Today marks the release of Hall North’s new single ‘Guarana’ – a sublime melodic offering that finds a home on Pangea Recordings. We caught up with the British producer to learn more about the story behind the single & more!
Hall North, it is great to have the chance to speak with you today. First off, how are you doing and where are the world are you?
Ditto, it’s an absolute pleasure talking to you! I’m doing great thanks; loads going on right now here in Teesside in the North East of England.
For those who have yet to hear your sound how would you best describe it?
I always struggle to describe my musical style when it comes to my productions and remixes, especially in terms of genres, although it’s true to say that they tend more towards Progressive House and Techno. I have very eclectic tastes though when it comes to the music I love and all of that influence goes into the melting pot when I’m working on tracks. One thing I like to think l can definitively say however, is that they all share a certain dark, deep, emotive and dramatic vibe that mark them out as distinctively Hall North.
You have just released your single ‘Guarana’ on the Pangea Recordings imprint, can you tell us the inspiration behind the track?
Guarana is a South American plant renowned for it’s qualities as a stimulant and a source of energy. It has been referred to as “the life-blood of the Amazonian people” and that’s the general theme of the track; characterised as it is by pulsating rhythms, a driving bassline and evolving synth arpeggios.
What drew you to releasing it on Pangea?
Pangea is a label I’ve admired for a long time and my remix of Robert Bell’s “Mix Up” was released by the label about two years ago, so my association with them isn’t new. I’m also a big fan of label boss DJ Samer, who is himself an awesome producer who has released on iconic labels such as Bedrock and Hooj. I’ve just been waiting for the right track to release with the label and we both felt that “Guarana” was the one.
It comes packaged alongside two amazing remixes from DJ Samer and Seth Vogt, how do you feel they both differ?
Samer’s blew me away as soon as I heard it – especially that insane build out of the breakdown into the drop. It has also a very cool Sasha-esque quality to it that I feel would work well on a variety of dancefloors, although I must confess to having never visited the “Simon’s club” to which his remix is dedicated. Must be a pretty cool place though that’s for sure!
Seth’s take was completely different. One thing I love about other artists remixing my work is being surprised and delighted by the ideas they come up with when they are inspired by my original parts and Seth’s remix certainly did that for me! The breakdown, with it’s emerging lead melody, reminds me very much of ESCM era BT, which is certainly no bad thing, and really got those goosebumps popping for me!
How has your musical backgrounds helped shape the sound you create today?
I learned piano from a very early age, which taught me everything I know about melody, chord structure, intonation, tempo and the emotional content within different types of music. My true love, however, as always been for electronic music; as the fact that Depeche Mode’s “Violator” was the first album I ever bought, will testify. Bands and artists such as Pet Shop Boys, New Order, and later Prodigy had a profound impact on me as a youngster, to the degree that all I ever really wanted to do was to be able to make sounds like that myself one day.
Over the years, I have played in bands and Dj’d all over the place to varying degrees of success, but what I do now is the purest form of creation for me, because I’m not doing it for any other reason than that it is in me and it needs to come out: art for arts sake if you like.
Jumping into the studio how was the process when working on this release?
I always work quickly, using Ableton 11 to sketch out ideas. I generally start with the beat and the groove and build from there, and “Guarana” was no exception.
Do you have any specific plug-ins or hardware that defines your sound?
I’m oldskool when it comes to plug-ins so I don’t tend to use a lot of soft synths or digital effects to be honest (other than those within Ableton itself).
In terms of hardware, I use a Roland SH201 and a Jupiter and a Microkorg for synth lines and a Novation Bass Station for basses and some arps. I also love messing around with old FX units such as my Korg Kaos Pad and Monotron to give sounds a unique flavour too.
Have you had a chance to play this release out live? If so, how was the response?
Not found the right opportunity yet, but hopefully this will come in time.
Finally, what do you hope to achieve going into 2024?
I’ve got a further two EPs coming out which I’m really excited about. The first of which will be on Mirabilis Records, with some awesome remixes by Ranj Kaler and Glenn Molloy, both of whom are really smashing it right now with their own stuff. My second EP of 2024 will be with Pro B Tech, which will also feature some awesome remixes – so exciting times indeed!!
Pick up a copy of ‘Guarana’ here.