Australian DJ and producer Hook N Sling, real name Anthony Maniscalco, has seen his fair share of success over his nearly decade-long career. He has performed at the majority of large dance festivals worldwide, remixed the likes of Lana Del Rey, Kaskade, Miike Snow and Empire of the Sun, while also collaborating with acts such as Far East Movement and Galantis.
His most recent release is one of his biggest tracks to date. He has had a few large main stage dance tracks, but "Love On Me" with the high-flying Swedish duo, Galantis, has the potential to be a crossover smash. It was all started by some talk going down in the DMs and a year and a half later, the track was released.
We had a chance to catch up with Maniscalco to talk about "Love On Me," his tips for going to a concert on Halloween and a new side project he is debuting sometime next year.
RM: How did the Galantis track come about?
Hook N Sling: I actually posted something on Instagram the other day that was an inbox that I sent on Twitter. They premiered my "Gold Dust" remix at Ultra last year. The day after they played it, they said, "dude it was crazy, everyone loved it." I wrote back "sweet we should do a track together sometime." Christian wrote back "of course." I thought yeah... there is a lot of talk that goes down in the DMs.
So I started sending him a few ideas that weren't right. I went back and kept on writing music and then "Love On Me" came up. It was just the beginning of an idea. I had the vocal and some basic chords and I sent it to Christian [Karlsson] and said, "What do you think? Do you think this is a good vibe?" We took a scratch demo into a finished one, but it took a while.
RM: It sounds more like a Galantis track. Was that the idea or was that accidental?
Hook: It wasn't the idea. If you listen to the first 30 seconds of the record, that's pretty much all my stuff. Then after that it is a lot of Galantis kind of stuff. I started with many of the ideas before they got it, but I knew when I started the idea that it was something for them. It just so happens that it fell in their lap and it works.
RM: As a former choirboy, did you write some of the lyrics?
Hook: No it was a collaborative with the topliners. I can't take all of the credit. It was a cool idea born from piano chords underneath this vocal idea we came up with.
RM: How did you first describe what you do to your grandparents?
Hook: My grandmother -- she just nods and smiles. I think she has heard it so many times now that she says, "Anthony does music." When she describes to her friends, she says, I'm a DJ. She still thinks I play in a band or are playing concerts like I'm Michael Bublé. I think she thinks I am playing to these sitting crowds sipping cocktails while I serenade them.
RM: What is the biggest challenge for you at this point in your career?
Hook: With the state of dance music right now, the biggest challenge for me is to stay creative. I think you need to stay inspired and creative because it is easy these days do whatever else is doing. Because there is so much out there, you can be like "that is the artist I want to be like" and go in that lane. I think it is really important to write records that are inspired, that come from a creative source. You are digging in a new well, not biting off of someone else.
RM: Where do you get that inspiration?
Hook: It comes in all shapes and forms to be honest with you. I don't get inspired by other music. I am more inspired by sitting in a room and playing with a whole lot of ideas, not necessarily thinking about what something sounds like. Once I have clicked onto an idea I am good. Just the initial spark comes from a bit of solitude. With remixes I always like to have some idea formed in my head before I start.
RM: Has there been a reason for all of your remixing lately?
Hook: I suppose I have been really productive in the last six months. I have written a lot of music in the last six months. Some of it has come out and a lot of it hasn't. I have a new side project, which I have written a whole new EP's worth of material that hasn't seen the light of day.
RM: What type of music is the side project?
Hook: It's different. There is a UK drum and bass record in there. It goes to 90 bpm electronic, downtempo bass house. Super melodic, but if you heard it, it wouldn't sound like me.
RM: Does it have a name?
Hook: Yes. It is called Manners.
RM: Any release plans?
Hook: Not looking like before the end of the year, maybe the beginning of next year. I am talking to a few a labels right now. In Australia I might do my own. For the rest of the world, I am looking to partner with someone.
RM: What would be your recommendation for fans going to a concert on Halloween?
Hook: Think of a good costume and not go as Hilary or Trump. Stay away from any Stranger Things clichés. I generally stray on the side of not dressing up this year I am going for it.
RM: What are you going to be?
Hook: I was going to be a Banksy artwork. I am looking for one that was a bit more obscure that no one has done yet.
RM: What do you have coming up?
Hook: I have a song with Sam Feldt that is coming out on Spinnin' Records. It is very melodic. It is not a banger. It is a great piece of electronic music. It is just where my head's at right now. He kind of added a tropical touch to it. Whereas where I was at with it was more housey and he added the tropical feel. It is a really cool record. That is all I can announce before the end of the year. There is other stuff happening, but that is all I can say.
RM: What is something people might now know about you?
Hook: I hate chili. This is my ultimate conflict. I love siracha, but my body hates chili. I love how it tastes, but my body can't stand it. My own kind of self-punishment. I kind of cry when I eat it.
Interview has been condensed and edited for clarity