DANCE music is leading the charge when it comes to gender diversity within the workplace.
House music was built on an inclusive culture so this balance should really have been there from the start. Thankfully in 2019 the scene boasts some incredible female DJs giving their male counterparts a run for their money with the likes of Amelie Lens, Peggy Gou, The Black Madonna, Honey Dijon and Eli & Fur smashing dance floors across the world. The International Music Summit has also just announced that they will be partnering with leading female empowerment organisation in the music industry SHESAID.SO for the event this year, further highlighting the push towards a more balanced sector.
One of the most successful leading ladies to emerge over the last few years has been Hannah Wants. She has established herself among the most sought after DJs in the world with a string of successful releases behind her, a BBC Radio 1 residency, a Radio One Essential Mix and Fabric Live release under her belt and an army of fans turning out to hear her play at clubs and festivals across the world from Australia to Ibiza. She launched her label Etiquette last year and is just about to embark on an intimate club tour of the UK and Ireland.
We caught up with Hannah Wants this week to find out more and she has also very kindly recorded an mix for The Night Bazaar Sessions which you can listen to below.
Your UK and Ireland tour kicks off this month. How are you feeling about it and are there any specific dates/locations that you are particularly looking forward to?
I always look forward to getting back into the clubs after a January break and going back on tour always excites me, this specific tour even more so than any I think. Every date has sold out in advance bar London which went on sale later than the rest so I think it’s safe to say they’re all gonna pack a vibe! I’m excited for all the dates under this new tour concept to be honest. I’m starting in Belfast and Dublin this weekend, Belfast I haven’t played in for a while and Dublin is one of my favourite places in the world to play so it’s gonna be a heavy weekend!
You have said this tour is very much more stripped back from ones you have previously done. Can you tell us a little more about this?
So basically I’ve toured the U.K and Ireland since 2015 and all have been large capacity, big production with even bigger line ups and I just wanted to switch things up. Don’t get me wrong playing in front of 1000-2000 people in a club is incredible but there’s nothing quite like DJ’ing close quarters with 200-500 ravers where the DJ booth and crowd feel as one. So yeah, I’m gonna be playing in 15 of the best, smallest, grittiest clubs in the UK. I’m also going to be playing 3 hour extended sets which is going to allow me to go on much more of a musical journey as opposed to my usual 1.5 hour peak time sets. I’m hyped to get back behind the decks!
You launched your label Etiquette late last year. How have the first releases been received?
Amazingly so! I’m putting out what I believe to be my strongest material to date and we’ve got some really exciting artists featuring on the label in 2019!
Why did you feel the time was right for you to launch a label?
Launching a record label was something I’d wanted to do for years but if you’re gonna do something it has to be done right otherwise there’s not much point in doing it in my opinion. I had lots to learn, I had to be in a position where I was 100% happy with my productions and I also just wanted it to feel right.
Do you think in 2019 having a label and being a producer is the only way to success as a DJ?
Not always no but unfortunately in today’s game it helps. The mad thing is is that production, DJ’ing and running a record label are TOTALLY different fields and talents. Just because you can engineer music does not necessarily mean you can DJ and work a crowd in a club and visa versa.
Changing the subject slightly, I see from Social Media you have just completed a detox in Sri Lanka. Can you tell us a bit about it and also how you go about staying healthy in body and mind as a DJ? Mental well-being has been a hot topic in dance music specifically over the last 18 months.
My new, healthy, balanced outlook on life came from a very unexpected breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 30 last year. I chose to head down a more natural path of healing and changed my life. I thought I was healthy but I wasn’t, work came first before anything but now it doesn’t. For anyone that’s interested I wrote some infos about my journey on my Instagram page but annual detoxes is now something that will be a part of my life, it’s something that everyone in the Western world should do due to the amount of toxins we’re subject to as well as our life style choices.
In terms of staying healthy body and mind as a DJ you have to get the work / life balance correct which is something I’d never done before. The gym for me is key, I eat an organic plant based diet wherever possible, I make better life style choices now and I’m on a much more spiritual path in life which definitely helps.
As a successful female in quite a male dominated industry what advice would you give young girls wanting to follow in your footsteps. It is great to see more and more great female artists breaking through.
Don’t let no gender gap put you off! Fuck that! If music, production or DJ’ing is your passion, go head first after your goals! Don’t expect things to happen overnight and rightly so they shouldn’t. Learn your trade, get so good people can’t ignore you.
Kicking off the year with a UK tour is a great start for you but what else have you got on the horizon for 2019 in terms of both releases and summer shows that you can share with us?
I’m currently sitting on about 10 new and unheard tracks. I can’t wait to road test them in the clubs and eventually get them released, I’m gonna have to keep infos on the latter a secret for now butttt I can say a new EP should be dropping from myself in March via Etiquette.
And in terms of DJ’ing it’s gonna be another year on the road living my little DJ dream! After my tour finishes at the end of March I’ll fly straight to Amsterdam for Spring Break then to Austria for Snowbombing and then we’re almost in May which is the start of festival season. It’s gonna be another exciting year!
What artists are doing the business for you in your sets at the moment and do you have any top tips of ones we should be watching for in 2019.
Big fan of Matt Sassari’s, Eli Brown’s, Frederick & Kusse’s productions, I’d love to feature all three on Etiquette for sure! As for DJ’s… Look out for Fleur Shore!