Feeling a bit leftfield, we had words with Highbury artist and Evil Ed label mate Hansel, to talk about influences, equipment, Eastenders and forthcoming projects.
What's ya name and what's it all about?
My name is Hansel the Unicorn and thats what it's all about.
Where are you from and what's it like?
I'm from Highbury and the local vibes are futuristic due to the all new Emirates stadium that's unfolding before my eyes as I write this.
Tell the people what you do and how long you've been doing it.
These days, musically, I do whatever I feel like doing. I've been involved in all sorts of different musical styles over the past 15 years or so all of which have influenced me to varying degrees.
How would you describe the kind of music you put together?
It's always changing so that's a hard question to answer. What I've put out so far is somewhere between free jazz and RnB, the unifying factor being me.
Who are some of your biggest influences and inspirations?
Same as everyone else, I am inspired by life. Musically, I have all sorts of influences. If I started listing them now I'd be here all night. Being into Hiphop has definately opened my eyes to all sorts of music. That's one of the things I love about it. It can lead you to lots of different things.
As as kid I used to love 'Lyrics Of Fury' by Eric B and Rakim and my friends Dad told me that it was a Funkadelic sample so we got into Funkadelic records and that lead to the next thing which lead to the next thing and so on. I like artists that are unpredictable. Like R Kelly. Say what you like about the man but you never know what he's gonna do next. That's rare these days.
What kind of equipment do you tend to work with?
I have an MPC, a QY700, various saxophones, a guitar, an accordion, a triangle, all sorts. I record everything onto a tascam cassette 8 track and then put it into cubass to add a little seasoning.
How did you meet Evil Ed and end up on his Hidden Identity label?
I used to live fairly near Ed and was making music with some of the same people he was so it was inevitable we'd meet. I'm very grateful to him for putting my EP out and I'm happy that he's into it 'cause I respect his opinion on music a lot. He's got a whole load of tracks coming out this year with various different people and everything I've heard has instant classic written all over it in big luminous letters.
Give us a run down of any releases you've been involved with so far.
I've been on all sorts of things under various guises. Too many to mention. All I'm saying is that the '£5 An Hour' EP by Hansel the Unicorn is out now!
What projects have you currently got in the works and when'll they drop?
Potentially, I've got a couple of high-ish profile collabo's coming up but I'm not saying who with 'cause nothing's set in stone just yet. I've got a track with Willo from The Colony that is nice. We may do some more things together. Also, Conspicuous from The Colony is doing an album that will feature the Unicorn Horns and the Hans Island Community Choir. Other than that, God willing, there'll be a couple more Hansel EPs before the years up and then a mix CD or something like that for Christmas.
Describe what goes on inside a mind that creates your track 'Janine'?
Well, for starters, she's a fucking angel. I guess that's what was going through my mind at the time. I'd like to see a spin off series about Janine's life post Walford. A Tuckers Luck type of thing. I'd watch that.
Are you excited by the prospect of the character returning to Albert Square to terrorize Pat Butcher?
Janine's coming back to Walford? Thats the first I've heard of it. I like Pat. She's like the Clint Eastwood of Albert Square. She's deep. Having said that, I stopped watching Eastenders a while back. I used to like it when you had Janine, Den, Paul Truman and Trevor on the show. My all time favourite character would have to be Terry though. Terry, he's alright.
What's been your favourite record of the year so far?
I dunno. Not Gnarls Barkley.
How can people keep informed on what you're up to?
Have you got any hello's or plugs you'd like to throw out there?
At this point in time I really have to shout out the people who have been letting me sleep on their sofa's. So… Rahul, Mark, Leanne, Simon, Paul, Tobias and my little Brother. And hello to Kitty Rose. Thanks.