Cherubic Leeds producer opens up...
Happa

Happa has come of age. Now, that could be some glib statement about the Leeds' producer's career, but as it happens we're being deadly serious – he's come of age. “I turned 18 last month,” he says, before adding with a grin: “I'm a big boy now.”

Asked if he's excited about (legally) exploring his home city's nightlife, the half-Iranian beat maker appears to be relatively non-plussed. “Because I was going out Djing so much I was never really bothered about going out doing the whole fake ID thing,” he explains. “I was kind of just happy to wait. Not a lot of my friends go out a lot, either, but hopefully now I'm 18 I'm going to force everyone to go with me.”

Of course, it's worth remembering just how young Happa was when he first drew attention, and how first his music has travelled. Gleefully Brutalist techno delivered with a punk twist, the young producer's beats drew admiring glances from the likes of Four Tet when he was fresh out of his GCSEs.

“I was quite lucky that the first release was received really well,” he says. “And after seeing that I just wanted to put everything out all at once. So it was hard at first but I settled into it, I calmed down and then once again became a bit more preoccupied with gigs. I think it was... although it was a managerial decision it was also really natural, I think. It wasn't a forced decision, really. I was definitely really thankful for them holding me back.”

Sound management it seems, was key for keeping the cherubic producer grounded. Carefully working on his material, Happa has released a few remixes here and there, even a one off 12 inch as part of Bleep's Greens series. Now he's ready to strike – three EPs are lined up, each released on his own blossoming Part Five Records imprint.

“Well, basically, I've been sat on a lot of music for a while now,” he explains. “I've just been constantly making music and finishing new songs that don't really have a home. So me and my manager, who I do the label with, basically we were talking about what we want to do with these tracks so we came up with the idea to do it in a three part release. We thought it sounded good as well: part one, part two, part three all out on Part Five Records. That's pretty much where it came from.”

- - -

- - -

Techno with the metallic shards left firmly intact, the naivety of Happa's productions allow them to cut through the haze; jagged, barbed electronic music with a relentless machine funk, it's Futurism seen through the eyes of a new generation. Output so far displays admirable depth, from the Mark E Smith sample on 'Ascension' to the sheer depth of 'Crickets'. The new Eps continue on this path, utilising material composed over a number of months.

“Some of the stuff that's going to be coming out on the next two Eps are nearly two years old or a year old. I'm looking forward to finally putting them out and getting a release,” he says. “You can kind of hear on the Eps that there are certain songs from certain periods. If I'm going through a certain style, even if it's just to do with the way the drums are programmed or the way the synths sounds or even just the general mix of the whole track. But I enjoy that. I prefer creating that diversity while also keeping it all sounding as if it's from the same EP, same person.”

Happa's evolution from bedroom talent to bona fide electronic prodigy has provided an enormous shift in the way he interacts with music. His talent is rapidly flowering, each release seeming to take the Leeds artist down a fresh path. “It's not like I started playing in clubs and then my music started getting more club-ready,” he reflects. “Like, I had a big transition from my early stuff and then moved over into making harder techno. But that was more just from the music I was being exposed to through the internet and through buying records, as opposed to via club scenarios. I'm sure it has had a big change but it's not as easy to pin down.”

With the powerful, muscular strut of his recordings, it's easy to forget that Happa is so young. Still only 18 years old, the producer lives with his family in a quiet area of Leeds. “I'm working from home. Still living with my parents,” he says. “We've just moved house and my studio is actually in boxes at the moment. Luckily, I had a separate room to set all my stuff up in because I do have a few bits of hardware to work with and then Ableton on the computer so it's nice to have some actual space to properly lay things out because otherwise it'd just be a bit cramped.”

Probed about his technology, it seems that Happa is keen to make the most of what he already has, while also expanding in fresh arenas. “I'm actually quite lazy when it comes to plug-ins, I just tend to stick to the native plug-ins to Ableton with a few extra ones,” he explains. “I've been buying a few synths here and there, a few guitar pedals. Bits and bobs. It's never enough, though, is it? I always want more. So hopefully I'm going to expand more and more over the future.”

The future, it seems, is always on Happa's mind. The youthful talent has the small matter of an EP trilogy to complete, before settling down to work on a potential debut album. “That'll probably be somewhere down the line,” he admits. “It's less of an idea and more of an aspiration. It's something I think any musician wants to do, it's like nothing else, doing an album. It's something I would love to do but I just don't know when. Hopefully not too far down the line, though.”

With gently deflating balloons from his 18th birthday party still blu-tacked to the wall, it seems that Happa has all the time in the world.

- - -

- - -

'Part One' EP is out now - vinyl link.

Buy Clash Magazine

-

Follow Clash: