An Electric Zoo Interview with Hook N Sling
DJ Hook N Sling hails from Australia but has relocated to LA and landed in NYC in time for Electric Zoo! Don’t let the name trip you up — Hook N Sling is solo DJ Anthony Maniscalco and he’s here to get things moving. His recent release of a remix to Lana Del Ray’s “Ultraviolence” (see above) is hard hitting and sensual — and it’s made a big splash. With close to 300k plays on his Soundcloud and over 350k plays on the Proximity YouTube page in just a month, this track is one of the top remixes of one of the most talked about songs of the year. But this isn’t the first time Hook N Sling has been around the block — he produced the track “Reason” with fellow Aussie DJs Nervo two years ago, which today has a combined 10 million views on Spinnin Records‘ YouTube. His original mix “Magnet” with Chris Willis likewise has nearly 300k views. More recently, Hook N Sling’s track “Tokyo By Night” was remixed by Axwell!
Sensible Reason was lucky enough to the chance to talk with Hook N Sling at Electric Zoo Friday afternoon after his set. We talked everything from social media to how “Ultraviolence” got leaked:
Hook N Sling Interview
How do you feel your set went today [Friday, August 29 at Electric Zoo]?
I’m really happy with it. I’m not usually that enthusiastic about my sets, but I played some new stuff today and it went generally well. I played a couple new things I’m working on, I tested one new record for the first time today which is really great. I feel like I’m on the right track and that was a really big relief for me.
Do you find that the response in the US is different than somewhere else?
I would say summer time in the States, or summer time anywhere, you’re going to get a response. Everyone wants to have a shit ton of fun and they want to be out in the sun and spray water and do stupid shit and listen to good music. Whether that’s in the States or that’s in Australia or Ibiza, thats generally the vibe, it’s very similar. But then when you go to other cities, maybe indoors and maybe a colder climate, I definitely get a different vibe. There is a unique thing about playing outside in the summer time and playing indoors.
What is it like to be invited to play at EZoo?
It’s amazing. I love how close it is to Manhattan, it’s not like 2 hours outside the city and I’ve got to jump in a bus to go home. I love how close everything is; I love New York. I really love this city.
Lana Del Ray’s Ultraviolet has been really well received. When did you notice that it was really going to take off?
To be honest, the mix actually got leaked accidentally, I think it was by her label. What happened is that they were supposed to wait until we premiered it and gave it to the blogs, but Lana actually put it on her page. So then we launched it out through our socials. It wasn’t supposed to come out for a month or so later, so we had to go with it early and it’s actually coming out next month. It’s already got 300,000 views, it’s insane. It’s really crazy. It’s not even out yet, just through the blogs that put it out on their sites. I don’t know who’s clicking on it, I don’t know who is listening to it, I don’t know if the Lana fans are listening to it. Like, that’s what I kind of want to know, I want to know if Lana fans think I did a good job.
Does Soundcloud provide any analytics on that kind of stuff?
It doesn’t tell me if they’re Lana fans… [But it tells me that] most of my fans are from North America and Australia, that’s my two big demographics. And where ever Lana’s big. [Laughing] They’re the ones who are kind of like, “Oh, what’s this EDM guy doing with our Lana?” They’re really precious about her. “You put 4/4 on Lana?” “You put a kick drop on Lana Del Ray?”
What is the process for releasing the track? How long in advance did you finish the track before you intended it to be heard?
That mix actually was pretty quick, it was a 4 week, but that’s the only amount of time I had. You get the parts, and you have to hand it in by this date. That’s dictated by Lana Del Ray’s people. The single was already out the radio and they wanted to release all the remixes together… Many fans don’t realize that there is a whole lot of production involved, there are 20 people that I work with to get tracks out. I just hand in the music and I throw my hands up in the air.
Do you prefer working in the studio or doing live shows?
At the moment I really enjoy being in the studio. I’m working on these new songs I’m really happy with and I’m excited. I feel like I’m in a place right now where I’m onto something new that I really like. Kind of finishing records a lot quicker, I’ve got a clearer vision for my music right now. There have been times in the last couple of years where my head has been too cloudy and I don’t know how to finish a record, I don’t know what I want it to sound like. “Is it good enough? Is it too deep? Is it too loud?” It fucks up your radar… like a self-analytical kind of radar. The thing is, that’s the worst thing you can be when you’re a musician– you can never make the right decision, because if you do make the right decision, you think you haven’t. It’s really important to be confident in what you’re making.
With the name “Hook N Sling,” people often think you’re actually two DJs? Do you get that a lot?
Yeah a lot of times when I get to the airport and someone is picking me up they’re like, “Is that it? No one else getting off that plane?” It’s funny, I get a good laugh out of it. It doesn’t change anything for me, like where I get booked. It does make me laugh when people are like, “Hook N Sling, they’re my favorite.” “Oh, really, they’re your favorite? Uh huh.” Or, “I saw them last time they were in Seattle, they were amazing.” I once got sent two sets of headphones when I had a headphone sponsorship.
What are some artists you’re most looking forward to checking out this weekend?
I want to see Hot Since 82. Jamie XX will be really cool. Oh and Fehrplay.
Ok, and finally: what social media platform are you most active on?
I would say Instagram because I can just kind of sit back and scroll through. It’s my favorite lying-in-bed social media app. I don’t lie in bed and look at Facebook because I took Facebook off my phone, it’s a huge time waster. Twitter, meh. Not enough going on in those characters to find out what’s going on in someone’s life.
With two great releases just recently and more to come, Hook N Sling is definitely a DJ not to miss! He has upcoming tour dates in California and China, which you can check out here. Also, be sure to follow him on Instagram— his favorite social media outlet… in bed!