Behind the Beat: HWLS

It’s been months since fans have first heard hints of HWLS‘ new five-track EP simply, and rather directly, known as EP02. Coming from Future Classic, the iconic Australian label behind some of the most recognizable names in dance music, including Wave Racer, Basenji, Classixx, and of course, the Grammy Award-winning Flume, HWLS presents a bass-heavy and melody-laden EP that has found support among Flume and Mura Masa. The tracks, titled Alpha through Epsilon, in Greek alphabetical order, take the listener through a spectrum of bass and synths, melody and percussion that will compel you to listen to this incredibly cohesive body of work.

HWLS originally began as a collaboration between Ta-Ku and Justin Elwin (formerly known as Kit Pop), but Justin has assumed a primary role in the evolving image of HWLS. Only the Beat got a chance to talk about this newly released EP with Justin, and along the way picked up some tidbits about how his career has evolved over the years, his favorite musical artists (or at least the ones he’s listening to right now) and even some restaurant recommendations. Check out the interview below!

Only The Beat: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us about HWLS’ EP02. What’s the overall inspiration for this EP?

HWLS: The inspiration was to just dive a little deeper from what had happened on the first EP, a little darker and a little more melancholy in the way it feels at times. Main inspiration was home and using close surroundings and environments to make the sounds that came through.

OTB: The Greek alphabet titles are interesting, any particular theory behind these track titles? Or just a way to organize them?

HWLS: We just catalogue a bunch of projects by numberings or versions/sequences etc. so this was just a flip on the first EP. Still being catalogued through numbering but now they have a name which can give the tracks another meaning to the listener, or a word to relate to the song.


OTB: You worked with other producers on Gamma and Delta. What are the benefits and challenges of working with someone else on a track? What unique aspects does each collaborator lend to these specific tracks?

HWLS: I like to work with friends or people I have a good relationship with over time, it’s good to collaborate when it feels right and being a producer it can be pretty lonely because it is usually just you on your own in a studio, so it’s nice to talk out ideas and processes etc. Each producer brought something different to what I do or come from a similar but different music background, it was cool to see what we could come up with.

OTB: It’s been about two years since I came across your Diplo and Friends mix. What are some of the biggest changes in your career since that time?

HWLS: There has been a lot more touring and playing a variety of different venues and cities. A lot of different musical stylings, but I wouldn’t say there has been many changes just more progress over the past few years.

OTB: How much anxiety goes into a mix for a show like Diplo and Friends since millions of people around the world will hear it?


HWLS: I find it more fun then being nervous about it, it’s a good chance to listen to a bunch of new and old music which is fun to package it into the mix and give some of your personality to the world.

OTB: How has working with Future Classic been? How has the label helped you out?

HWLS: Future Classic is like family, from the staff to the artists, everyone just has a strong appreciation for music and friendships so it’s been great to be apart of it. They have helped me out with my ideas to move forward in the project.

OTB: There is definitely a certain common vibe I associate with artists signed to Future Classic, but each artist also has their unique sound within the Future Classic framework. How would you describe both the commonalities you have to some of your fellow Future Classic artists as well as aspects that make HWLS different?

HWLS: Yeah, I agree that each artist has their own sound on the label, which I think is more important then ever. I guess each of the artists have their own sound but are very adaptable to help out with other artists and open to working on different types of music, at the end of the day we’re all just music lovers.


OTB: How has the relocation to L.A. been?

HWLS: It’s been very sunny! I love it out here, from the work to the people. There is always something new to hear and see.

OTB: One of my favorite questions to ask any artist is food recommendations. I’ll take restaurant recommendations from Perth, L.A., wherever…I just love food.

HWLS: Out in L.A. my manager took me to Jitlada the other week which is in Thai town, so good!

Little Jewel of New Orleans for a good sandwich! Get the half n half Po’ Boy.

OTB: Any chance you’ll be in NYC soon?

HWLS: I hope so! There is nothing on the calendar yet, but hopefully that will change before the end of the year, I miss that city!

OTB: What are the top three albums/tracks you’ve got on repeat for your personal listening at the moment?

HWLS: 6lack – Free6lack

Sinjin Hawke – First Opus

Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog

OTB: What are your goals for HWLS over the next year?

HWLS: More touring and travel, hopefully my music can take me more places I haven’t been before, and more music, I just want to keep a steady flow of releases and different sounds again. I guess the next year for HWLS is to just expand in its art form.

OTB: Anything else you’d like our readers and your fans to know or be on the look out for?

HWLS: Thank you for listening and thank you for chatting with me! 🙂

Shoutout to Get In! PR for arranging the interview! A big thanks from all of us here at Only the Beat!

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Alex Blake

Alex Blake

Passionate audiophile, shameless gourmand, and attorney, Alex is part of the NYC team holding it down for OTB on the East Coast.
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