In their first interview feature together, Inverted Audio speaks to Habits of Hate (Happa and Manni Dee) about their upcoming debut release on Electronic Explorations, their production process and the effect of geography on music. Their 15-track playlist features former IA TV guest William Basinski, as well as Regis, Blur, Ben Frost, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Skirt, Radiohead and more.
Firstly, how did you two meet and start making music together?
Manveer Dheensa (Manni Dee): We began exchanging new music via email, which led to the realisation that we have similar influences and musical interests.
Samir Alikhanizadeh (Happa): Yeah, plus I was a big fan of Manni’s music and the fact that we shared similar interests and influences meant it would be criminal to pass on this.
How did you approach the Habits of Hate project differently from your respective solo projects? Is there any conceptual significance to the name?
MD: Whenever you undertake a new project there’s scope for experimentation. A successful collaboration differs mostly for me in the fact that there’s less of an individual focus on the outcome, and there’s greater opportunity to assign attention to specific parts.
SA: Exactly what Manni said, I don’t think we intended to go so ‘hard’, but it just happened and we loved it.
In what ways do you think the act of collaboration affects music production more generally?
MD: It allows for objective input and positive compromise.
SA: I think it can be hit and miss, and really depends on the relationship between the two artists in terms of how they work, but when you get it right, I think you can the get the best out of yourself and the collaborator.
What was the production process like technically? Did you use much analogue gear?
MD: We worked individually and sent stems via email. I didn’t use any analogue gear.
SA: I think I used the odd analogue synth, but at the end of the day, does it really matter that much? It’s more about what it actually sounds like as a finished product, in my opinion.
Speaking of analogue vs. digital gear, what’s your opinion on the recent surge of interest in analogue means of production?
MD: I haven’t given much though to it. I guess it promotes the idea of becoming familiar with a piece of equipment rather than just picking up a laptop. I can see why it’s a more rewarding relationship for some.
SA: I love hardware in general, as it suits my style of production more I guess. Although I buy more analogue hardware than digital, I don’t think it matters that much as long as you get a good sound out of it. I’d say I buy more into analogue as it suits my sound more so, with all the imperfections and what not.
Do the two of you have any plans to perform live together as Habits of Hate?
MD: At some point yes.
When you’re preparing a release for a given label, do you consider the label’s heritage or aesthetic during your process?
MD: As long as those two factors don’t hinder originality or creative vision, I think they’re important to consider.
SA: I used to get worried about releasing on a label that didn’t release a similar style of music (although that hasn’t really happened) yet now I don’t tend to mind as much, as long as I know it is a good home for my music, and will do well… If you get what I mean?
To what extent do you think geography affects music in the Internet age? You’ve both referenced the Birmingham sound before in press; can you talk a little more about the effect of environment on music?
MD: I’m actually from Wolverhampton, which makes me wonder whether my upbringing has resulted in me gravitating towards the Birmingham sound, or if it’s an unrelated aesthetic preference. Personally, I think it’s dependant on individual interests rather than his/her surroundings. The internet grants access to a wealth of knowledge. Enough to create and influence your own environment based on your predilection.
SA: I agree with Manni in terms of your own interested affecting your music rather than your surroundings, yet I also think that friends can also do so, so I guess if there is a big group of friends/people making music in a certain area, rubbing off each other creatively, that can then develop into a geographical music scene. Plus your surroundings affect you as a person.
How do you think the Internet has affected the way we consume music? Happa, you release a lot of free downloads on your Soundcloud – what are your thoughts surrounding this decision?
SA: I think it has made things more available, therefore more easily demandable. Yet – from what I know – it still seems to run on the same basic idea. As for that; I’m a little boy that craves attention. Just kidding ha ha ha, I just get bored and freebies are fun. Everyone loves a freebie.
What do you think of the notion that industrial techno is experiencing a ‘renaissance’?
MD: I tend to step away from the zeitgeist. It’s all techno to me. It’s either good or bad.
SA: Once again, exactly what Manni said.
Happa, as part of a younger generation of dance music consumers, where do you think dance music is headed? Are we in a golden age?
Fuck knows… #blacknecksfornumber1
What are you both up to under other monikers and outside of your musical careers?
MD: I make ambient and drone music under the alias Nuances. A lot of those compositions would work well for moving image which is what I’m focussing on. I have a few things in the pipeline, as well as a couple of releases set for this year, but I’m not rushing anything. Outside of music, I’m splitting my time between London and Brighton and working on a documentary.
SA: I like to do performance art in the middle of Leeds City centre. I get naked and smother my body in babies tears to the sound of ants dying.
MD: He’s not lying. The videos are on Youtube if you dig deep enough.
Habits Of Hate will release their debut EP via Electronic Explorations on the 28th April 2014. You can stream clips of Habits Of Hate EP via Soundcloud.
1. The Smiths – How Soon Is Now?
2. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Cities in Dust
3. The Velvet Underground – Heroin
4. Radiohead – 15 Step
5. William Basinski – Disintegration Loop 6 (dlp6)
6. Blur – Optigan 1
7. Skirt – Tumulto [Yuji Kondo Remix]
8. Habits of Hate – Limelight Roles
9. Regis – Speak To Me
10. Henning Christiansen – Kreuzmusik FLUXID BEHANDLUNG Op 189
11. Haus Arafna – Social Automation
12. Daniel Johnston – Despair Came Knocking
13. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – 09-15-00
14. Ben Frost – Theory Of Machines
15. William Basinski – Melancholia