Hey, I’m a 23 year old fringe dweller from Edmonton Alberta. My name is Hales Nwad, it’s my real name spelled backwards, i’ll let you figure that one out. I'm affiliated with Night Comfort Live, which is also based out of Edmonton, we throw wicked fun parties.
What was your intention for your Excursions mix?
My intentions with this mix was to explore lust, love, & summertime. It’s hot out, were all a little freaky and I feel like those subjects come up for a lot of us. Also, to explore different forms of house music, because I usually just find the weirdest music out there and mix it together. I wanted to try sticking to one genre for once, and really pay tribute to early house pioneers, as well as those developing new forms within house music.
How did you go about selecting music?
Mmmm. I was thinking about what music I could skate well to. I was also riding around in vehicles a lot with friends when gathering music for this mix, so thought of music that would put us all in a chill space while we cruised. Tracks to feel light and fun. Tracks that would help add to the narrative of summer. Also my friend Jackson (Jak Mak) & I made a song, it happened to be house. I wanted to add to my mixes in a way I haven’t before so I chose a few tracks that I thought would go well with the track we made.
Who, or what, were your early passions and influences?
My earliest influences with music were big band & soul artists that were played on CBC radio 1, Bjork, Portishead, System of the Down and Enya. This is what I was exposed to as a kid.
When I started to choose my own influences it was absurdist artists like Laura Crystal Carver, and Daniel Johnston that really made me want to continue with music, just because they didn’t give a fuck how their expression was perceived, they just expressed themselves. Laura was actually a terrible musician, but is so odd and genuine it worked out enough to get her places she wanted to go.
There was a point I was getting bored with music, that was pretty depressing, so that’s when I really started to explore. At the time I was living in a smaller community without internet at home, so I spent a lot of time in libraries, taking out any cd I thought looked remotely interesting. It was a smaller community so the selection wasn’t amazing, but I got exposure to a lot of variety. I started listening to everything, from Classical, hip-hop, Psychedelic, Punk, Nigerian musicians such at Fela Kuti, 90’s British Indie Rock a lot of random local folk musicians. There were a few, dare I say “EDM” CD’s at this library, Moby, Animal Collective and Radiohead. I listened to “Song Tongs” & “Kid A” over and over again for months. I was mesmerized. It wasn’t until years later that I understood the immensity of electronic music, & the history of it, how far we can take it. Although I do value almost every form of music there is. It’s just different exaltation, different movement.
Who, or what, inspires you today?
Human relationships, the way everything now seems to be coming to the surface and how we are able to have self realization of certain aspects of being human that are innate within us all. Rhythm, & providing a soulful experience.
So many people are inspirational. So many animals are inspirational.The earth really inspires me.
My friends, I really want to see them happy, and enjoying themselves, I think about them often when I DJ or when I make a mix, just people I’ve learned to love.
Fellow artist inspirations over the past few years have been, Suzi Analog, Jlin, Calsutmoran, Hp Shawty, Kevin the Creep, Lil Ugly Mane, Animal Collective, Lee Gamble, Laura Crystal Carver, Bjork, Daniel Johnston, SPK, Flying Lotus, Sven K, BarnabyBennett text chunk, oldbooth, jak mak, Swan Meat, Jade Statues, Foodman, D.J.Fulltono, Kush Jones, DJ FLP, Hood Joplin, Jodie Overland, Homesick, Little Snake, 666 Mafia, well, Juicy J and DJ Paul, Opus 3, D Tiffany, Of course pioneers like Dj Screw, Dj Rashad, Freddie Knuckles, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Jeff Mills, Mike Banks, Marc Mac, Dego. There’s honestly so many people that influence me, and have changed the way I approach my own creation of music.
How has your path, intentions or expectations changed as an artist since you started producing and/or DJing?
I started DJing knowing music meant alot to me, knowing there needed to be some changes in the way we approach partying and celebration. I used to be a “partier”, & there tends to be acceptance within the club scene that comes really quickly, it unfortunately often times also comes with a acceptance of substance abuse and being put in really vulnerable situations, as a young woman especially.
So I really wanted create more spaces where the music was so good, and people had so much to look at, see, and enjoy that they felt less inclined to have to use shit to stay up and enjoy the night. Also a space where vulnerable people felt safe, safe to fully express themselves without feeling threatened once they’ve done this.
I’ll never forget this one party I went to where the girls started going topless, it was because they felt safe to, no one harassed them, they freed the nipple in peace because it was really hot in there, and they may have been on molly also, but regardless! No one sexualized them or made them feel uncomfortable for doing what comes natural when it’s hot and the music's good.
That’s my magnum opus now, which is to play at, and throw parties where people just feel really comfortable to express and just be.
Also to keep exploring music ferociously, and find new ways to incorporate my eclectic tastes into something palatable, and movement worthy.
Over the next few years I’m placing my focus on making my own tracks and adding to this very large conversation that is dance music.
Any advice for up and comers who want to contribute to their community?
Study, study, study, push your ego aside, and feel the rhythm.
Use whatever you have available, don’t be afraid to make a whole track using audacity if that’s all you have access to. In saying that, the library is your friend, especially here in Edmonton, we have a great library with a lot of resources for artists and creatives. Delve into VST’s if you have the time for to learn them, there are alot of free resources ,and you can really push your tracks to the next level once you’ve learned a few. If you have money, get into analog because the learning curb isn’t as steep.
You may jump into things, thinking there are a million social norms and rules and guidelines, but there really are none, other than to be kind and respectful. Be genuine don’t force relationships. When it comes to creation I encourage people coming up in the community to play what they like, be intentional, & understand that your shaping people's experience of whatever event you are playing.
Mother Nature's Orchestra - You Are My [Honey Badger Records]
Deniece Williams - Free [Colombia]
Primitive Trust - Little Love [Aus Music]
Divine Interface - Divide It [CGI Records]
Louke Man - Wheres My Adrien [*Self Published]
Nackt - Let’s Go Shopping [Left Hand Path]
Ennio - Ready 4 Love (original mix) [Exposure Music]
HOUSE PARTY - IF U C EM POINT EM OUT ( SCARY HOES ) [*Self published]
Lenny Larusso - The Silk Dub [Snazzy Traxx]
Louke Man - Petal to the Metal [Self Published]
Dj Steaw - Frog Man [Hot Haus Recs]
Dj Seinfeld - Flyin’ Thru Sunrise [Endotherm]
Nathan Melja - No No No [Technicolour]
808 State - Pacific 707 [ZTT]
Seb Wildblood - Plants [Omena]
Bit of Rhythm - Dj Bowlcut [HAUS of ALTR]
Opus III - It’s Going to Be a Fine Day [Eastwest Records America]
Hales Nwad & JAK MAK - Passerine [*Self Published]