10 Questions with ... Hunter Siegel
June 9, 2015
1) Where are you from and what brings you to New York City?
I'm from Toronto, Canada actually. Just a little north of here. I'm playing at Webster Hall tonight with a good homie of mine, AC Slater, and Shiba San on the bill as well, headlining.
2) Do you find big differences between Toronto, which is a big city in Canada, and New York City?
Yea, specifically, New York ... there's not another city, at least that I've been to, that's like New York. It's kind of its own thing. I guess if I had to relate, I'd say Toronto and Chicago are really like mirror cities of each other in a lot of ways. So whenever I'm there I kind of have this feeling like I understand it more. New York is just this giant thing that I don't necessarily "get." Just a crazy place!
3) Where you DJ-ing before producing?
I was DJ-ing way before I ever produced, but I always wanted to. I was DJ-ing back when vinyl was a thing. In those days it was really hard to get started because you had to have gear. So it was all about learning from someone else who had gear. It was more competitive in the way that there was less chance to be successful. So people, I feel, in that kind of time, they wanted to share even less by a lot -- just like there were five guys getting paid. Who wants to share the knowledge? They could be that guy, so they just didn't want to share, you know.
4) You put together a club night in Toronto?
It's an event series. We do eight to 10 of them a year. It's called "No Neon." It's kind of focused around what the name is. There's a huge saturation in Toronto of all of what was popular, but there was no one speaking for the kind of outsiders and the underground stuff, so I put together the night. We sold out two in a row, so it's been a pretty crazy ride for something we just started. We also did one in Miami and that one sold out as well and went way over cap all night. Had a pretty amazing lineup. I was really lucky to get a lot of my friends to come out and play.
5) Who were some of your inspirations growing up?
The literal reason I produce music is because of a guy not a lot of people know but was legendary back in the day ... his name is Dillinger! He really inspired me to make music. I remember hearing one of his songs in the club and just thinking I have to figure out how this is done. I've actually said that a lot. I've given praise to him several times before when asked because he's absolutely like a legend. Really influenced by Prodigy, Basement Jaxx ... a lot of the older stuff that broke through and made it to that worldwide level was very influential because back in the day, it was such a crazy thing that that would even happen.
6) Your favorite all-time song from one of those artists?
Oh man, I can't do it. That's always the toughest question. I mean, like, I guess "Breathe" by Prodigy has to be one of them. Its still gives me the shivers, which is nuts! It still gives me the goosebumps on the back on my neck when I hear it. That's crazy for a song you've listened to hundreds of times.
7) Is there a song in your sets, either yours or someone else's, that when you're DJ-ing your fans have come to know you for? Is there a song that brings every body to the floor?
I feel like a lot of people are waiting for me to play "Waiting Up;" I guess it's like my biggest track out. A lot of times you get that sense when they're just huddling around ,waiting until you're going to play that one -- and then there's that climatic moment when you're like, "Oh yeah! Okay, you did it." That's kind of a funny thing because I always wonder, do they think you're not going to play it? It's your big one! You're going to do it, you know. Trying to think of another one. I've actually been asked to ... I brought back Crooker's "Day N Nite" and gave it another round and now it's going crazy in sets. I love it for me, because it's very full-circle kind of song since that sound has become really popular again. I feel like there's a lot of kids that maybe don't remember it from the first time, so when they hear it now even though they remember it, putting it in context, oh wow, this is like a hot song again because this sound is back. So that's been a good one for sets lately.
8) Now when you started DJ-ing you were probably doing three, four, five, six hours in a club. What is your average set now?
No. I was in a duo. It was really hard to break in. We were doing like two-hour sets, tops. But it wasn't like the house guys that were doing six-hour Danny Tenaglia Sunrise sets. It ranges from doing an hour to an hour-and-a-half, but generally speaking, whenever I'm in a club and I'm headlining and they're willing to let me push it I'll go upwards of two hours, two-and-a-half. I've been talking about doing an extended set in Toronto, No Neon, that's going to take a little bit of planning. It's kind of a tough thing to undertake. Opening and closing for yourself. I feel that's going to take a little more. I freestyle when I go up there; I don't do the same things.
9) You've recently signed to Thrive Music, with a brand new single featuring Delaney Jane. What can you tell us about the song?
It's called "Still Waiting;" it's a continuation of a thought of a feeling in the song I just talked about -- "Waiting Up." "Waiting Up" is a song I did about a year ago and it kind of had a deep meaning to me. It was about the feeling of really missing someone you know is never coming back. It had a nice sample in it, but I always wanted to do more with it and tell more of a story,so I got together with Delaney and since the hook was already there from the previous song, we sat together at a piano and we wrote the verse and put it together to be that continuation of that feeling. I couldn't be happier. It's got a lot of meaning to me, but its really going to connect with a lot of people because it's something that every one can understand.
10) How did you meet Delaney Jane? I know she's working with Borgeous, Oliver Heldens...
Actually it's crazy. In Toronto, there's this place called the Music Mansion, two mansions side by side and it's a bunch of studios. A guy named Shaun Frank who does a lot of work with Oliver Heldens and a lot of the Spinnin' guys, and he's coming up out of Toronto as well ... he has a studio in the pool house, which I guess is what you'd call it in America. It's called the coach house in Canada. Essentially a shed in the back; he's kind of in charge of the whole place and I know him through an old friend.
I never really knew that Delaney sang. She moved into the studio last summer and so she just kind of lives two floors up from my studio. She started working more with Shaun then me but I kind of heard her on a couple of records and I was like, "Yo, we should do something." You know, it's really nice to be able to sit down with a writer as opposed to sending ideas back and forth via the computer, which is really an emotionless experience. So it was really cool to be able to actually sit down with her. Really dope. Having her up there is awesome because you really like her work -and she's is also in close proximity, so it makes getting these big songs together a lot easier.
Are you touring now?
I'm in the middle of a tour that runs for three months, but one of the months is off, so I'm finishing out June now and then I have a lot of dates in July. I'm doing the big ones later this year: Hard Summer, playing Splash House in August. Have a bunch of West Coast dates in July, which is really good. They've been calling for me to get out West real bad.
What's favorite city or venue to DJ in?
You know what, that's a tough one. I've always been a fan of Beta in Denver; that's a really good club. I'm going to go with my hometown, though, Toronto. I tour everywhere but there's nothing like coming home and getting the love of your city. I feel like there's a lot of people who don't get that and then there's a lot of people who take that for granted when they do have it. I'm definitely not one of those people. It's a really crazy thing -- when I come back off the road and have the craziest show that I've played be at home! I'm really lucky and blessed in that way.
Speaking of your home town, I was recently in Toronto; I didn't necessarily know where to go eat. Next time, I'm in Toronto and I want a really good meal, where am I going?
If you're in Toronto you definitely have to get Caribbean food; that's my go-to. On the higher end, if you're trying to have a nice meal, I don't know; that's a tough one. I eat a lot, I'm like a hole-in-the-wall kind of person. Definitely stick to the Caribbean food when you're there and you'll get some stuff you probably don't get in other places.
With all the traveling you do, what's the one must-have travel item?
An iPad that is full of movies ... that's for sure! A sleeping mask ... that's a new one for me. I'm all about it now. I used to think that it was weird and laugh at people on the plane with it ... and now I'm all about it.