UK house producer, Henry Hacking, should be on everyone’s radar. From straight up underground cuts to timeless covers and 90’s piano-house, his versatile production has been snapped up by various labels including Tiger, Pukka Up Deep and Pinkstar. Now he drops his first track of 2020 and his third signing overall on Australia’s Vicious Recording, with ‘New Love’. We chatted to Henry about where it all started, his highlights of 2019 and being mobbed on recent tour in China…
Welcome to DMC Henry Hacking. Let’s get the formal introductions out of the way first. Where d’you come from and where are you in the world right now?
Thanks for having me! Born and raised in Cambridgeshire and I’ve actually not strayed that far as I currently live in Cambridge with my wife and two daughters.
Where did it all start for you? `
A long long time ago! I’ve always had a huge passion for music, leaving school at the tender age of 16 to start working on a local radio station. After a couple of years, I met a resident DJ for a local club who invited me along one evening to check it out. I totally fell in love with the vibe and energy he was creating and immediately set about getting some turntables and learning the craft!
You had a busy 2019 with 6 killer releases. Which one are you most proud of and which one do you think represent you best as an artist, and why?
That’s a tricky one! It really was a fantastic year with all releases being very special in their own right. Nasty Girl was insanely well received and to not only have worked with Inaya Day, one of my all-time favourite vocalists, but also David Penn with his remix – that’s goals right there! However, the one that I am most proud of is actually ‘Higher’. An original vocal centred around a driving old school piano vibe. Piano really is a key component to my music and I think this really hit the nail on the head for me. Memories of playing this at Eden, Ibiza before release date and seeing a bigger reaction than anything else I’d played, underlined its dance floor credentials.
What was your 2019 highlight?
Do these questions get easier? Crickey – so many to choose from! Musically, achieving a UK Club Chart top 5 with Higher and a Traxsource number 1 with Nasty Girl, then on tour, it was my trip to Illusion in Zhuhai, China. I was met from my car by about 50 crazy fans all with so much love and energy. It’s something I’ve never had before and was the most surreal, humbling and incredible feeling. When you work so hard to connect with people through both your music and performances, it’s a huge sense of achievement to then have complete strangers the other side of the world, take the time to wait outside a club just to have a picture, shake your hand or grab an autograph. I’ll never forget it.
Speaking of touring in China, and as in Singapore, Thailand and Bali too; you have quite the profile. What do you think it is about you as an artist that resonates so much in the far east?
I’ve been back and forth for many years, building a network of promoters and friends which has helped tie together many tours. Every tour I treat as my first – it’s vital to never get complacent and always remain grounded. I engage with as many people as possible, which helps to organically grow my fanbase. I think this has been a big part of my continued growth over there.
‘New Love’ is your first single of 2020. Tell us about that and how you came to work with the vocalist Holly Brewer.
I’ve an incredibly talented song writer (big up Kat Deal) who has a wealth of equally talented singers. She was the one who actually got Holly on board to sing the track and then recorded it in her studio. We’ve never actually met in person! It’s so easy to do things remotely these days.
What other new music do you have lined up for the rest of the year?
Bangers! New Love is the tip of the iceberg. Expect more music along the same style though – uplifting, feel good house music with catchy as hell lyrics!
Did you grow up in a music household? Were you encouraged to listen to and make music?
Yes, my mum, brother and sister all played piano, as did I. There were a number of other instruments as well – violin / clarinet / guitar (not that I was really a master at these) and learning an instrument at school was part of all our lives. Then in my early teens, my brother and sister were hugely into the Jeremy Healy / Alistair Whitehead ‘Fantazia’ albums which is really where I started to get a feeling for house music.
What jobs have you done whilst climbing the music industry ladder?
From shovelling snow off rooftops in Canada, to working for a well know retail store – I’ve had my fair share of other jobs! In fact, I’m still involved with a local cocktail bar running events.
What is your go-to ‘inspiration song’?
Lovebirds ft Stee Downes – Want You In My Soul. If you haven’t heard it. Do so right now…
What labels are you digging at the moment?
Vicious are obviously on fire with the huge forthcoming release of Henry Hacking ft Holly Brewer – New Love!! Other go to labels include Toolroom, Glasgow Underground, Let There Be House and Cube Recordings, all solid for the house heads, whilst New State and Perfect Havoc are both churning out great crossover stuff.
What are your 5 Hottest Records right now?
1 – Henry Hacking ft Holly Brewer – New Love
2 – Billion ft Rationale – Release Me
3 – Kokiri – The Vibe
4 – PBH & Jack – One Drink
5 – Norman Doray x Santeli x Bigstate – Take Some Time
Where can we catch you DJing this year?
The next 2 dates take me off to Dundee to rock the student union on February 22nd and then ‘Ce La Vi’ in Singapore on March 7th. This summer looks like a special one with my residencies for Pukka Up, House in Paradise and WNDRLND in Ibiza. House In Paradise has secured every Monday at O Beach, WNDRLND every Saturday at Eden, and the infamous Pukka Up Boat parties will be smashing the Mediterranean waves week in, week out!
‘New Love’ by Henry Hacking feat. Holly Brewer is out now on Vicious Recordings. Stream across all platforms: