Interviews

The Noise Gate Interview – Henry Hacking

UK DJ / Producer Henry Hacking is heading into a big year. 2018 saw massive releases like ‘Lifting’ on EDX’s Pinkstar label and a heavily supported remix of The Stafford Brothers ‘Questions’. 2019 kicked off the same way with a huge house number, ‘Get Down’ on Tiger Records. Now he’s about to drop his new version of the classic ‘Nasty Girl’ with the legendary Inaya Day on vocals. Already established as a top DJ across Asia, he’s also played headline slots at some of the world’s most famous clubs like London’s Ministry of Sound and Ibiza’s Eden. We thought it was time The Noise Gate caught up with all things Henry Hacking…

Let’s start with your new release Nasty Girl on Vicious Recordings. How’s that been working on the dancefloor?

Huge! It’s been a long time coming with plenty of road testing, but the final version really does bring the feel good vibe to the dance-floor. It’s also such an iconic vocal which instantly helps grab the clubbers attention!

What was it like working with Inaya Day? You must’ve been a fan of the track first time round!

I’ve always been a fan! One of my first ever mash ups back in my ‘BeatThiefs’ days used one of her accapellas, so it’s very surreal to be releasing an official track together!

Where did you grow up? Was there an active house scene there or did you travel around to get your fix?

My hometown is Cambridge and it’s fair to say it doesn’t exactly set the world on fire when it comes to proper club nights. The only real exception was playing for ‘Big’ and ‘Jac Partie’ events – quality house, great DJs and loyal fans – perfect combo!

As a duo under the guise of The BeatThiefs you produced some banging bootlegs. Is there anything you miss about having a production / DJ partner around?

Loads! It was so good having a partner in crime to share experiences – touring was always huge fun – although 99% of the time Tony would forget his passport or somehow get lost on the way to the airport.

We also had very important roles, he was the producer / I was the networker- so a really good balance. It’s so much more time consuming to try and manage everything solo – although I’ve now got a great team behind me.

Before you became huge in Asia, where did you play your first DJ gigs? Did gigs come along easy or did you have to hustle?

My first residency was in Cambridge, it was a great platform to learn my craft, but playing House music was very restricted being a commercial venue. It meant I had to try and get involved in the few local House events. Thankfully I did, as it was at one of these events I met Tony, which then worked perfectly as it meant two of us hustling for gigs!

I picked up a weekly residency in a London club, which helped raise our profile with the kudos of playing in the capital, and things just started to snowball from there.

Ever met any of your house heroes? Did they live up to expectation or disappoint? They say you should never meet your heroes!

I’ll name a nice one! Chocolate Puma remixed one of my tracks as The BeatThiefs. Ahead of the release, we met them at the Amsterdam Dance Event in which they looked after us during their set for Defected. Such nice, genuine guys. We then hung out with them a few years later at an event here in the UK and again, had such a great night with them.

You’re no stranger to the podcast scene. Didn’t you use to produce inflight mixes for reputable airlines?

Indeed – I’ve released a number of my own podcasts on the in-flight systems for Emirates, British Airways, Qatar, Lux Air and Oman Air. It’s a great captive audience!

Of your productions to date, what are your top 3?

1. Henry Hacking & Inaya Day – Nasty Girl
Even though this track is only just about to be released, it really is something I’m super proud of. It’s been a long time coming, the idea actually started at the end of 2017!

It’s been amazing to collaborate with Inaya and yet it doesn’t end there – David Penn happily took the track on to remix and has created another quality DP remix!

So, now the track features one of my favourite vocalists, and one of my favourite producers remixing it! The buzz has been building, so fingers crossed it delivers the dance floor and radio success we’ve been working to create!

2. Henry Hacking – Lifting
2018 was the first real year pushing my career as a ‘solo’ artist. Lifting was signed to EDX’s label ‘Sirup’ and subsequently released in March. The impact was amazing and was heavily supported by mega stars such as David Guetta and Nervo. Guetta actually featured it on his Spotify playlist for weeks and weeks.

The track was another great stepping stone for me and off the back of it, I got to remix Australian stars ‘The Stafford Brothers’ superb release ‘Questions’, and also UK artist ‘Harrison’ and his single ‘Blinding My Vision’.

3. The BeatThiefs – Umbungo
This was without doubt the biggest release during my days as ‘The BeatThiefs’. It came complete with an amazing Chocolate Puma remix. The track gained huge global support including Fedde Le Grand hammering it at Sensation White in Russia, live on MTV. It was also then featured on a Ministry of Sound compilation and Chocolate Puma added it to their ‘Defected presents House Masters’ album.

And your top three most poignant gigs to date?
1. Closing party – Main Stage @ Kazantip Festival, Black Sea.
If you’ve never heard of this festival – get online and check it out! A month long party on the beaches of Crimea, featuring a ridiculous line up of DJs.

I had the amazing privilege of playing the closing party main stage just before Carl Cox. It really was an out of this world experience and a complete honour to warm up for one of the greatest DJs of all time.

2. Sky Garden, Bali
A DJ mag top 100 club for the past 2 years, I’ve been lucky enough to play at this venue for many years now. It’s an unbelievable club, featuring DJ mag top 100 DJs every week. Their main room is called ‘The Dome’ and features the most insane visuals, pyrotechnics and craziest of clubbers! It’s always one of the highlights of my Asia tours, long may it continue!

3. The Gallery at Ministry of Sound
Getting the opportunity to play the iconic ‘Box’ at Ministry of Sound, London is every DJs dream – so the first time I played it was a proper tick in the achievements box!

You’re back at Ministry Of Sound on 22nd February for The Gallery. What can we expect from your set there?

The Gallery nights at Ministry are immense. The Box is always full on big room energy, so expect plenty of powerful, driving house music!

What’s in store for the rest of the year, production and gig wise – are you back at Pukka Up in Ibiza?

Oh yes! Dates to be announced very shortly and I can’t wait for the Ibiza season to start. I’ll also be back to Asia in April and May, plus working on plans for my debut trip to Australia.

Production wise, I’ve a number of other releases finished, with full announcements coming VERY SOON!

Henry Hacking & Inaya Day ‘Nasty Girl’ is out 8th February on Vicious Recordings. Stream HERE on Spotify. Download and/or stream on all major platforms.

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