Howard Hope is a name that many might not be familiar with, as its what he goes by these days, but this dude has been hooked on music since the rave days back in 2006. He has been in the scene for many years, even hosting some of the sickest events around! We had a chat with him to find out what makes this guy tick and where he says the future for him and the industry going…this is how it went down:
– Tell us about your journey to where you are today, a little bit of background on how you got started in music/DJing?
I was 13 when I sold my soul. A chain of random events saw me and two other friends attend a Warehouse rave in Johannesburg in 1996, I wasn’t even listening to music at that age, but after that experience I don’t think I have lived a day without a tune in my head. We went on to attend most of the big events in the early scene and along the way I purchased my first pair of decks and a 626 mixer and a very deep love for sharing music with a dance floor or people in general took immediate residence in my bones, and that has led to many adventures in my life. I’m grateful for the experience’s electronic music has given me as a life path.
– What have been some of your influences over the years?
The 90’s rave scene in South africa was a huge influence, we had the best in the business touring here form all corners of the globe, and the scene was fresh, it was still a baby world wide. We had the younger versions of DJ’s like Carl Cox, Sasha, John Digweed, Nick Warren, Faithless etc coming here all in their early 20’s and 30’s, and events like ICE Raves and Mother Raves hosting incredible parties that seemed to have no limits, defiantly not like the restrictions we experience today. South Africa had just come out of apartheid and people wanted to let go of the past, the energy back then in this country could not be matched anywhere in the “first” world, our dance floors where rated the best in the world because of it.
I was never really into the rave tunes, back then I got my kicks from the latest speed garage or 2step house tracks coming out of the UK and the USA, and the first record I ever bought was Resident by Matthew Herbert, an Einstein when it came to making deep house.
– Besides just being involved in the industry as a DJ, you have been and still are involved in the events side of things, can you explain this a little bit for us?
I started a deep house club in Kensington called The Blue Chip in 2002 which ran for 3 years, we featured a ton of the veterans of today and it was pretty normal for there to be a long line of record bags all the way out the door of the who’s who in the underground dj scene all vying for the next mix, it was very high energy and the vibe was epic, we had a true rainbow nation dance floor of punters and i loved every second of it. After we closed the doors i traveled for a few years. When i got back i tested the market by hosting events under the same name as the club and we basically where able to pick up where we left off and go on to launch a whole new generation of DJ’s who have all made it in the local industry.
– Being involved in the industry for so long, you have seen it change to where things are at the moment. What excites you about the industry currently and where do you thing it can still improve?
In general I believe the country is doing well, and the scene is evolving and getting bigger constantly. It’s exciting to see how much electronic music has achieved worldwide, and the love people have for the music excites me to no end. My only beef is that at any given time it seems that a lot of different events are featuring a repetitive line up of DJ’s and I believe more diversification will help the overall experience of partying in South Africa. It shouldn’t be so hard for experienced DJ’s and music connoisseurs to get bookings and share their music, it’s the music that counts at the end of the day.
– What would you say is your preferred style and choice of music?
It’s hard to reduce it to one genre, I started out playing deep house in 1998 and never stopped. Today my ideal set would ALSO consist of Tech-House, Minimal and Techno. I’m a big fan of Progressive-House, it’s beautiful music, I find it to be a really mature sound, and I love programming a new Prog set.
– We have seen that you openly promote and express your enjoyment of playing Vinyl, do you sometimes still wish things were less digital?
Records are expensive for South Africans, but worldwide vinyl has stood the test and a short journey through images from Ibiza to Miami will show that Technics Turntables are still spinning, record sales worldwide are also higher than ever, so I think it’s proved that there is nothing like it. Technics Turntables are by far the most well build pieces of machinery out there, and my decks will out live me for sure. I mix all my Demo’s on my turntables, the sound of a record is unmatched by digital in warmth but that’s a small price i’m prepared to pay at the moment to use a set of Technics, and Serato Scratch does the job like a champ, it’s so stable, and the new sound cards are amazing. I’ll start buying records again soon because a lot of music is released on vinyl that cant be bought online, and thats a very attractive prospect to someone like me.
– Howard Hope is what you go by these days, can you give us a bit of a background on the name and what the concept is about?
The name is very special to me, for most of my career I have not had one that would stick. While traveling through Israel I read Howard Marks autobiography called “Mr Nice”. He is one of the leading intellectuals who believes in legalizing drugs, his story is amazing. At the time I was also in a deep mindset of “hope” and I still believe it is the most powerful state of mind for most humans beings. One day the combination of the words formed in my mind and it made a lot of sense to me, I designed a logo and it all came together. I am very happy with the way the brand has turned out, and it has endless potential even outside of the music industry. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback both locally and internationally in regards to the brand so far, I just hope that I can do it justice, and keep it growing steadily.
– To date, what has been your best achievement as a DJ/Event organiser?
It would have to be my involvement with the late Jeffery Kirkpatrick and Jay Kirkpatrick who build and ran the Venue CCHQ. We launched the Mad House events together, and for the people who where lucky enough to attended the events, their account will speak for itself. The local scene lost a treasure when the owners passed away and the venue closed, there was nothing like it, and there will never be another like it. VIVA CCHQ!
– Is there anything you are working on that we would be interested in?
A lot of new mixes, a residency in the CBD, a clothing range, and a series of showcase events. We are also on the look out for a new venue to bring Blue Chip and Mad House out of hibernation, and feature local artists that have the best sound and attitudes, it’s all about setting standards, and raising the bar.
– Where can people follow you?
Start at my website http://www.howardhope.com .You will find links to my Sound Cloud, Mix Cloud and relevant social media sites. All the latest demos I record will be released on the site first for download.
– Lastly, if you could play at any festival in the world, where would that be?
I would love to play a 10 hour set at Space or DC10 in Ibiza.