While the coronavirus pandemic has hit the electronic music industry hard, for the artists at its core, such as Hannah Wants, it has also offered an opportunity to step back and get the creative juices flowing.
The net result is a full-to-the-brim release schedule, with Hannah set to release forthcoming cuts on Ultra Music, Armada, Positiva and of course her own, newly-rebranded imprint, Etiquette. Her latest release, which lands today (25 June) on Ultra Music, is Never Gonna Tell You, which can be purchased/streamed here, while she also recently announced a new Saturday evening slot on the legendary Kiss FM.
In short, 2021 is shaping up to be a positive year for the Birmingham native. 909originals caught up with her.
Hi Hannah, thanks for chatting to us. Let’s start by taking about the current single, Never Gonna Tell You. How would you describe it?
Thank you! And thanks for having me. I’d describe Never Gonna Tell You as a stand out, elevating and emotive vocal house track; something that works on a dance floor but equally as well on radio and in all settings. This is the most excited I’ve been for a release, ever. I’m super proud of the track.
It’s your second release on Ultra Music this year (after Lift Off, back in February). What’s the label like to work with?
I’ve really enjoyed working with Ultra so far, we work really well together as a team and the publishing deal I have with them also has no doubt elevated my productions because of their world class vocalist / artist connections. Lift Off ended up being featured on a global Jaguar advert, which was insane and I feel like Never Gonna Tell You could do really, really well.
Has it been difficult to get into the mindset of making music for the dancefloor, with clubbing closed for so long now?
Yep, 100%, to the point I haven’t been making music for the dancefloor – which pre COVID madness was my sole aim. To be honest I feel like that mental freedom in the studio has allowed for so much more creativity and it’s enabled me to make my best music yet, without a doubt.
I think it was an error of mine previously to only really think of the dancefloor and rave reactions and I’ve had so much fun experimenting with different sounds and styles. I have so much music in the pipeline that’s gonna surprise you and I cannot wait for you to hear it.
How have the last 16 months been for you, personally? Has it been both negative and positive?
The last 16 months have been extremely challenging both in a professional and personal sense, last year featured a cancer diagnosis, the loss of my passion/purpose and livelihood – DJing – and a very traumatic and public relationship break up all within the space of six months. 2020 tested me hard and to be honest I’m still healing and processing, but I’m in a much happier place now and looking forward to ultimately getting back to what I love to do.
Not touring for 16 months has been super difficult but I’m a big believer in having a positive attitude, and whilst times are tough right now with no end of the madness in sight, I’ve enjoyed investing all my extra time on myself and in the studio etc.
What have you learned about yourself from going through your recent health challenges?
That I’m a strong and resilient human! Through struggle comes strength and I feel like tough times are the times where you learn and grow most. Despite two cancer diagnoses, at age 30 and 32, I’m grateful for the lessons it has taught me and I live a much healthier and balanced lifestyle now because of the path I’ve walked.
Mostly, my perspective on the beautiful thing we call life has changed massively and I’m so grateful for the simplest of things, as we all should be. Every day really is a blessing and having this outlook on life has definitely helped me get through the last 16 months, too.
Earlier this year you announced plans to ‘pause’ the Ettiquette label and rebrand it – what has changed with the label, what different approach are you now taking?
Yeah so with club world grinding to a halt, it felt kinda pointless releasing club music and so we took the opportunity to re brand, re-fine, level up and go again but stronger.
I’d personally lost my connection with the branding and knew we could do better, and Etiquette’s branding now, in my opinion, is one of the strongest label brands out there. Whilst our music policy hasn’t changed as such, it’s been refined and strengthened.
I learned a lot of lessons from the first two years of running a label – I learned what I want and what I don’t want and we have so much fire in the pipeline, ranging from both established and up and coming producers.
You’ve been living in Ibiza the past few months, and have plans to potentially move there. What has that experience been like, to live there with no tourists around, as opposed to visiting there for the summer season?
I decided in December to move out for three months but it ended up turning into four and a half months. I’ve been visiting the White Isle for over ten years but this was actually my first experience of Ibiza during the winter and spring and it was incredible. Visiting the beaches that are usually rammed out, but instead seeing them completely empty, was amazing and it was so beautiful to see the other, more spiritual, side of the island.
Over the past while you have been performing the ‘What Hannah Wants – Ibiza Mix’ series, in which you explored some of your favourite genres. Do you think livestreaming will continue as a medium even as clubs start to reopen?
I hope not, ha ha. I’m so done with live streams. Nothing will ever beat the connection playing to a live crowd and it’s something that I’ve missed SO much.
How has your approach to music/performing changed since you first started DJing more than a decade ago?
I think naturally my sound and DJ style has evolved over the years – just like everything in this world does.
Recent test events (such as The First Dance event in Liverpool) have illustrated just how eager people are to return to the dancefloor. But is there anything that you think will be different now about dance music/clubbing, compared to before the pandemic?
I really hope after the time out we’ve all had to endure from the scene that when we come back to the rave, we come back with a lot less hate, ego and judgement. I hope we come back with more love, appreciation and support for each other. Life is too short.
[Thanks Hannah for talking to us. Never Gonna Tell You is out now on Ultra Music]