Interview with Hannah Wants
British DJ/Producer, Hannah Wants, might want to consider changing her name to ‘Hannah Gets’. That’s because she’s coming off a monster 2014 in which she toured the world, won numerous awards, and saw many of her childhood dreams come to fruition. She is about to embark on a North American headlining tour and we chatted with her about the upcoming gigs, her recent success, her name, her diet, and her fascination with sneakers (and a slew of other topics).
Independent Philly: How did you come up with the DJ name ‘Hannah Wants’?
Hannah Wants: I was DJing under ‘Hannah S.’ for quite some time while I was just DJing locally and I knew that wasn’t going to be “the one”. It’s not very exciting, and I wish it was, but I like the letter ‘W’, and I picked up the dictionary, in my bedroom actually, and wrote down a load of words that begin with the letter W. I focused on about 3 and ‘wants’ was one of them, and I had a moment where I just kind of knew that was the one. I put it next to Hannah and I just really like the way that it sounded, the way that it looked. It was just one of those things that I knew it was right at that moment. It’s not as interesting as I’d like it be, but that’s the truth.
IP: Where does your affinity for the letter W come from?
HW: I have no idea. It’s just something where I like the way that it looks and the way that it sounds. I like how it looks written down on a piece of paper. I’m a little OCD in terms of things like organization, and I just like the way that it looks. That sounds so weird.
IP: You won a bunch of nice awards last year including ‘Best Breakthrough DJ’ and ‘Star of the Year’ from some big EDM publications. What did it mean to you to have your work validated so strongly in the DJ community?
HW: It means a lot. To be a DJ has been a dream of mine for over a decade now. I know that the actual art of DJing isn’t talked about or appreciated as much as it was a few years ago. To be recognized as a DJ and to gain those awards was a real honor. I’ve been climbing up the ladder for quite some time now so to finally make it and be living my dream, to get some play some of the events around the world that I’ve been dreaming of playing for years, is something really special.
IP: With the insane popularity of electronic music in 2015 it still seems like the talent pool for female DJs and producers is lacking. Are there some other female DJs and producers, up and coming or well established, that you really respect?
HW: There are a couple of DJs in the UK that I really like. One of them is called ‘DJ Barely Legal’. She played a couple of dates on my recent UK tour and she’s just a great DJ. She plays kind of a wide range of music from grime to hip-hop, and house music. It works really, really well. She’s got a really unique style. I don’t think she’s making music but she’s a great DJ to watch so go check out DJ Barely Legal. Another DJ in the UK is Amy Becker. She’s kind of on the same vibe as Barely, she’s a DJ through and through, and she’s really cool to watch too.
IP: You’re embarking across North America on a headlining tour that kicks off today (April 15th) in Washington, DC .What excites you the most about this upcoming tour?
HW: That’s a hard question, everything. I really enjoying traveling and seeing America, first and foremost. I’ve not been here much, I think I’ve only been here twice before, so to get to go to all these places is really, really amazing. Second of all, to be able to do what I love, to be able to DJ in a different country, in all of these different places and get to reach out to loads of different people is really great. The Americans so far, I’ve played one tour here late last year, and my experience of the Americans and the American clubs in general has been amazing. I’m really excited to get going again.
IP: You’re making a stop here in Philadelphia this Friday (April 17th). What can your fans expect from a Hannah Wants show if they’ve never seen you DJ in person before?
HW: A fast paced, high energy set that I like to think takes the dance floor and the crowd on a journey. I like to mix my set up but I like to play big bangers and tracks that I designed for the dance floor to make you dance; that’s my primary aim.
IP: On the production side, are you currently working on any new music?
HW: I am, yes. I’m actually working on some solo material at the moment which I’m really excited about. I’m also making a collaboration with an insane vocalist from the UK called ‘Detour City’, and that’s hopefully going to be dropping at the start of the Summer. I’ve got some other projects that are all kind of secret at the moment and under wraps but again, I think everything’s going to dropping over the Summer months so it’s going to be my first solo material and a great vocal collaboration. I’m super, super excited for that to come out.
IP: How would you describe your sound to someone who is unfamiliar with your music?
HW: I guess it would have to be house music. I’ll play anything house music, so I can play deep-house, tech-house, techno. My music in my sets are usually bass heavy but I guess it’s just like house music but bass influenced really.
IP: What did Hannah want 10 years ago as opposed to what Hannah wants today?
HW: What I wanted 10 years ago was to be a DJ. That was pretty much all I dreamed of doing so I’ve got what I wanted from 10 years ago. What I want now is kind of similar, I’m loving every day living as a full-time professional DJ and I want now to be the biggest and best that I can be. I want to improve my game, improve all around, and just keep doing what I’m doing and see how far I can get.
IP: What’s the strangest thing that someone has ever Tweeted to you?
HW: Oh god that’s a tough one. One of the strangest things I think was, I played Creamfields Festival last year, and there was a guy in the audience who had wrote a massive banner, it was literally the size of a bed sheet, with “Hannah Wants, Marry Me!” on it. I didn’t catch him for quite some time but he was on peoples’ shoulders in the tent and he Tweeted me afterwards and kind of proposed. That was kind of weird.
IP: If you could have any three wishes (aside from wishing for more wishes), what would you wish for?
HW: Oh god that’s putting me on the spot. My first one would be, this is really stupid but the food that I eat is, I only like certain foods, so I wish I could eat as much as I wanted without putting on weight. I’m all about “Healthy body, healthy mind” so I have to watch what I eat. I’d also wish wish for an absolute mansion in Ibiza, that would be amazing. It’s my favorite place, well, one of my favorite places in the world. I’d also want a personal — I’m absolutely crazy about sneakers so I’d want a personal sneaker shopper that would bring me trainers, the latest and best sneakers from around the world, daily. That’s kind of a random one, but good.
IP: You mentioned that your diet is kind of strange. What’s your favorite thing to eat?
HW: Pretty much just chicken and rice. It’s another weird thing about me but I don’t have kind of a diverse love of food. I have to kind of hunt down the same thing around the world. I’m pretty fussy with food so yeah, just chicken and rice. I always find out the best Asian restaurants wherever I am. So yeah, Asian food really.
IP: Finally, if you could tell us something about yourself that would surprise or even shock our readers…
HW: Something that a lot of people don’t know is that I used to play football, or soccer as you’d call it, internationally. I used to play football since I was 6 years old but I used to play internationally from about 17-23, until I kind of had to quit football for DJing. I was getting in from DJing at 6am and it wasn’t kind of viable for me to get up at 8am to go and play professional football also. I had to give it up for DJing.
IP: Aside from internationally, were you playing for a club team?
HW: Yeah. When I used to play football it wasn’t as kind of high profile as it is, or is in the States, but I played in the Premier League for ‘Aston Villa Ladies’. That’s who I was playing for at club level, and then international level ‘Under 23’s’.
IP: Great, we are looking forward to your show on Friday.
HW: Thanks, looking forward to seeing you in a couple of days.
[Interview by David Miller]
Whether you are in Philly, or any of the other stops on her upcoming tour, we’d highly suggest hitting the club to get down on the dance floor with Hannah Wants!