Interview with HGLDT & Night Tracks 023: Guest Mix

We’ve got a real treat for you today, as the Montreal-based producer and Swing And Skip head HGLDT checks in for an interview, and a guest mix full of deep house, including a dub by HGLDT himself 'Free To Harmonize' which I can't recommend enough. You can now download the mix too, so check it out after reading what he's got to say...

NT: Hey. Can you tell Night Tracks a bit about yourself?
Hello! Where should I start? I've been DJing and making tunes as HGLDT for the past couple of years. It's not a particularly catchy name to say the least so most people just call me Henry. I love deep music, in any sense of the term: I'm a big ambient, post-rock and EDM fan. My time is divided between studying Liberal Arts and Philosophy in university, playing a couple of gigs here and there and running my label Swing & Skip.

NT: Coming from somewhere that was pretty far removed from the original garage scene, how did you get into the garage/garage-influenced beats you produce today, and release through your label?
I spent my early teens roaming around the internet seeking new things to discover. I somehow ended up on Dubstep Forum right around the release of DMZ 005, and was completely blown away by it. Hearing Mala's Neverland was a defining moment for me - something about the physicality of the bass, the intricate rhythm, the space in the song - I couldn't believe it. I had never heard anything similar before, and all of a sudden I couldn't listen to anything else. This led to an uncontrollable passion for dubstep at the time - the early Berkane Sol, DMZ, Apple Pips, and Deep Medi releases. Drawing from my love for these records, I started going back to their influences and origins - the garage pioneers, old school grime instrumentals and such. Somewhere along the way I developed a taste for certain elements of these genres - it's still hard to pin point but there's a definite influence that these records has on me.

 HGLDT - Hollywood Oaks (Clip)

NT: How did it feel to be getting support from prominent figures like Blackdown, and getting plays on a station as legendary as rinse.fm?
Amazing. I'm not a very hype oriented guy, and I've never really been about partying. I've always admired and tried to push the attitude I discovered in old dubstep nights; the darkness, the empty rooms, the sense of a close knit community revolving around the music only. I've always perceived Blackdown as someone with that 'original' attitude - really open minded, easy to talk or send music to, and genuinely interested in pushing the sound and the scene. When I sent him a few tunes I had never released anything or gotten any airplay, yet he still took the time to check out what I had sent. That's something I've always admired. All that to say that getting played by Blackdown on Rinse was a big personal milestone, simply because I felt as though I had stayed true to myself and done things the way I wanted to do them.

NT: What is the garage/dubstep scene like at the moment in Canada? Is there anybody we should be looking out for? 
H: There's some great stuff happening here. There's a real feeling of a scene trying to innovate and separate itself from the ashes of the now overly commercialized Dubstep scene while trying to keep a positive and down to earth attitude. Everyone's doing a something a little different but it somehow all comes together to create a real sense of unity. A couple of high school friends of mine have been hard at work producing some really forward thinking and exciting juke/footwork material - they go by the name Hesk & Paveun and have a release forthcoming on a new sublabel of Swing & Skip. I'm also really excited by the sounds coming out of Vancouver right now, particularly by DJ/producer Max Ulis, who will be releasing his debut single on the next Swing & Skip 12''.

NT: Your release with Damu (2010/Knowing You/Knowing You (ReSketch Remix)) was exclusive to vinyl. What was the reason for this? Is “keeping vinyl alive” something you feel strongly about?
I guess it goes back to that idea of attitude and the influence early dubstep had on me. Truthfully, I just don't really see the point of releasing mp3 versions of a record. Releasing a 320 version of a 12" removes a big part of the incentive to buy the record; anyone can have the tune and there is no exclusivity. The music becomes completely in-temporal and lost within the chaos of the internet. There is no beginning and no end, you can buy the tune now or five years down the road, it'll sound and look exactly the same. That works for some people and styles of music, but when I thought about starting my label it wasn't even a question - if I was going to do it, I wanted to go all the way.

NT: As a resident DJ at the Swing & Skip nights, do you feel that your productions are primarily aimed towards the dancefloor?
In a way they are and in a way they aren't. They're not aimed towards the dancefloor in the sense that you'll want to dance or party after a few drinks. They're aimed towards the dancefloor in that heavy, physical, almost overwhelming sort of way. I'll never forget this sense of being completely overwhelmed by the music at early dubstep nights, when things get so intense that you just close your eyes and enter an odd, almost bliss like state. That's what I'm aiming for, and in that sense I think you can say that my productions are aimed towards the dancefloor.

NT: Do you have any releases in the pipeline to tell us about?
There's a lot that I'm excited about in the coming months. "Last Summer Dub" which is the result of a collaboration with Hissy Fit is coming out on Party Guy Records backed with a Martin Kemp remix, which is absolutely mindblowingly heavy. That's out November 1st 2011.
SKIP003 should hopefully be out by the end of the year if all goes according to plan, and features the track "DIY" by Max Ulis backed with some big remixes.
There's also going to be the launch of a new sub label of Swing & Skip releasing experimental, more "home listening" electronic music. The first release is by Seattle producer Kid Smpl and will be strictly limited to 50 physical copies - once again no digital.

NT: Can you explain your selection for the mix?
It's a deep house mix of some tunes I really like. Some new tunes, some older ones. I just really tried to get a mood and narrative going in the mix.

NT: Final question, if you had to pick your three favourite “Night Tracks”, what would they be?
Tim Hecker - Chimeras
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Sleep
Eluvium - Radio Ballet

NT: Thanks for your time! You can listen to his mix below, or DOWNLOAD HERE for a limited time (few months). Check out a few links while you're at it.

Swing And Skip Records
HGLDT on Facebook

The Godson - Analog Love (Rush Hour)
Brawther - Do It Yourself (Alternative Mix) (Secretsundaze)
Outboxx - Kate Libby's (Immerse)
Marlon D - Heaven's Saxophone (Underground Collective)
Jared Wilson - Let Your Body, Make Your Body (Conforce Dusk Till Dawn Mix) (Dolly)
Ellen Allien - Ever (Aux 88 'Black Tokyo Remix') (BPitch Control)
HGLDT - Free to Harmonize (Unreleased)
KingThing - Queen Hive (Milyoo 'Dancing Queen' Remix) (Freshmore)
Maya Jane Cole - Humming Bird (Hypercolour)