For those who bask in the warmth of electronic music, they know the bliss of losing oneself to its beat. Juan Hansen, a producer/composer and live act hailing from Buenos Aires, weaves his own sonic vision with unwavering passion.
His latest EP “Higher” – out via Meiosis Records – is a magnificent piece that blends engaging beats with blissful melodies. The EP showcases his own vulnerable vocals, harmonizing with melancholic emotions to create a lush landscape of sound that invites listeners to explore the beauty and complexity of electronic music. To delve deeper into the mind of this talented artist, we sought after an interview with Juan Hansen.
photography by Nicolas Clausen
Juan, your live performances are consistently energetic and genuine. Can you share your preparation process for a gig?
I work behind all shows trying to adapt in the best way for each gig, but I also like to leave a lot of things to finish on stage. I love to play new tracks I made with no vocals to be able to sing something and improvise on the go. I like to be behind the stage at least thirty minutes before the show to start warming up my voice and stretching my fingers.
Absolutely love your new EP “Higher”! Both tracks – Higher and Irreplaceabale – deliver an intense, captivating build-up that induces goosebumps. Can you tell us about your songwriting process?
I’m really glad you liked it. (smiles) Thank you. Higher was super emotional to make. In the studio I’m always listening to old ideas, and Higher was one of those lost recordings on a hard drive. I made the structure of the track back in 2019 while going through a tough personal time and never touched it again until I found it some months ago and felt it was the right moment to finish it.
I usually start from a melody, but this track started in the opposite direction. I began from chopping a drum recording I made years ago and then the main harmony came to me while playing a Yamaha reface synthesizer. Lyrics where written in the last phase of the process and basically talk about not giving up on something or yourself and trying to get to a higher state of mind.
“Both tracks on the new EP are about not giving up on something or yourself and trying to get to a higher state of mind.”
What was the most valuable lesson you learned from your music studies at Conservatorio Juan José Castro and EMC?
A funny story could be what happened the first day of class at Conservatorio Juan José Castro. I was 18 years old and super exited. When I got to the classroom the principal of the conservatory came to make a welcome speech and he said, Welcome everyone, here you will learn how to play and read music, so the first assignment is go to play an Arcade game called Dance Dance revolution (that 90´s dancing game in which you had to stomp on big colour arrows on the floor to follow a song and make points), this will be the most similar thing to read a music sheet in real time and will sharpen your sense of rhythm. So when the class finished we all went to a mall nearby and played that game, not only this helped in reading sheet music but also made all the class friends at the first day of school.
You have been on stage with quite a few other artists like f.e. Dixon, Patrice Bäumel, Paul Kalkbrenner, Jan Blomqvist and Johannes Brecht. Is there anyone else you would like to collaborate?
You blend electronic sounds with analog instruments. Something that has been around for a while in the electronic music scene. I guess it’s also a bit of a longing for the “real thing”. What fascinates you about this combination?
This combination of acoustic, analog and digital has always been present in music. I’m just trying to mix them up in different ways to achieve something fresh from it. The perfect example would be the real drum recording of Higher versus the digital sound of the synth on top. Maybe nothing new in music as the Beastie Boys has been doing this for a long time, but my focus is in getting an original and personal sound out of it.
“Decision making in music is a hard thing to do sometimes. However: Don’t stress too much about it.”
Do you ever experience self-doubt in your work?
Absolutely. Decision making in music is a hard thing to do sometimes. It happens often that I’m working on a song and two different approaches appear. Sometimes I’m able to decide instantly on which is the best to follow and other times that doubt keeps popping up and the best thing to do is to put that project aside and listen to it in a couple of days. Don’t stress too much about it. (smiles)
What other interests do you have besides music?
I love to draw and paint, I studied in Buenos Aires art school I.U.N.A for a few years but just for personal enrichment. Drawing is the most meditational thing for me. I also love to play football. (smiles)
What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Buenos Aires?
By the river for sure! Buenos Aires has lovely river shores with lots of vegetation and lovely people gathering arround, playing instruments and having a good time.
As always, the future is uncertain. Nevertheless, the question: Where do you see yourself in about 10 years?
Hopefully still making and playing my music, sharing moments with friends and family!
Who is the most important person in your life?
I will answer this from an artistic perspective, and this would be my grandfather Lelo, who passed away but always motivated me to be creative, to think outside of the box, and taught me how to learn to do things by myself.
Thanks so much for your time!