Talking the talk with Sinjin Hawke

The only competition Sinjin Hawke considers important is himself. Continuing to better his wildly eclectic, funky beat mastered tapestries, the Montreal bootleg maestro delivers his first mix in two years, exclusive to i-D.

by Milly McMahon
04 February 2014, 4:10pm

Sinjin Hawke

Listen to Sinjin Hawke in the mix here, now.

"I've been rinsing the Sweet Pussy Pauline acapellas recently, l need to relax with that." Listening to this flavoursome, thumping, Sinjin Hawke mix feels like a multi-dimensional experience. Producing rookie, anthemic, electronic music with conceptual audio visual angles in mind, bootleg wizard Sinjin marries the experience of sound stimulation with new technologies. His latest synaesthetically styled music video, entitled ThunderScan  took the aesthetic of 90's sci-fi rave flyers and and applied it to the vogue ballroom context. Sinjin's original approach to his craft is ambitious. Devising the live performances meticulously, commonly incorporating technicolor, laser projection grids, Sinjin transports his audiences to a higher state of consciousness. Sampling, remixing and reworking iconic R & B anthems, Countdown - Beyonce, alongside new, undiscovered dancehall drops Dre Skull - First Time, he harmoniously blends rap vocals, over furious horns, frenetic instrumentals and ghetto-house beats, the Barcelona based producer and DJ channels powerful energy on deck. "I just want to be stimulated and music comes in all different flavours. Sometimes I want to blow out the energy and push a song to its maximum point, and sometimes I want to make songs like VClipse or Private Party with a bit of restraint and sensuality" he enthuses, easily.  Plucked from obscurity by the illusive but brilliant label Pelican Fly, Sinjin has now come to be regarded with cult-like status. London-based DJ publication and collective Southern Hospitality first backed the skinny gangster with a view to evolve his sound gradually. Describing DJ'ing as a love affair, he first fell crazy in love with the booth after booking DJ Rashad to play at his club night back in the Summer of 2011, instilling a confidence in him that would help develop his now master-like mixing skills. Progressing from classical chorus vocal work as a kid to making rap and R&B aged 11 to now being very much focussed on ghetto-tech and crunk, Sinjin is not only a brutally talented beat maker, he is a lad of integrity, with a heart of sunshine coloured gold. Sat comfortably in his spot back in Barcelona, wearing a Chicago Bulls sweater, with sleepdust still decorating his bleary eyes Sinjin is about to clamber aboard his bike to cycle to the studio and work on some remixes. Blessing i-D with the delivery of this latest frenetic 60 minute long mix, his first for two years, Sinjin relives partying with man mountain DJ Assualt and discusses why musical honesty is essential to his creative processes. Lock in and look below. "

What labels and kicks are amongst the most treasured in your wardrobe? 
Most of my favorite pieces of clothing are actually made by my girlfriend. Shoe-wise I love pretty much everything Nike has ever designed for Penny Hardaway… I would collect them but I hate the idea of having a bunch of shoes just for the sake of it so I only really have a few pairs.

What do you religiously carry on your person? 
Flash drive, ear plugs, phone, wallet, keys.

Your live set up predominantly consists of hardware. Where do you source new equipment? 
Spain doesn't have any shops that sell the type stuff im looking for, so I end up getting most my gear online.

Why do you think you were first naturally drawn to R&B?
The reason why I love R&B so much is because it's incredibly honest and taps into your deepest emotions, there's nothing else that can make you melt the same way.

What R&B anthems have worked their way into your sets the most frequently throughput your career?
Ciara - Surgeon
Ciara - Speechless
The Dream - Fancy
The Dream - Sex Intelligent
Brandy - Never Say Never
R Kelly x Chris Brown - Pregnant
Jeremih - Waiter
Teefli - Fuck That Nigga

Your music is generally high energy, are you an overly active minded guy? 
You could say that, but in the end of the day I just want to be stimulated and music comes in all different flavours. Sometimes I want to blow out the energy and push a song to its maximum point, and sometimes I want to make songs like VClipse or Private Party with a bit of restraint and sensuality..

How is your music directionally representational of you as a person and how have you progressed the way your music has evolved since the early days?
I'm just trying to reach the ultimate point of musical honesty and a lot of that has to do with finding my counterpoint in others' music and making little musical relationships. I don't think I'm anywhere near reaching my end goal yet but I'm becoming more and more aware of my counterpoints and influences, and surprisingly over the past two years alot of my main influences are becoming my counterpoints. It's a bit surreal, I never thought I'd be making music with Just Blaze or Gangsta Boo, or be asked to remix DJ Funk, or Assault, but it's been so amazing.

You've said you first had an epiphany when you saw DJ Funk and DJ Assault perform at a boat party in the old port, how did that play out? 
I was just young and didn't know much about electronic music or its origins, I grew up listening to rap and trying to make rap beats and at that point the electronic music in Montreal was either aggressive electro-house, or minimal techno/deep house so to see these guys from Chicago/Detroit bring such a raw powerful energy to a party was really exciting to me and it was all relatable to the rap that I grew up with.

Whats your fave DJ Assault track of all time? 

Whats Assault like on a one to one basis, have the two of you partied together? 
On a one to one basis, he's a bit detached and in his own world, all he cares about is girls, everything else is secondary. We booked him im Montreal a long time ago and at one point during his set some girls found their way into the DJ booth and he just put on a mega-mix and grinded with them while the mixtape played out. It was cool though, everyone found it endearing and he played an extra 45 minutes at the end to make up for it. Also I remember that he went to the strip club the day after the party and I definitely wanted to experience DJ Assault in his element at a strip-club so I asked if i could come along, but all I got was a blank stare and a dry "nope".

What happened at your prom? 
I never had an official prom but the song Prom Nite was inspired from the scene in Carrie where she flips out and telekinetically murders everybody at her prom. So no, no murders happened at my prom.

Europeans or Americans, pick a side. 
Musically I'd pick America hands down, but for everything else I gotta side with Europe.

Whats on your rider right now? 
I haven't looked at it in a while but from what I remember there's vodka, assorted fruit juices, a vegetarian meal, and absolutely no Ryanair.

What new samples are you excited about right now? 
I've been rinsing the Sweet Pussy Pauline acapellas recently, i need to relax with that. haha

What eats you? 
Unanswered emails, fake friends, onions, animal cruelty, cockroaches…I'm ok with insect-cruelty though.

What direction you do see Hip hop taking for 2014? 
Instrumentally I think we'll see the death of the huge 808/skittery hi-hat/Mike Will Made It style bangers and a resurgence of the Neptunes, Timbaland, Scott Storch palette. The west coast / bay area has also been cranking out some amazing music and all of the signs have been pointing to a big year for them … also I hope Chicago bop blows up, im literally obsessed with everything Sicko Mobb has been putting out.

Aside from music what really holds your attention? 
Nothing really holds my attention these days, its 2014 and we have iPhones… music barely holds my attention. Thats partly why I've been focusing so much on these Fractal Fantasy pieces, to try to create a musical experience that you can't just skim through and discard.

Your music Fractal Fantasy videos are so incredibly visual, do you see these shapes and colours synaesthetically when your making/listening to music or is it something that just comes after? 
Every Fractal Fantasy piece has an underlying concept and the visuals are just a means to get the point across. For instance for latest piece with MikeQ we took the vogue-ballroom template and a put it into the rave context, the working title for that song was actually Rave Trak, so for the video we took the aesthetic of 90's sci-fi rave flyers and and applied it to the vogue ballroom context. The visual component isn't just an expression of synaesthecia to make the music look interesting, it's a tool to get the ultimate point across to the audience.

What happens at a private Sinjin Hawke party? 
Wouldn't be a private party if I announced it on the internet.

Where are you off to now?
Next stop is Milan

What should we all go and check out online, now..?
This, the best part is 6 mins in... 



Text Milly McMahon

Sinjin Hawke
Milly McMahon
music interviews