealand in January/February which was amazing to experience, and since then I’ve played in Amsterdam and been gigging around the UK.

Sounds like a whirlwind! What’s in the pipeline for your summer? Any exciting new locations in the diary?
So much to mention! The summer is looking insane… I’m playing at Global Gathering, Snowbombing, Hideout, Outlook, Shambhala, Parklife, Lovebox, NASS and there’s lots more too, but I can’t mention those just yet. In terms of locations I’m looking forward to getting out to Croatia – I’ve never been before, it looks beautiful! I’ll be back out in Ibiza a lot too, and on top of that I’ll be playing in and visiting Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, USA, Canada and Spain. I’m gonna be living out of my suitcase that’s for sure, but I’m 100% living my dream!

How much do you think you owe to the Ibiza scene for your success?
I’m not sure – I’d just say Ibiza kick started the DJ career journey. I spent the summer of 2010 out in Ibiza and got to play some amazing parties, met some great people and I earned my first UK residency whilst out there too. It’s been a crazy dream ride ever since then!

You taught yourself to DJ, did you spend hours on end alone in your room, or did you go out lots to observe others?
I locked myself away in my bedroom and taught myself. I remember first trying to mix on belt drive vinyl decks and I had no idea I had to alter track tempos to beat match – it’s safe to say the mixes didn’t sound too great! I feel teaching yourself and learning by trial and error really helps, you inherit your own unique DJ style which is needed to stand out of the crowd as DJ.

Who or what was it that made you want to become a DJ?
I don’t know if there’s a specific reason, I just know that becoming a DJ was all I wanted to do. I had a mad love for music and I wanted to be the person standing by the decks playing the music. Being able to make people dance and enjoy their hard earned night out is the best feeling in the world.

Being originally from Birmingham, do you think the city has had any influence on you musically?
Definitely – I started out DJ-ing Speed Garage, Bassline House and UK Garage back in 2002, and these genres were massive in Birmingham at the time.

You’ll be looking forward to the Rainbow gig then for the 10th birthday?
I always majorly look forward to playing in my hometown at the Rainbow – I used to be there pretty much every weekend when I DJ’d locally and I learnt a lot from playing there over the years. I get to see some of my favourite people that I miss too so it can often end with a big party.

Who have you worked with recently? Any exciting names our readers should be checking out?
I’ve been working with my brother from another mother, Chris Lorenzo. We fit studio time in whenever we can around both of our busy DJ/work schedules. There’s a couple of exciting remixes coming up, and we’ve just finished a track called ‘Rhymes’ which has been sounding real good in clubs and I’m really excited about.

Who would you love to work with?
I’d have to say My Nu Leng – really feeling their sound at the moment.

Tell us about the recording process for last year’s single, ‘Dappy’? How did the single come about? And how did the attention it garnered affect you?
Chris and I initially went into the studio to remix an official Dappy (from N Dubz) track. We really weren’t feeling it, so we just thought we’d start a random project. We came out with a 128bpm bassline stomper and aptly named the track ‘Dappy’. ‘Dappy’ was definitely a pivotal track as it started getting support from some of the big names in the scene, got plays on BBC Radio 1 and it was released via Shadow Child and Kry Wolf’s label, Food Music. I guess the hype off the back of Dappy projected our names to people that might not necessarily have heard of us before.

You release a 24+ track mixtape bi-monthly for your fans for free download, do you think it’s important to give back to fans in this way?
Definitely. I appreciate the fact that people spend their money and time coming to watch me DJ. I remember getting a message off a guy who travelled eight hours to come and watch one of my sets in Australia, that’s just so surreal to me! My mixtapes are my own little way to say thank you and it’s great to know they provide the music to so many parties and people.

How do you choose the tracks to put in your mixtapes?
With great difficulty – I spend as many hours as possible searching for music and my mixtapes then literally take days to complete. They’re one of my favourite things to do as it allows me to put my whole sound into an intricately put-together mix. I’ve been putting my mixtapes on my soundcloud for years and it’s been amazing to watch them go from getting 200 plays to over 250,000 – knowing people are enjoying, talking about and sharing what I’m doing is why I do what I do.

What’s it like being such a successful female DJ in a genre of music, which still seems so male dominated?
I genuinely don’t even take note of the fact that I’m a minority in terms of gender. To me a DJ should be rated on talent irrespective of their sex.

How did it feel signing with the Echo Location Talent Agency and being on the same roster as Katy B, Skream and Tinie Tempah?
I’d been to a few meetings with different interested agencies, but I’d never gotten that gut feeling that I always like to go by, but when I went and met the guys at Echo I immediately knew it was right. They’re such a great agency and I’m extremely proud to be represented by them.

So far you have played alongside the likes of Annie Mac, SBTRKT and Magnetic Man, how has that been for you?
It’s always nice to catch other DJ’s sets whenever I get the chance but I’m often in and out of venues so unfortunately don’t get to check much out anymore.

You’re playing quite a few dates in March and April, where’s your favourite place to DJ?
The Rainbow will always be a favourite for me because it’s where I learnt my trade and I class it as my ‘home’ venue. Other than that my favourite kind of place to DJ are definitely the intimate, dark and raw warehouse type vibes!

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
That’s a hard question… Amnesia in Ibiza has got to be up there for me. Playing there had been a career dream/goal of mine for years and to achieve it last year was one of the best moments of my life so far!

What new music’s caught your ear recently?
Skream finally sent me ‘Bang That’ a couple of weeks ago and it’s now featuring in pretty much every set at the moment – it’s so simple and SO good!

Listen to Hannah Wants & Chris Lorenzo ‘Kneadin’

By Hana Barten