By Mystery Girl
Australian born DJ and producer Hook N Sling (Anthony Maniscalco) is on a roll, and his latest tracks are proof that he isn’t slowing down any time soon. Maniscalco started gaining noticeable recognition in the industry in 2011 with “Take You Higher.” He then teamed up with Australian duo Nervo to create “Reason.” Recognized for his remixes and collaborations, the LA-based producer has worked with and done remixes for industry heavy hitters Calvin Harris, Kaskade, Flo Rida, Lana Del Rey, Galantis, The Chainsmokers, Far East Movement and more.
His most recent project includes his collaboration with Galantis to conjure up “Love On Me.” Less than a month later, Hook N Sling released a remix of The Chainsmokers’ “All We Know” at the end of October. A faster, more upbeat version of the original record, his remix brings a refreshing dance vibe to the song. Per usual, the producer does a good job of giving the track a new life and energy with his own twist (the violins are a nice touch of color), while still preserving the heart and soul of the original.
The “All We Know” remix was one of many lively dance tracks in Hook N Sling's arsenal during his headlining set at New York’s Lavo Nightclub on October 21. Looking around the packed nightclub during his set, it was apparent to me that the crowd was feeling his wave. Another noteworthy observation about the DJ: his passion for the craft. Focused and channeled, he kept the energy high and the crowd moving with good music outside the safety bubble of the easy go-to crowd-pleasing hits. It wasn’t about the scene, the flashy lights, the beautiful women surrounding him on stage; it was about the music, a refreshing thing to see in an industry where talent can be very easily curbed by and replaced with theatrics.
Just a few hours before his Lavo appearance, I had a sit down with the DJ for an interview. He discussed current and future projects with noteworthy names in the industry, his start in the business, early musical influences, why he digs playing Lavo, and more. He also tells us why he’d want to be a coffee pot! See the full Q&A below.
MYSTERY GIRL’S INTERVIEW WITH HOOK N SLING
-MG: Where did the name Hook N Sling come from?
Hook N Sling: It’s the name of an old funk song, an old 60s record by Eddie Bo. When I first started producing I was sampling old records and that was the record I sampled the most.
-MG: You’re from Australia; when did you move to the U.S.?
Hook N Sling: I moved in 2012, so I been here 4 years now
-MG: Your most recent project is “Love On Me” with Galantis. What was it like working with them on that project?
Hook N Sling: Really good, I learned a lot from working with Christian and Linus. Christian, he’s done some amazing records; he wrote “Toxic” for Brittany, he’s done some amazing stuff. He introduced me to a lot of cool people.
Working with guys at that level makes you up your game so it was amazing. It was a long process too. Those guys don’t settle for an average record and neither do I to be honest, so I think it’s good to finally be like let’s make this amazing, let’s make it a smash, let’s change this, do that. There were a lot of changes back and forth and it’s cool working with them.
-MG: Did you hook up with Galantis from you doing the “Gold Dust” Remix?
Hook N Sling: They loved the remix; they played it at Ultra last year and I think we just then started talking and staying in touch and then I did a mix for Miike Snow later in the year, which Christian is also a part of. I think it was just the right flow and a lot of high vibes so we were just like let’s do something together.
-MG: How'd you feel working on the remix for The Chainsmokers’ “All We Know.”
Hook N Sling: The guys sent me the productions and I’m obviously a big fan of The Chainsmokers so to work on that record was insane. I’ll be playing it tonight, it’s gonna be good.
-MG: How do you decide what songs you’re going to remix? What’s that process like, how do you take it and make it your own?
Hook N Sling: If there’s something special in a song, I always gravitate towards that song. Whenever I choose a song that I want to remix, I always can almost hear what it’s gonna sound like in the end. So I kind of will be like, “Oh I know what I can do with that, ok yeah let’s do it,” rather than, “Ok send me the prods and I’ll see what I can do.”
Normally I go to remix a song and then I pretty much make up my mind within like the hour. Generally, I don’t think there’s ever been a remix I’ve said yes to and then not handed in. I’m pretty efficient like that; I know what I can make work. I don’t know, you just have this feeling about a song when there’s something in there that you can form upon and make your own or put back together and make your own.
-MG: Tell me about your collaboration with Sam Feldt.
Hook N Sling: We just did a record called “Open Your Eyes,” which is coming out on Spinnin’ Records. We haven’t set a release date yet but it should be before the end of the year, maybe like beginning of next year. It’s kind of like Hook N Sling meets Sam Feldt; it’s a tropical uplifting kind of house record, it’s good.
-MG: Who’s your dream person that you would love to work with?
Hook N Sling: I was just saying to someone the other day that I want to work with Robyn; I think she’s amazing. I don’t know, it’s really tough; I suppose I haven’t put much thought into it really. Galantis were always my dream collaborators and then that happened. I suppose as things come a long you just have to take the opportunities and go for it.
-MG: You play guitar. How does that influence your music?
Hook N Sling: When I was growing up my dad used to be a guitarist and he just had some guitars lying around the house so I’d always teach myself like a few chords in my favorite songs and strum out a few chords, Google all the records I love and just learn how to play them. So there was a lot of music around the house. Right now I don’t necessarily write with it but I do, on my time off, love working with basic ideas or even just playing simple stuff that I love. I love it.
DJing came a lot longer after the guitar. Electronic music was something that I kind of discovered with friends and throwing parties back in Australia. I was a DJ before I was a producer, so I would like play parties and actually put on a night and invite all my friends. It all started when I threw this massive house party and a promoter from a local club was there and he was like “Do you wanna throw this party at my club?” and I was like “Yeah sure.” So that’s how it all began, offending my neighbors.
-MG: You’ve played at Lavo in the past. What can people expect from your performance tonight? What do you like about playing there?
Hook N Sling: Lavo is a really cool crowd. It’s a sophisticated New York crowd but it’s a musically educated crowd. So I feel like I can play a lot of new stuff and at the same time it’s just a good party. I feel like I can play what I want; it’s just a good cool crowd that’s just down for a great time. They’re accepting of the DJs, it’s a good vibe.
-MG: I’ll end it with one of my random questions. If your soul got transferred into an object right now and you had to live out the rest of your life as this object, what object would you be?
Hook N Sling: I think I’d wanna be like a coffee pot or something because I wanna be in the kitchen, I want to see what’s going on. I don’t wanna be some chair or some shit. I wanna be like in the thick of things, I wanna see what’s going on. Maybe like a clock on the wall, keep people on time. Random question, random answer.