Few have enjoyed the kind of meteoric rise experienced by Hannah Wants. Her journey over the course of the last 2 years has seen her transformed from an up and coming selector to one of the most in demand DJs on the circuit. The beginning of this journey began with being exposed to the high energy sounds emerging from the UK bassline scene at clubs and parties back in her hometown of Birmingham, an influence that is still ever present in Hannah Want’s track selection. From here the foundations were set; throw in some hard work, determination and a clear flair when behind the decks and Hannah Wants soon found herself attracting big crowds in Ibiza and scooping accolades such as DJ Mag breakthrough DJ award.
Fast forward to 2016 and Hannah will be departing on her first headline UK tour this February and March which will see her hit up 12 cities. With a packed lineup of special guests for each date featuring the likes of Waze & Odyssey, Shaddow Child, My Nu Leng and many more, expect fireworks when the What Hannah Wants Tour brings the party to town. Before the tour gets under way we caught up with Hannah to talk tour preparation, time in the studio and favourite tracks of 2015.
Hi Hannah, how’re you doing?
Hiiiiiii! I’m doing really well thank you!
2015 was another year which has seen your popularity go from strength to strength, what were your personal highlights?
The entire year was a highlight, it was literally the busiest and best year of my life you know. I had an absolute ball! Travelling the world to DJ to thousands of people is my dream come true so I’m constantly on a high!
A couple of moments off the top of my head that stood out for me though would have to be Hideout Festival, Creamfields, Parklife (I brought my mom over from Northern Ireland to watch me DJ for the first time so that was pretty surreal and special!), touring America, Stereosonic in Australia... Just yeah, so much!
Were there any particular tracks that you loved playing while DJing over the course of the year that always got a good reception?
The LOOP remix of Everything Is Black was a track that always got a solid reception. Didn’t matter if I played it in a dingy dark club, a festival tent or an open-air stage it just fully vibed. Still playing it in my sets now! There’s also a track of mine that I’ve pretty quiet for around six months. It’s a collab with the vocalist Detour City called Hidden Love, kinda like a bassy techno roller and it’s been working in my sets ever since I started playing it. I’m looking forward to the release!
You made your breakthrough when solely being a DJ. What do you think you owe your success to?
My co-productions earlier on in my career definitely helped me break through the local scene but I’ve certainly always stated that I’ll always see myself a DJ first and foremost. I’ve been DJ’ing for well over a decade, making music for only around half of that time.
I see DJ’ing as an art and it’s something I have the most insane passion for. I set out with a goal years ago to become recognised for my DJ skills, to be an artist you really wanted to watch perform and I guess I’ve just worked solidly for years trying to achieve my goal. I’ll never stop, there’s always room for improvement. To get to the top is one thing, to stay there is a whole other ball game but that’s what I want to do.
Could you tell us a little bit about your first experiences on either side of the DJ booth when starting out in Birmingham?
I started clubbing pretty under age to be fair, back in the day when any old fake ID would work with the bouncers. The very first time I visited a proper club was the day I knew I wanted to be a DJ. I specifically remember just looking up in awe at him as he controlled the dance floor and I just had this mad feeling inside. From then on it was my dream and ambition.
Birmingham is and always has been a great night out. Back when I used to go out raving the Speed Garage and Bassline House scene in Birmingham was at it’s peak and whilst it eventually died a little due to the troublesome crowds it sometimes attracted the music was amazing and it’s definitely shaped my sound and style as an artist today.
Was there a particular club night or DJ that had a big influence on your sound and style as a DJ?
Birmingham as a whole had an influence on my sound and style today. The scene definitely drove my love for a good bassline!
In terms of DJ’ing, DJ EZ will always be my idol and inspiration.
Your 2015 track Rhymes was a dance floor hit that also gained significant chart success. Can we expect you to be releasing any more of your own material in the near future
Definitely! I spent 2015 behind the scenes working on solo material so this year is a real exciting one. It’s gonna be a whole new chapter for me as an artist! I’ve been playing loads of new material in my sets for a while now and it’s gonna start getting released real soon, I can’t wait to share it with everyone!
This February and March will see you embark on your biggest tour to date, are you looking forward to getting out there?
So much! I’m actually on a three-week break from gigs now before my tour and I’m already itching to get back behind the decks! I was supposed to be on vacation in The Maldives butttttt instead I’m at home working, finishing up new music and prepping for the tour so I’m gonna be fully ready when the tour arrives!
Can we expect any special guests to be making a suprise appearance on your tour? If so, could you give us a clue as to who they might be?
We do have one special guest for the Birmingham show though. It’s my hometown and the last date of the tour so I think it’s safe to say it’s gonna go out with a bang. Unfortunately I can’t shed any light onto who it is BUT all will be unravelled soon. She’s AMAZING though! ;)
Finally, what are your plans once the tour is over? Are you planning on taking a little break before the festival season kicks off?
No time off. I’m playing in Exeter the week after the tour finishes and then festival season starts the week after in Malta with AMP’s Lost & Found! Crazy!
These couple of weeks currently being spent at home is pretty much the only time ‘off’ I have scheduled in to the diary for the year. I struggle to just do nothing anyway so it’s a good thing! This year is looking INSANE so I’m hyped to get going!
Thanks for talking to us Hannah. Good luck with the tour!
What Hannah Wants Tour Dates
Interview by Elliot Ryder
Photos courtesy of Wants Management