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October 18, 2016Feature

Scoring films, his favourite remixes and changing his sets with the seasons, Cyril Hahn talks with Tara Stewart.

Originally hailing from Bern, Switzerland, Cyril Hahn now based in Vancouver, Canada has become an in demand DJ and producer.

You might know Cyril for his popular remix of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Say My Name’ released back in 2012, which now has almost 18 million streams. But he has been steadily working on his craft in many different outlets, from movie scores, his own original material as Cyril Hahn and even forthcoming material under a whole new alias.

We talked with Cyril ahead of his appearance at Metropolis Festival to see what we can expect from his set, writing music for film, remixing for Sia and Caribou, and finding his place in the clubbing scene.

Hey Cyril! How are you? What are you up to at the moment?

Hey! I just got back from a UK tour. Most shows were in Scotland which is always an amazing place to play.

I hear you worked on a film score, can you tell me a little bit more about that?

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do so when the director approached me about the project it was an easy decision to make.

The film is called A Good Dream and directed by Mahum Jamal.

I worked out on it for a couple of weeks this spring and am really excited for people to see the movie and hear what I came up with.

What’s on the agenda, in terms of releases?

I put my own project on the back-burner a bit this year as I wanted to focus on different projects such as the score and I also started a new alias to release something that differs from my Cyril Hahn stuff.

I did do a couple of remixes though. One for Sia, one for Yumi Zouma and a Star Slinger remix that will be out soon.

You said in an interview you’re a “visitor in the club scene”, what did you mean by that?

I grew up listening to bands rather than DJs. I didn’t go to clubs much but instead I would go see bands or electronic artists play.

When I put out my Destiny’s Child remix, which was leaning towards house music, everybody assumed that I was a DJ which was far from the truth at the time. I was just interested in producing at the time.

“When my remixes started blowing up I started DJing as a result but I really felt like an outsider in the whole DJ scene.”

Now, I definitely feel like I’ve come a long way as a DJ in the last 4 years and feel more connected to the DJ world than I did before but I will always be a producer first and foremost.

What made you decide to remix the likes of Destiny’s Child and Mariah?

At the time I was really into 90s R&B but I also started to get into house music. I was trying to create a sound that includes elements of 90s R&B, house and ambient. I didn’t really know whether it would work or not so I was just experimenting.

I also liked the idea of contrasting an instrumental that was quite serious/melancholic with lyrics that are pretty ridiculous as they are in Touch My Body. I was also studying Surrealism in University, so the idea of juxtaposing really different ideas to create something new and unexpected really appealed to me.

What were you influenced by growing up? And how has that changed to now?

Growing up I was really into hardcore and punk. Later my tastes shifted more towards post-rock, ambient and electronic music.

I think punk/hardcore resulted in a fondness of noise/distortion which can still be heard in my production. I have an aversion towards music that sounds too clean (unless it sounds overly clean for conceptual reason).

Ambient still informs my music to a great extent. There are a lot of ambient bits in the background of most of my songs if you listen closely.

What would be your ultimate song to remix if you haven’t done it already?

I think getting to remix Caribou was the ultimate remix for me. It actually started out as a bootleg which I sent over to Dan but he really liked it and asked me if they can put it out.

I couldn’t believe it and was beyond happy as he is somebody I have been listening to for years.

"I think now that fall has started my sets are becoming a bit darker too. "

What can we expect from your set at Metropolis this year?

I think now that fall has started my sets are becoming a bit darker too. You can expect a bit more techno and heavier stuff but I’ll still be playing a lot of my own production as well.

Are there any artists you have your eye on that you’d love to collaborate with?

Definitely. Even looking at the Metropolis line up there are a lot of people I admire and would love to work with such as Jessy Lanza, Mall Grab or Mount Kimbie.

And finally… What’s in store for you for 2017?

I am hoping to put out a Cyril Hahn release in the next couple of months.

It will be a lot more club-driven than my last EP. I am also hoping to work on more soundtracks as I really fell in love with that type of work.


Cyril Hahn plays Metropolis Festival on Friday November 4. Click here for tickets.

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