Following the release of a string of original tracks, and a connected short-story for one single, we were blessed with an in-depth interview with artist, producer and writer HANIZ, to find out more about his journey so far and his hopes for the future. Here’s how it went.
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Hey – thanks for the interview! How are things where you are right now?
Things right now were I am at are going smooth, with the pandemic running between us, us artists are still finding a way to work together. Discussing music and working on it remotely isn’t hard, with the right equipment nowadays anyone can work on anything from the comfort of their room.
For those who don’t know, how would you describe your sound and style as an artist?
Experimental? Maybe its not experimental, but I would describe it as what my head and heart wants. After all, whatever you mix from what you wrote and recorded is what it actually actually sounds like, adding synth and keys to guitars and drums is a sweet taste to the song, so heavy music and synth.
How long have you been making music, and how long has HANIZ been your main focus?
I started making music in 2015, and in late 2018 I released my first single, which wasn’t actually a proper single, but it was live on all music streaming platforms. City of Retro was a full-on hard synth 80’s style.
So from that release, I have been focusing on HANIZ as a band, it was named after my self (Hani).
You’re a professional guitarist and producer – is the sound of the current Spotify playlist self-made in its entirety, or do you welcome onboard other musicians / collaborators?
Collaboration is the key, I always hit up some artist for every single I work on, see I mainly do guitars and production of the song, while drummers jump in, bass players join, vocalists and so on.
Another Space and Time is superb – hard-hitting, heavy yet melodic, and stylishly unpredictable. How did this song come to be, and what’s the live reaction been like?
The main riff that comes in the beginning of the song is what made the whole song, at first it was a bass line that I wrote and then I decided to add drums to it, using some virtual software I added simple drums that gave the same beat as the bass lines and I was so satisfied with it. If you hear the same beat plays in the whole song as drums and bass I mean and everything else was just built on top of it.
What’s the live music scene generally like in Dubai (pre-Covid of course)?
Dubai is a fast growing music scene, many many talented musicians from all ages and all genres, rap, rock, pop, jazz everything, and in Dubai itself the music opportunities are exposed to us every day, you get hard rock weekends, rap festivals, big bands coming for a concerts and you get a chance to open for them.
Who or what do you think has inspired your style of songwriting the most?
Well, Kirk Hammett from Metallica was always the reason why I started learning music, but looking at my guitar itself makes me want to play it, I just cant hold the feeling, in the other hand the way the music is evolving mixing different genres together like Linkin Park did, rap and rock. Or like many bands today synth and rock/metal, yeah listening to these type of music makes me motivated and you hear that in my music.
You also write short-stories, a fascinating and refreshing addition to the music. What would you say are the main differences between crafting a story from scratch, in your head, and crafting a new song?
Main difference is that if you were hanging out with some friends and you get this story idea, you can directly write it down on the phone’s notes, while if it was a riff idea or such it’s hard to keep it there unless you get back home and record it, and if you have the topic or the story in front of you, you can directly write something suitable for it
Which came first out of the story and song of the same name, and what inspired you to tell this story in the first place?
I watch a lot of movies and TV shows, and I do play a lot of games as well, the stories these movies, shows, and games tell are fascinating, they inspire me to write some random stuff my head tells me.
So I basically write a short story that starts and quickly lean towards the end, mostly fictional stories, from there I pull the lyrics out from the story, and then look for a demo from my demo files that suits the lyrics mostly. If it was a love story then there is something for that, if it was an alien story, yes – there is something for that.
Along The Way (a personal favorite) offers an entirely different mood, as does the jazz-kissed Pause. How do you decide which direction to take a new release in?
Yeah this question is the bomb, I get asked a lot about this and especially why every release is different. See, as I mentioned earlier, I can be experimental sometimes. City of Retro and Pause were personal tracks I made for other reasons, for example Pause was made for myself so I can listen to it while working on some stuff like designing or documentation, you know, something to spend time.
While Along The Way was a completely different mood because, soon, I will be releasing an EP that will have different styles and different vocalists on every track, so I was like I’ll give the people a bit of a taste of what I can do and then finish and reveal that EP.
Along The Way was a loop of piano, in a ZOOM call with a friend of mine (Kiboso), he mentioned that he can sing on something I wrote earlier, which was that piano loop, then magic happened, we worked on it on a daily basis and finished it.
What’s your go-to DAW as a producer, how long does it take you to start and finish a new track, and do you have a favorite plugin?
Pro-Tools and Fl-Studio, they are my all time favorite DAWs, they are perfect for Live recording instruments and simple to work on. It takes me around a month to 2 to finish a song, that if the song was already written and ready to be recorded and edited.
But from scratch might take up to 6 months, including finding someone to collaborate with.
What’s your biggest ambition or dream right now as a musician?
To get the maximum audience to hear my work, hoping to put a touch to the music industry around the world, and make a change.
Is there anything else we should know?
I’ll be revealing my last single that I will be posting before the reveal of the EP art and date, and that’s it.
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