New Music Discovey: UK Reggae Band "Hassle" Are Here To Settle Things Down [Interview]

UK reggae band Hassle was born in 2002.

Hassle are influenced from the reggae sound of the seventies, aiming for a more warm, pure, and earthy sound, something often lacking in modern music.

The Hassle sound combines a mix of lover’s rock, dub, conscious lyrics about the world today, and the beauty and power of nature.

[Q] Your last release, Make Ya Mouth Run landed at number 1 on the iTunes world reggae chart, you must have been thrilled.

[A ] 100 percent! How could you not be really, that can never ever be taken away. There is so much self-hype, bluff and fakery in the modern world but that No1 and streams we have had since are simply facts, end of story.

[Q] You mentioned Spotify has that opened up many doors 

[A] Yeah, massively. To get plays in all corners of the world is what you do music for in the first place. I mean you want your music to be heard by as many people as possible and Spotify allows that, there are many amazing artists out there so to think people are taking the time to listen to ours is amazing 

[Q] So, your new single is called life is for living tell us about that 

[A]  Well it’s a song I wrote a while back and had just started recording it, then due to the current lock down with Coronavirus obviously the band couldn’t get together, so I just recorded it all myself at home and played all the instruments on the track including, bass, piano, organ and guitars. Because the band is old school, the only other member except me that has the internet and recording equipment was Tony, so he sent some extra guitar parts over the internet and I mixed it all this was done at home. 

Neil Pickles who has Mastered for the likes of Paul Weller and Stone Foundation and has done so for Hassle previously did the two tracks for this release and as usual did a fantastic job. 

When people heard it they responded extremely positively and the vibe was that needs to be put out now. Life Is For Living holds a positive and is a needed message in these times.

[Q] You mentioned before about not being able to get the band together due to the current lockdown. How has it affected you musically 

[A] In a lot of ways. We had the previous hit and just as we were getting sorted to put our foot down everything had to be put on hold like it has for everyone. 

You have to either adapt or stagnate which is why we’ve had to go a different route for now, so we’re putting this track out, recorded during the lockdown along with a video on our own label Slowglass Sound (we’ve previously put two Hassle eps out). 

We are living in the moment and therefore adapting and doing something positive, thanks to the great efforts of our small tight team, we’ve managed to put out this single out. 

[Q] The second track on this release is, Life Is For Living (Self Isolation Dub) which I extremely enjoyed, tell us more about that 

[A] Well I’m extremely into dub and obviously that reflects in the band, so to me when approaching dub I want it to have its own identity when compared to the vocal version. With this dub version I stripped it back and made the track a bit darker and bleaker. In my mind I let the bass stand out and have more space and when I mention darker and bleaker it’s because to me that’s what the streets felt like one evening due to the self-isolation vibe, hence the name for the dub version. 

[Q] I listened to all of your tracks on Spotify. There is a track called In And Out Of Love which is a 70s dub mix. It sounds like it’s from exactly that 70s era, how was it recorded

[A] Ha Ha. Thanks job done then, Funny you mention that track as it’s had a load of streams, it’s one of the most played Hassle tracks worldwide. 
Recording wise we used as much analogue and tape as possible. Using outboard, old school tape effects such as the Wem Copicat and space echoes. We tried to use the equipment which artists used back in the day as well as the restrictions they had and mind sets. 
With the new release everything I recorded I put restrictions on, how many tracks I use and how many effects. 
I also try to keep away from plugins as much as possible if you have something that improves or adds to a sound then it doesn’t matter if it’s digital or analogue, use it, but if you have 20 tracks and ten plugin effects going it’s not going to  sound like the 70s reggae and dub that I’m into. 
However, there is no right or wrong way to record it, it depends on what sound you want to achieve. There’s plenty of good music which has loads of effects on with the kitchen sink thrown in and still sounds great. 
I’m definitely influenced by sound but I also want my own vibe on a track as well, it’s not a case of wanting to mimic things but influence definitely plays a part even if it’s subconsciously. 
I appreciate you taking the time to hook out In And Out of Love and glad you enjoyed it.

[Q] Apart from the 70s era of reggae and dub is there any more current reggae acts or artists that you enjoy 

[A] Prince Fatty and Adrian Sherwood are two producers who make fantastic music. Their sound and attitude towards how they make a track as well as their choice of equipment to use I dig on. They are definitely the two I get excited about when they have a new release.

[Q] So, taking into consideration the current lockdown what are your plans for the future with Hassle 

[A]  First up is taking care of my family and each other, which takes preference over everything. 
Also at the same time, knowing this won’t last forever, I’ll be recording and writing but mainly recording as I have the whole next album written. 
Once we can all go out as a band and play again we will rehearse and gig. We already have a two albums to put out that aren’t available as well the new stuff. 
The way the current situation has affected things, it’s made me change my mind set as to how you can get your music played live. 
Without having other band members about obviously there’s acoustic sessions which I do as well as sound system live dubs of our tracks and live vocals, just thinking outside my normal box really on how to go about things. 
I guess that is to me creating a positive from a bad situation.

Thanks for taking the time to do the interview, good luck with the next single

Cheers, no problem at all.

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is an independent label created by an artist to better produce and promote other artists. With the lack of publishers to help talented local artists to broadcast their music, it was important that some one take the first step and lead the way to a new generartion of self made artists.

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