2016 has been a big year for Anthony Maniscalco, otherwise known by his DJ alias, Hook N Sling. Whether he’s headlining New York venues or cooking beats in the studio alongside notorious talent like Galantis or Far East Movement, his success this year has propelled him off the charts. His tracks have accumulated millions of streams across all music platforms, and yet he has proven to maintain the same friendly and humble demeanor of a person you’ve known since elementary school. EDM NYC contributor, Liz Tillman, caught up with Hook N Sling before his headlining performance at Lavo NY to get the inside scoop on his success to date, plans for the rest of 2016 and more! Read below:
EDM NYC: First things first, let’s talk about your new collaboration with Galantis, “Love on Me.” Can you tell readers about the collaboration process?
Hook N Sling: Well it just hit over 10 million on Spotify today after 4 weeks, which is great! I know I should be tweeting about that right now… but I will a bit later! It started last year with a remix I did for Galantis, and then that’s how the relationship started. Then, I did a remix for Miike Snow later on in the year, and Miike Snow’s Christian is also part of Galantis, so then we just kept working together. Then I was like, “We should do a record together! I love your stuff,” and they obviously loved the mixes I was handing in for Miike Snow and Galantis, so Christian was like “Yeah, let’s do it.” I suppose from there we started. Obviously they’re a big act, so I was like “Let me get some ideas together, and let me shoot them over to you guys,” so the first few ideas I sent over I was trying to find what would work with them, and some didn’t work at the beginning. Then I was like okay cool, well I’m going to take my time with this and once I start with something I know that’s going to work with them, then I’ll send it over. Then at an early early stage of “Love on Me,” was this great vocal and piano line. I sent it to Christian and was like “Yo, we should finish this together, it feels like a Galantis sound,” then Galantis basically took this record to a new level, I have to say. I love those two; I met Christian and Linus and they’re amazing producers.
EDM NYC: When collaborating with more than one person, like the Galantis duo, how does that impact the production process? Is it more or less difficult having multiple cooks in the kitchen?
Hook N Sling: To be honest, I think it makes it easier. It depends on the personalities involved. Like if you’re a very controlling kind of person, and you send over your parts to the other collaborator, and you’re like, “By the way, don’t touch this, don’t touch that, don’t touch that…” if that’s the kind of person you are, then you’re never going to be a good collaborator. I remember talking to Christian on the phone about this record, and he was like “I think this is the best way to do this,” and my response to him was like, “Do what you think sounds good. I totally trust what you want to do.” Then obviously there are a few changes right at the end like back and forth, coming together on the final version, but you just have to trust the other person otherwise you just do it yourself.
EDM NYC: Let’s talk about your past work. Your track “Break Yourself” was a part of the “We Are Your Friends” soundtrack, can you tell us what was the most memorable part of this project?
Hook N Sling: Seeing my track in the movie, it was the first time my song’s made it in a movie. It was a fun project. The record was never supposed to be going in that direction. It was just a happy bonus. It got picked up by the movie, then the “We Are Your Friends” tour happened. It was cool.
EDM NYC: “We Are Your Friends” was not particularly well-received in the EDM community. Do you have any opinions about the movie or its portrayal of EDM culture?
Hook N Sling: You know, I think when anybody tries to pin something down that’s always moving, it’s really hard to get it right. Like last week, R3hab was your favorite artist, this week it’s like Diplo, you know what I mean? So if someone makes a movie, and it takes them a year to make it, then they’re making a statement about EDM or music at that point in time, so it puts a lot of people out. I mean it doesn’t put people out, because a lot of people connected with that movie too, but it’s very hard to keep everybody happy when you’re making such a big statement about something that’s constantly evolving. I take my hat off to the guys that made it, but it was a really hard task.
EDM NYC: If they were to make a movie about hook n sling, then what actor would play you?
Hook N Sling: Zach Efron!
EDM NYC: Your sister, Elizabeth Rose, is also a musician. Is your whole family musical and was there something that influenced you both growing up?
Hook N Sling: My dad was in a really shitty band in the 70s and 80s; he was in a band called the “Dots and Dashes.” He was a guitarist, so there were always guitars lying around the house, so when I was growing up I would always pick up a guitar and I taught myself. I never had any formal musical training, and then Elizabeth was different because she took music in school, and kind of took it to a different level. Then I gave her Ableton and taught her how to use it. But no, my dad hung out in bands and stuff, but he was never a “musician-musician.” He’s a graphic designer. They’re still creative.
EDM NYC: When coming through New York, I know you are often booked at venues like Marquee and Lavo. Do you have a #1 survival tip for someone who has never been to a New York club before?
Hook N Sling: Hmm a survival tip… That’s a tough one because New York clubs are brutal. They have long lines for big clubs, and it’s tough being on the outside and I’ve done it. Like the first time I ever went to Verboten, I was standing out in the cold for like an hour- I really wanted to get in! I would say pack a warm jacket, because you’ll be waiting in the cold for a long time.
EDM NYC: From what I see on Twitter you are quite the foodie. Can you tell us about the best thing you’ve eaten recently?
Hook N Sling: Love these questions! I don’t even know if I tweeted it, but I had this amazing breakfast sandwich. I’m a breakfast guy. There’s a deli near my house, that makes this sausage-egg-English muffin-American cheese- muffin sandwich thing. It starts my day in the most unhealthy way but I love it.
EDM NYC: With the election around the corner, and everyone having a political opinion, what EDM producer do you think would be fit to be commander in chief.
Hook N Sling: Kaskade. He’s wise. I want someone wise, who knows what’s up. I feel like Kaskade has a connection with people that not many other people have.
EDM NYC: What exciting things do you have coming up for the rest of 2016?
Hook N Sling: I’ve got a collaboration coming out with Sam Feldt. That should be coming out toward the end of the year, and then I’m working on a couple of remixes, which I can’t announce just yet, but let’s just say you’ll know the records – or at least one of them. I’m feeling really creative right now!