Anthony Maniscalco, the man behind the moniker Hook N Sling, is no stranger to success in the music world.
As a Sydney-native, now relocated to Los Angeles, he’s had massive breakout success with his remix of Lana Del Rey, and club-banging collaborations with ginormous names including Galantis and Sam Feldt. He’s even had a single featured on the soundtrack of the Zac Efron movie We Are Your Friends.
Hook N Sling released a brand new single, which is sure to keep your spirits high even with the end of summer coming:
After he played Electric Zoo this past weekend, Anthony sat down for a post-set bite with us to talk about his past, present, and future (oh, and his dog).
You’re from Sydney but live in LA now. Is there a big difference in the two music scenes?
Oh yeah, huge difference. Sydney, well when I left, they had Flume, Whatsonot… a big bass movement back then. It’s evolved into a live electronic scene. That’s happening a lot in Sydney—the live music performance. That’s not really happening here. It’s really grown in the last five years. Now, I suppose… it’s quite similar. A lot of big artists who tour here, tour in Australia, then vice versa.
Rufus du Sol is doing big things over here right now. Really cool to see.
What about your day-to-day life [between LA and Sydney]?
No. I really enjoy my own time and space to myself. Obviously, I’m doing all this stuff on the weekends. When I’m back home, I take my dog out on hikes, hang out with friends, go get coffee. I like to keep a low key vibe.
What kind of dog do you have?
He’s an Aussie shepherd. I realize the irony in me having an Australian shepherd. Well, an Australian shepherd and a husky. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t get out as much, but I’m pretty active back home. I have my studio at home, so I spend a lot of time doing that as well.
You grew up participating in choir…
[laughs] Oh yeah! How’d you know? Guess you’ve done your research.
Would you say that influences your sound?
Not really. I always had a musical ear, so I suppose if I could get away with doing a subject in school that I didn’t have to really study for, I’m like, alright, cool.
Have you ever sung on your track? Would you ever?
I have actually, but nothing that’s ever made the final version. I think I sang on “Tokyo By Night.” I put some rough vocals down on that. When I’m in the studio with other people, I’m always singing and humming stuff, but nothing has ever made the cut, thank God. [laughs] Well, not yet.
Have you always wanted to be in music?
No. Not really. I studied design at college, but I dropped out, so… music was there. All my friends were creative as well, music was a part of our lives. We always talked music and it was always one or the other. They ran in parallel for me. I never discovered music. It was always a part of my life for me.
I taught myself guitar when I was living at home with my parents because my dad had a guitar laying around. My parents had a big record collection.
You’ve played E-Zoo before. I know you’ve said that outdoor festivals are fun because of the vibe, the sun, and warm climate. Too bad about the rain today.
Yeah, actually it’s been pretty great today. It’s still a similar vibe. It’s way different than a club. Clubs are so different than here because they’re so intimate. In clubs, people can see your facial expressions. You’re so close to people.
Here you have to make a bigger statement. You have to play a little bit tougher. Go through records a little bit quicker. It’s definitely a harder stage to play. It’s not hard to connect with the crowd, but it’s definitely a different way of connecting.
Have you had a favorite festival to play?
My first festival ever in the States has a little bit of special place in my heart. EDC Orlando was my first in 2012, I think? It was a really special moment, seeing how festivals work over here. I’d played plenty of them over in Australia, but never done one out here.
Do you have a crazy festival story?
Weirdest thing I’ve seen? I played before Kesha once. I thought I’d be cool and play a Kanye record. She came on and cut my music out right away. Wait, no. I’ve got it.
She was sound checking behind me, and they would keep cutting my sound for hers. I was playing for a crowd of, like, 30,000 people, and I’d be DJing and they’d turn my sound down and the drummer would play over my music. It was insane. Festivals get like that! If you have someone that large playing… that shit happens.
No horrific stories—I maybe accidentally stopped a record once, and covered up by like yelling on the mic, making it seem purposeful, but that kinda happens a lot…
Oh! I’ve got it. I was almost hit by lightning once. [laughs] I was DJing, and I couldn’t see it, but these giant storm clouds were rolling in behind me. I dropped a record, and the entire crowd starts cheering, but it wasn’t because of the record, it was because of the end-of-the-world storm closing in behind me. I’m thinking “Damn, I’m rockin’ it, I’m rockin’ it.” Meanwhile, there’s a storm of thunder and lightning getting closer and closer. It was actually a really good set because people went crazy in the rain. Sometimes, I think the weather really pays off for you, especially when people embrace it.
I had to stop the set though. There was like four inches of rain on stage. I didn’t want to get electrocuted.
You had breakout success with your Lana del Rey remix. Do you have a process on choosing what to remix?
No. Sometimes I go hunt for them, and then sometimes they come to me. The Lana one—I really wanted to do a Lana del Rey remix. I went after that record. Other times, they come to me. Someone might hear my False Alarm remix on the radio, and they come to me and say, “Oh, we want something like this for our record.” Then they send me the song.
Do you prefer making originals vs remixes?
Remixes are different. The hard work has almost already been done. There’s already a spark of an idea there. As an original, you have to create that spark from nothing. Sometimes, that happens, and the idea comes. Othertimes, it doesn’t. With a remix, that’s already there. They’ve got the idea; it’s a good idea. You jump in on the back end of the record. Sometimes it’s good. It’s a different style. Originals, you write bottom up.
I don’t like one better than the other. Remixes are usually more clubby than my originals, it’s just the way I like to write.
Favorite LA spot?
Hm… There’s a little hike I like, by my old house in Studio City, that I like to take my friends to. No one really knows about it. You get to the top of the hill and can see the valley.
Tell us about your new single!
It’s called “Arms Around Me” and it features Digital Farm Animals. That’s their name. They DJ with pigs on their heads. It’s my first single on my new deal with Capitol. I just finished my remix for Hozier as well, “Bad at Love.” That’s out at the end of the month.
Anyone you can’t stop listening to?
I listen to a lot of Mura Masa. If I’m putting on music, that’s it. His stuff is quite inspiring.
How do you discover new music?
I’m always listening to “New Music Friday” on Spotify. I don’t really discover much from the promos I get from labels. There’s so much noise. I like to go with friends’ recommendations. Spotify’s “artists like” is great. I always click those.
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