Joe Hawes talks about his origins, influences, latest remixes and his future
Torquay based producer and DJ Joe Hawes is one who has impressed the ranks through and through with a set of thumping remixes and catalog of stellar hits. The British producer has adeptly explored the horizons of future house and his experiments have delivered some very infectious remixes such as the one he did on Indeep‘s ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’ and the one on Dua Lipa‘s ‘Swan Song’. Among his originals, the sumptuous duo of ‘Never‘ and ‘Always‘ have been among those tracks whose simmering energy has shone through for the listeners.
Building his fan base along these lines, Hawes has also managed to amass a great following for his Coffee House Records imprint, which is becoming quite a safe haven for producers who are inclined to push the boundaries of future house while keeping consistent with the entertaining melodies. As his career moves upward steadily, we took the opportunity to sit down with him and talk about his origins, which musicians influenced his style and what went into his hit singles and remixes. As he departs, he also drops some hints on what is in the pipelines for the fans and followers.
How long have you been a producer/DJ for? Tell us about the origin of your music. What inspired you to pursue your career as an artist?
I started DJ’ing when I was 17 in local bars and clubs. I was always into music when I was at school, and went to college to study Music Production & performance as I am also a Drummer. Back in college it was pretty much just rock music, I only really started to get an interest in Electronic music when I started DJ’ing!
The original plan was to go into the Army as a musician. I passed all tests and had my entrance date, but before going in I started to DJ and loved it so much when I went out gigging I thought I would give that a go instead of joining to Army!
Who do you consider to have been your biggest influences throughout your career that have made an impact on your productions?
This is always a tough one for me, a lot of DJ’s have people they looked up to from a kid. I was a late bloomer in the electronic world so my initial influencers in music were a lot of the pop-punk bands like Greenday, Offspring, Blink 182 etc. But since getting into Electronic music my inspirations are rather broad as I had so many inspirations and had decades of music to catch up on that I missed out on as a kid. I do have so much respect for people like Don Diablo though, he has been in the game for years and never stopped trying, and its now paying off well for him! I am a firm believer of the ability to achieve what you want in life if you put in the work. Some takes months or years, and some will take decades.
Both of your ‘Last Night a DJ Saved My Life’ and ‘Swan Song’ remixes are absolute killers. How do you decide which direction you would like to take for each remix? What is the whole process like?
Thank you! The approach I take for each track changes to be honest. It depends what I have to work with. When I am doing remixes, I almost always lay out the chords across the whole vocal. Then usually I will usually play around with some pads and synths in the breakdown and that will usually spark some inspiration of a direction I want to go in for the drop! If I am doing an original then the process can be very different, I will usually make some melodies and chord progressions. Then from there make the drop, and then work backwards into the breakdown!
Take us back to your release ‘Nowhere’. How did the track come about? What is the story behind it?
A friend of mine showed me this vocal and I just thought it was super catchy! So, I decided to have a play around with it, next thing you know its 8am in the morning (After starting on it the evening before) and I have a nearly finished project! What I love most about this project was the chord progressions around the vocal. They fit really well and for me hit the spot! The drop on this was heavily Inspired by Byte, by Martin Garrix and Brooks. I loved the energy they had in the drop and wanted to do something similar, but with my own twist!
Looking at your musical catalog, you have a very diverse sound. How do you produce such different sounding tracks while maintaining your signature sound?
I do think its important to keep things fresh, I mean it could be super easy to just open up the same project and change the chords and create a new melody and have the same exact sound for every track. But for me it makes your music too repetitive and boring, if I listened to someone like that and they released a new track id feel I already know it before I even press play!
The one thing I will do however is try to always take something from previous projects or have one or two sounds in the mix you will usually use. That way the tracks sounding fresh but also each of your tracks will share some of the same qualities therefore there will always be something on one of my tracks that would have been in a previous one. Another great way to maintain a “sound” whilst staying fresh is to create your own sample pack! I found this helps A LOT!
What is next for Joe Hawes? Could you tell us a bit more about some of your upcoming tracks? Do you have any more projects in the pipeline? Are you planning any interesting gigs?
I actually have a lot going on behind the scenes. With production, I have a few Originals awaiting release, along with a Cover of a classic everyone knows! I will also be putting out some more remixes too shortly!
In regards to projects, I have been working hard the last 6 weeks on a new show. It’s a full live drum show with an insane amount of production. This is going to be going under a new alias, which I will be revealing very soon. For anyone that follows my Instagram they would have seen some sneak peaks of the Drum show! The first 2 shows are on the 25th May and the 1st June. They are both Sold out already, and for anyone who wants to keep up to date, see more previews and find out details of the new alias follow me on my insta @joe_hawesuk.