After making a stop at San Francisco's Mezzanine, Cyril Hahn made time to chat with Earmilk about his seemingly overnight success and what the future holds. His remix of “Say My Name” helped launch his career from an art history student to a bright up-and-coming DJ, and although he still has a passion for the arts, the realization he could live off his music has begun to settle in.
Recently signed to PMR Records, Cyril Hahn will officially release his first single, “Perfect Form” through the UK record label, October 7. With overwhelming support from fans, fellow artists and of course, the blogosphere, Hahn looks to be one to watch in the coming months. Though rumors have circulated that a debut album is in the works, Hahn divulged he is focused on upcoming singles and a possible EP, instead.
Earmilk: Obviously your “Say My Name” remix helped elevate your career as a DJ, how did it feel to hear your music played on BBC Radio 1 for the first time? Did you have any idea what it would do for you career at that point?
Cyril Hahn: I didn't even actually hear it the first time it was played on BBC, someone just told me Diplo played it on his show and it felt good for sure. But to be honest, at that point I didn't expect anything to come from it. My first remix, the Mariah Carey remix, only had like 10,000 hits, so I figured it would be the same. I really wasn't thinking about it as a career at all.
EM: From what I understand your musical palette has changed over the years from punk, to folk to sensual R&B and everything in between, where do you get your inspiration and what is it about creating music of any type that moves you?
CH: Its hard to say, the transition was really gradual. I get my inspiration everywhere, but I really didn't get into electronic music until about a year ago. I was into more stranger more ambient stuff that was closer to post rock. But artists like Caribou, had a steady kick drum similar to house, which got me listening to more typical house.
EM: Do you see yourself continuing to move in different directions or do you feel you have found your niche?
CH: I never really think about what is going to happen next – get I get bored of stuff fast, so I really have no idea what I am going to start making next.
EM: So what made you take the plunge into electronic music, since before recently, you were more into different genres?
CH: I liked to play music as a hobby, then I lost interest for a while, I didn't play for like 2 or 3 years. Then I started to miss it, but at that point my tastes had changed so much, so I just started experimenting. I just looked up programs and started trying stuff out, the Mariah Carey and "Say My Name" tracks were really just a way for me to learn new programs.
EM: So theses songs that helped launch your career were really you just testing out a new program? What were you using?
EM: Okay, so you started out with remixes putting yourself into DJ end of the spectrum, do you have any thoughts on the constant EDM debate over a "push button DJs" verses producers playing live sets?
CH: I mean everyone starts out with making remixes, I feel. So, its kind of ironic to me. Yeah I mean I am doing something different, its not DJing in the classical sense, but its like I put together a live mixtape. Certain DJs don't understand the concept, they think it boring or cheap. But to me, there isn't any less work put into a set, it just takes more time in the beginning rather than during the show.
EM: How did it feel when you got the call from PMR Records and do you think any collaborations will come about with other labelmates like Jesse Ware, Disclosure or Julio Bashmore?
CH: It was crazy, one day they started showing interested and I really couldn't believe it. I didn't have to think about it long, I mean I had other labels knocking at the door, but once PMR approached me, it didn't take me long to make a decision. And definitely I hope to collaborate with some other artists on PMR, there are so many talented singers that I am excited to work with.
EM: What can you tell me about your forthcoming work?
CH: Well I have my new track coming out in October, so we are focused on that release right now. But I am always sketching stuff out and writing stuff, so I am always looking out for singers to collaborate with.
EM: Yeah, listeners recently got a sneak peak of your new track "Perfect form" what inspired the track and how did you end up linking up with Shy Girls out of Portland?
CH: I just heard one of his songs and fell in love with his music. I reached out to him and it ended up being one of the easiest collaborations ever. It ended up being exactly what I wanted.
After spending a year remixing other artists' tracks, Cyril Hahn's own original tune "Perfect Form" received a remix from the British duo No Artificial Colours.