VIBE Exclusive: Hook N Sling – “The good stuff is the negative stuff”


House music producer Anthony Maniscalco, aka Hook N Sling, comes off as an unassuming guy. This is unexpected considering the power and talent the DJ brings from behind the decks during live shows. The laid back Australian may seem carefree and lackadaisical when you first sit down and talk with him, but this up and coming virtuoso has been busy as of late, and is paving a road to make a big name for himself on the international stage. Having recently moved from Australia to LA, he admittedly hates to perpetuate the cliché, house music is truly blowing up in America right now, creating a hotbed of demand for his sound and talent.

We sat down with Hook before his first NYC club show (catch some of his tracks from the club here!) at LAVO Thursday Aug 9th, where a crowd of VIP New Yorkers were spoiled rotten with an incredibly rare showing of original tracks from the land down under, reminding us that sometimes we forget just how good we have it in this city. And after seeing his act, we have a piece of advice for house lovers: If you ever have the chance to pack into a club to see Hook spin, take it – you’ll be in for a treat. Hook spills to VIBE about his pre show rituals like scoping out the crowd to get a feel for the kind of music he wants to play (it has to do with the way the ladies are dressed), his take on playing festivals versus club venues (clubs), but most notably, his insight about what it was like for him to work with fellow Aussie stars Liv and Mim of Nervo on their latest collaboration ‘Reason,’ which will be released at the end of this month on Beatport.

VIBE: Where does the collaboration lay in working with a duo like Nervo, who are not only vocalists and writers, but also producers and DJs themselves?
Hook: Working with someone like Nervo could happen in lots of different ways, with this record … it was like a two-piece puzzle. We only had 24 hours to really write it … I had jammed out the instrumental and they came in … all 3 of us were in the room and I said “you know, you would really sound great on this,” or “this would sound great in this key.” Then they started jamming out ideas, and it was all very fluid.

You said that when you originally started the track, you didn’t know you would be collaborating with them. So when a talent like Nervo comes on board, does it change the track for you
It does. I’m quite precious about it. I want what’s best for the record, everyone wants that – so do the girls. I know that if they did something they weren’t happy with, they wouldn’t want to put it out. We’re buddies and we’ve done shows together, so we’re good enough friends to be honest with each other.

This was the first track where you actually got to sit down and work with an artist in the same room, whereas usually you work and collaborate remotely. What does that do for the quality of the track?
It’s good, really good … You have a different connection to the record, because when you’ve worked with someone in the same room, you feel like you’ve both done the hard work on it, and it creates a good artistic relationship with someone and you feel like you can be more honest and the relationship is more honest.

That honesty aspect in regards to getting feedback after the track is done; do you find that the feedback is always positive?
Never always positive. The good stuff is the negative stuff. It’s “how do you make it better,” not “this is amazing.” No one wants to hear that. Sometimes you only [have a short time] to finish a remix, so you say, “tell me what you don’t like, not what you do like.” That kind of stuff is important … but the girls, they’re really open to working with anyone.

After getting to work with Nervo on this track, do you have a wish list for future artists that you want to work with?
I don’t actually. I really should, I should write that down. I know that sounds weird, but I don’t. I always take things track by track. I’m never really that far ahead of myself.

Lay ear to the hot “hooks”

Hook may not be that far ahead of himself, but he may want to be. His calendar is starting to fill up with show dates in the U.S. and he’s planning out a tour through Brazil in the near future. His new track with Nervo, ‘Reason,’ will be out on Beatport on Aug. 27. Give the preview a listen, and count your blessings if you’re an American EDM fan right now, because it would seem the best talents of the world are coming to us, Hook not excluded.