Cyril Hahn On Finding Inspiration In The Clubs

Written By Sam Murphy on 02/17/2016


Cyril Hahn is perhaps the best example of just how easily internet success can convert into real life. In 2012 he spread over the internet with remixes of Destiny’s Child Say My Name and Mariah Carey’s Touch My Body. That was just three years ago and since then he’s toured the world, released three EPs and remixed more music for artists like Jessie Ware and How To Dress Well.

His latest EP Begin, combined his growing love for club music with a natural instinct for pop accessibility. The single Inferno with Swedish duo Say Lou Lou, perfectly represents that with a stomping beat elevated by euphoric synths and triumphant vocals.

Hahn is returning to Australia in just over a week, playing shows across the country, some of which are with Brooklyn producer Chrome Sparks. In anticipation of the tour, we caught up with the producer to chat learning the art of DJing and whether he’s venturing further into the world of club music.

Did it amaze you when you first started putting music on the internet how far it spread and how quickly it did?
Oh yeah, for sure. It was surreal. I remember that summer when the Say My Name and the Touch My Body remix were blowing up. It was hard for me to wrap my head around it. I was really overwhelmed. People around me started saying I should do music as a career but even at that point I didn’t think it was possible. It took another few months of me realising that I can actually do it and that there’s people out there who want to see you play. I had a lot of friends that were in bands but nobody was making money off music so I really didn’t think it was a certified career.

Was it scary to make the jump from releasing remixes into releasing original material?
Yeah definitely. My first release, there was a lot of anticipation but I think at that time I was sort of, riding that wave. I didn’t really over think things. I think now I’m more self conscious. At the beginning I was careless and everything just sort of worked out. That’s the best way to approach things, just to not overthink it.

You’ve had some great features on your EPs particularly on the last one with Say Lou Lou. How do you hit them up?
Usually I just write to them on Twitter or something and hope that they’re interested or that they already know my music vaguely. It’s usually just me seeking out people.

How do you decide which vocalists you’re keen on? Is it just from listening to new music everyday?
Most of my collaborations have just been stuff that I’ve been listening to personally. There’s only a few that were suggested to me by my label or my management. I find though in the end it works best if you just follow your own interests.

What’s the plan in terms of future releases? Are you going to keep doing EPs or look towards an album?
Umm. Yeah that’s a good question and I’m not entirely sure to be honest. I’m trying to write as much as I can and then look back on my work and see how I want to release it. There might be stuff that I want to give to other people and just produce for them. For my own stuff I’ve been going in a more club friendly direction with less vocals. Throughout my career I’ve always played DJ sets but my music hasn’t really always reflected that. Last years EP was just a result of me playing out as a DJ and then having to write something that is not that at all - a listening record more than a club record.

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Is wanting to make club music a result of touring in the clubs?
Yeah absolutely. I remember when I started touring, people would call me a DJ but at that point I had no DJ background it was just something that I jumped into. I would see myself as a musician and a producer whereas now that’s something that I’m warming up to more. It’s also something I enjoy more.

You started out with a more live setup and then transitioned to a DJ set didn’t you?
It was definitely more of a live setup but there were still a lot of other people’s songs in my set. But now it’s fully converted to CDJs and playing off decks. I think it was just something that I had to warm up to because it was something I’d never done before. I think I had to get out of my comfort zone and the beauty of a DJ set is that it can be very spontaneous. It can also go anywhere you want it to go whereas in a live setup you’re limited to what you’ve prepared. I guess I’ve been getting better at reading the crowd.

That’s interesting because a lot of people who don’t DJ, probably as a reaction to the EDM movement, think that DJs walk on stage and press play but for many you can become a master. Do you think you’re progressively getting better at taking your audiences on a journey?
Yeah for sure. I’m still at my very early stages when it comes to DJing just because I’ve been doing it for such a short amount of time when you put it in perspective compared to other people. There are other DJs that I’m just blown away by their sets but yeah, I’m definitely getting better at reading the crowd and being more spontaneous.

How do you come up with the tracks for your sets?
I’ve never really been a fan of promo lists and having stuff sent to me. I feel like that’s kind of lazy. I’m definitely on lists from friends but it’s usually just stuff I find on Soundcloud. I find follow a lot of stuff off Soundcloud so I keep checking that and then also through blogs. That’s something I’ve been doing since I was a teenager. It’s nice not to lose that. Also friends recommendations is something that’s really important to me.