Its somewhat hard to believe, considering he’s been around forever but Hackman is still only 24 years old. Capturing the zeitgeist at the end of the millenium’s first decade, he was part of what became known as ‘Future Garage’ – with some stellar releases landing on PTN and Well Rounded. ‘Future Garage’ – might’ve proved to be rather shortlived, but there were qualities in Hackman’s music that have seen him transcend that and then some. A knack for a killer vocal melody has made his original releases and remixes – for the likes of Lana Del Rey, The 1975 and others, stand head and shoulders above the competion, earning him a loyal following in the process. Set to drop his debut LP next year, he’s only getting better with age.
A former house mate of both Appleblim and Komonazmuk’s, Arkist had the best possible teachers to guide him through his entry into the world of music production. Like his pals, his tunes straddle the fertile intersection of House, Dubstep and Techno – with the occasional lashing of Hip-Hop and Electro thrown in for good measure. Technically sound yet also often playful, Arkist has woven himself firmly into Bristol’s rich musical tapestry.
Ahead of both artists’ appearance on Los Angeles based label Halocyan’s forthcoming ‘Universal Quantifier compilation alongside the likes of Paul Woolford, xxxy, Legowelt, Artifcat and others, we got the two of them to put the production software to one side and have a crack at interviewing each other. Read on to find out their thoughts on Scottish Independence, dodgy promoters and inauspicious beginnings.
Hackman interviews Arkist
Hackman: I heard you were doing some teaching now. How are you finding it and how did you get into it?
Arkist: I am teaching! It’s so varied, there’ s never a dull day. Some of my students are so talented and dedicated, it is an absolute pleasure to teach them. Others, not so much… I got into teaching through my housemate Gatekeeper. He had been working at the college for some time and when some sessions needed covering he suggested that I do some guest lecturing. Over time I became increasingly more involved with the college until I ended up with a permanent position.
H: Which producers are exciting you the most right now?
A: Vessel, Aphex Twin, Kassem Mosse, Max Graef to name a few. ESPECIALLY VESSEL!!! What a nutbar!
H: What do you think about the recent Scottish referendum?
A: Glad they stayed. I like Scotland. I didn’t want them to leave us with a majority Tory government for the next election. I think there are a lot of hardworking and caring people throughout Britain that feel the same way about Westminster as the Pro-Independence Scots and maybe now the liberals across the UK can unite to make a fairer society. Maybe?
H: What do you think should happen to politicians who don’t have our best interests at heart?
A: I think politicians should definitely face consequences for their actions. What those consequences should be is dependent on what they have done. One thing that does really bother me is that a politician can legislate for a whole sector without having any real experience of what it is like to work in that sector. As a teacher I can tell you that some of Michael Gove’s policies have made a stressful and demanding profession even more so. I think that if you are to be Health Secretary, you should be a doctor. If you are Education Secretary you should be a teacher/headmaster and so on….
H: How did your involvement with Halocyan come about?
A: One day I received an email from the Halocyan guys. They had heard my first Apple Pips 12″ and wanted three tracks for an EP on the label. I thought the labels branding and roster was solid, so I was eager to write some tunes and get involved.
H: I love reading about gig horror stories. Have to ask you too, what’s been your worst experience?
A: It was awful!! It was a gig in London a couple of years ago. The promoter had already been super sketchy, not paid the deposit but he assured us it was all fine and still going ahead. Once I arrived to London, I went straight to the Hotel in Pimlico which turned out to be one of the most scary places I’d ever seen- you could rent the rooms out by the hour and there were so many sketchers! I decided to boy off the hotel and called some friends in North London who decided to come to the gig and let me stay with them. These guys were old mates who had never been to one of my gigs before so I wanted to show them a good night and hook them up with drinks etc. When we got to the club there was literally no one there, the promoter gave me one drinks ticket and told me he was delaying my set for a few hours.
I waited with my mates in the driest club ever feeling like a bit of a cock for making them come all the way to club. The promoter eventually came up to me 30 minutes before I was supposed to play and said the gig wasn’t happening anymore and he didn’t have any money to pay me or reimburse my travel expenses. In the end we left, went back to my friends house and went to bed. The next day I went back to Bristol substantially poorer and had to quickly find an alternative way to pay my rent – which was shit…
H: Musically, what does the future hold for Arkist?
A: I’m currently working on two albums. The first is going to be my debut Arkist album and the second is a Hip-Hop album under the alias Hektor Hell – Ive even started rapping believe it or not. Both still need a lot of work ,so I don’t know when they will be ready but I’ll get there in the end!
Arkist Interviews Hackman
Arkist: What kind of stuff are you making right now?
Hackman: Just House really, on the deeper end of the scale. Listening to lots of 80 and 90s Soul, Funk, RnB – which is coming through on my more recent tracks.
A: Are there any bits of kit you have that you are particularly precious about?
H: Definitely my Event Opal monitors! They sound great, and I don’t know how I was managing before I got them.
A: Where do you think house music will be in 5 years?
H: Really couldn’t say, although I hope Dum dum House goes away soon. Dum dum House being House with the square esque basslines, always and only playing dotted syncopated rhythms, and not much else at all.
A: How did you get involved with Halocyan?
H: They got in touch probably about 3 years ago wanting to sign a track. I kind of forgot about it until very recently. It’s a track from a period when I was writing different styles of music to those i’m writing now, so it might seem a bit out of line with my recent output!
A: Where is the best place you have ever played, why?
H: Difficult to say, I always find the crowd most up for it in Berlin and Glasgow, so it would be between those two. Berlin at Stattbad, which is this converted swimming pool where you’re mixing right at the deep end, and Glasgow at the Subclub which is just as good as everyone says!
A: How do you feel about the Smiths?
H: Do not want.
A: What did your first ever productions sound like?
H: Awful, awful drum and bass.
A: What’s the worst gigging experience you’ve ever had?
H: The would probably be a fairly recent show I did in Brixton. It was some outdoor day time event, and I turned up a bit before I was supposed to play to be told that I was playing an hour or so later. No biggie, so I went back to the booth when they told me, and the guy playing said he’d only just started to play. I just sighed and said, ok I’ll come back in half an hour to which he agreed. Came back half an hour later, and just as I was preparing to take over, this sound engineer guy comes over to me and grabs me and says that they were opening up the inside bit now so I should go play inside. Took my stuff and followed him in, and started playing the inside room. It was a really sunny day and there was nobody inside, but by this point I was just thinking play the set and go!
So I played inside for about ten minutes, and the promoter appears and asks why I’m playing inside, and tells me I should be playing outside. I offered some weak argument that I’m fine playing inside to nobody as I really should have been finished by now, but in the end followed him outside to where I was originally playing. I played literally two tracks out there before yet another person appeared, saying it was now time for his set. I just laughed, and said whatever mate, got my fee and left.
A: Whats next for Hackman?
H: 4 EPs coming up, 2 finished and 2 in progress. My album is coming too, in 2015. There have been a few dates offered but I can say with 100% certainty that it will actually be out in 2015.
‘Universal Quantifier’ is out on Halocyan October 14th. Pre-order it here.