The importance of the producer and beatmaker has been getting a lot more attention in the past few years. The best hip-hop seems to be coming from rappers and producers who work with each other’s styles to create a better product. Some of our favorite hip-hop collaborations include ASAP Rocky and Clams Casino, Vince Staples and Michael Uzowuru, and Chris Villa and Hanz. Hanz and Villa are two artists based out of Augusta, Georgia who have been releasing a steady stream of distinctive and aggressive hip-hop that has the two artists mutually benefiting from the other. Brandon’s talent extends beyond his role as a producer with some great tapes, remixes and other releases as Hanz. I recently got to chat with Brandon about his work as Hanz, his influences and songwriting process. The entire conversation can be read below (left largely unedited as always)…
PK: I was hoping you could talk about how you first got into making music. How did Hanz come about?
Brandon: I was a heavy music listener, reading about it a lot. I have tons of music mags that I’ve read front to back. Years’ worth of reading material. I just analyzed it for a very long time before starting. ‘Hanz’ is a part of my last name, plus it’s been a nickname cuz people couldn’t pronounce the actual name right
PK: What were some of your favorite genres or artists to listen to?
Brandon: Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Nine Inch Nails, film scores and etc. later it was 70s dub reggae with all the reverb and ear tricks. I got into hip-hop pretty late actually.
PK: why did you start to make beats and specifically hip-hop beats?
Brandon: I don’t know really. It’s probably because I’m black.
PK: fair enough haha. are there any beat-makers that influenced your sound?
Brandon: I’m a fan of older rock producers like Brian Eno, Martin Hannett, and etc. as far as beatmakers go, I really like Prince Paul’s work. The Bomb Squad definitely, for the Public Enemy albums
PK: most beatmakers would probably say J Dilla, FlyLo or even more recently Clams Casino which is probably why your beats are so refreshing
Brandon: I’m aware of their stuff definitely, Dilla’s influence is everywhere.
PK: if you could collaborate with any artist dead or alive who would you work with?
Brandon: Ah! I like Ameriie, Little Dragon, Kanye is getting more brave sonically, Cassie. Just people that I shouldn’t be paired with …or should haha
PK: how did you and Chris Villa start working together?
Brandon: I’ve known Chris since first grade so it was pretty easy. Just back and forth exchanging ideas for a while then we just made a tape
PK: How has the response for Pillage Vatican City been so far?
Brandon: The response has been real positive. It’s growing. Yeah, eventually shows will happen
PK: yeah that’s awesome, I mean you just put out an awesome EP and the mixtape with Chris so more people are going to be exposed to your music for sure
Brandon: Firethief, ahh
PK: what was your process like making the EP? It definitely sounds more ambitious than your typical beattape
Brandon: Firethief started last year. I just think about it for a long time then let it grow naturally. And lots of writing is involved. Just note taking etc. sounds, colors, errors… texture also
PK: what program do you use for your beats?
Brandon: I use a program called love (James Brown voice)
PK: and that’s what makes all the difference.
PK: what are your plans moving forward with Hanz?
Brandon: I’m producing an EP for Milo based on the group “america”, Destruction Tape, I have a side project under the name “Dead Royautes” on the way, more Pope Villa stuff likely, and some remixes, etc blah
PK: damn dude that’s a lot of exciting stuff coming down the pipeline
PK: I can’t wait to hear all the new stuff, what are some musicians or albums you’ve been digging lately?
Brandon: Deeehunter Halcyon Digest, Death Grips of course, I still like the Cool Kids Gone Fishin’ mixtape, Toro y Moi Freaking Out definitely, there’s many. I remixed ‘Takyon’ last year out of appreciation haha. The new album is awesome, I’m gonna buy it. It’s very veryyy brave. I hope labels give gutsy artists a chance more. Nothing wrong with a lil fear haha
Death Grips- Takyon (Hanz Mix):
PK: yeah, a lot of your samples have a very antique kind of feel. Do you go crate digging for your samples?
PK: I’ve always had trouble summing up your sound into words exactly but I always get a sense of calculated menace with your tracks, like something is wrong but that’s how you meant it to be
Brandon: That’s just how it comes out, I guess. It’s not really calculated all the way. Some of I’s just natural angst, playfulness. It has a sense of humor but its stark and unfriendly. Just texture and colors
PK: anything else the good people of the internet should know about Hanz? Or any shout outs to give to people or projects more of us should know about?
Brandon: Oh aye, aye I wanna shout out my crew Chris Pope Villa, G: Boyd, Jon Flo, Earnest, Jorge, my fam, DJ Joycette (she did my Distraction Tape cover), Dr. Bread, K Flo$$y, DJ haha, Rocky Horror, DJ Acrojam, Lady Marauder, Speak!, Milo and the girl that works at gas station. Gas prices will change our society into “mad max” this year grab yer leather boots. And my other pals. Free Boosie doe.