This month we caught up with Leeds based producer, Samir Alikhanizadeh aka ‘Happa‘, fresh off the back of his latest release, ‘Pt 2 EP’, and his recent ‘Against The Clock’ with FACT.
Emerging onto the scene back in 2012, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Samir has been around forever, and through his experimental productions and refreshing outlook on the UK techno scene it’s easy to see why. But at just 18 years old Happa is still at the beginning of his career, already releasing through his own label, and with remixes four the likes of Four Tet under his belt, it’s an exciting prospect to see where Samir takes his uncompromising sound next.
You have had support from some major players in the UK scene in the past which really helped you break out, can you remember a specific point where you felt you were getting noticed?
Yeah It was around 4 years ago, just before I was actually swooped up by my management. I’d started to pick up quite a few more views on Soundcloud, and getting more inboxes and what not; just more of a buzz in general. It was when Loefah played ‘Boss’ on Rinse FM – which was heard by Mary Anne Hobbs – when things really started to pick up. Mary Anne’s support was very important, and it was very closely followed by the support of Four Tet, which arrived at a similar time as my manager too. So all three of those forces where crucial really.
For all the young producers looking to get their own productions or mixes out there, do you have any advice that you could offer?
Keep on making, keep on sharing, and keep on evolving. I never really had an aim, or a goal when I first started to be honest. I was just making music for fun, and I enjoyed sharing it with people and receiving feedback/praise. So I just kept on making tunes and sharing them online, constantly playing around with different styles, with no real aim of actually being “discovered” or whatever. I feel that can lead to a more organic output, as apposed to trying to force success onto yourself… I dunno.
We saw your FACT Against The Clock recently which was one of the most interesting we’ve seen so far! You used cassettes for your samples – Are you always looking for new techniques to trigger ideas when producing?
Oh great, I’m glad you liked it! Yeah definitely, sometimes it’s great to look for new techniques just for fun, but it can also be quite helpful if you’re in a bit of a rut. Sometimes trying a completely different approach can trigger those ideas that were lodged in the back of your head. For example working with the imperfections and hiss of tape, you end up with a sound you didn’t even know you wanted.
Coming from the north of the UK in Leeds, are there elements in your tracks that have been influenced by the sounds and culture of the city?
To be honest I don’t think so, no. My inspirations and influences mainly come from my friends, the music I listen to and also just from within myself (eg. my mood). Although you never know, maybe if I lived in Berlin my music would be way trendier.
How involved are you in the Leeds music scene? Have you got any favourite nights that you’ve been involved with, or just attended as a punter?
I would say I’m heavily involved with the city as a whole, as I love it here, but in terms of the music scene, not massively. I don’t really know to be honest though; I find it hard to tell whether I am part of a scene or not, but there definitely isn’t much that I’m involved with musically in Leeds. I hardly even ever play in Leeds, however I do want to put on a night in here this year.
Aside from Leeds have you got any highlights from the nights and parties that you’ve played at, or just enjoy going to?
I very recently played at Hope Works in Sheffield, it was great! It’s brilliant there. I find it hard to recall a lot of past gigs and nights out If I’m honest, so I can’t really roll off loads of my favourite nights very easily. I can say though, that best night out I’ve had in a while was the Perc Trax showcase at Corsica a few months ago… amazing night.
On the back of your newly released pt/2 EP, tell us a little about the shows that you have lined up and plans for the upcoming months.
I have two gigs coming up towards the end of May going into June. The first is at Oval Space for Bade on the 27th May, then onto Nottingham on the 4th of June for Wigflex. Both should be super wicked, I always look forward to playing in London, and also for my good pals Wigflex. Other than that I’m going to be piecing together and getting ready PT/3 for later in the year, and doing lots of chilling with me m8s.
To finish off, could you give us three tracks or records you’re listening to at the minute please!
Sure thing. And easy place to start is with James Blake’s new LP; “The Colour In Anything” as it just came out and I am listening to it as I write this, aaaaaand it’s bloody great.
James Blake – The Colour In Anything LP
Also Peder Mannerfelt’s new long player is great.
Peder Mannerfelt – Controlling Body LP
Oh and last but not least; “Love Streams” by Time Hecker is just breathtaking. So yeah, all about the albums for me at the moment!
Tim Hecker – Love Streams