Hegstraction, an artist in the realm of hypnotic techno, is set to release "O: The Hypnotic Series" under Bad Haz Techno on Friday, January 26, 2024. This EP represents the second installment in an audacious series, where each track contributes to the narrative, spelling out "SOMNAMBULISM". Known for his captivating storytelling through music, Hegstraction pushes the boundaries of traditional techno, immersing listeners in a world of trance-inducing rhythms and haunting synths. "O" is not just a track; it's a vital piece of a larger puzzle, exploring the concept of somnambulism — the metaphorical sleepwalking through life.
Series Concept: Can you elaborate on the idea behind The Hypnotic Series and its exploration of the concept of somnambulism?
Sure. The aim for The Hypnotic Series is to produce standalone singles in terms of their individual soundscapes, but a series in which they all share the common characteristics of being highly danceable, a mostly continuous groove, and few breakdowns, drops, no use of risers, so that the listener / dancer can get immersed in the sound and lose themselves. The concept of somnambulism is not wholly being used literally as in sleepwalking, but the trance-induced state (which sleepwalkers are in) many dancefloor attendees can attest to.
Creating "O": What was the inspiration behind "O", and how does it fit into the narrative of The Hypnotic Series?
Following on the heels of "S", I wanted this track to have a very different sound, yet still have those hypnotic qualities. "O" was inspired by a night at Club Stereo in Montreal, and I think some extra details will be relevant for the later questions.
Musical Storytelling: How do you approach storytelling through your music, especially in a genre like hypnotic techno?
It's quite hard to explain the story of instrumental tracks, however, I try to convey this in the different use of sounds when they intermingle, and especially for hypnotic techno, when they build into a solid groove with subtle changes here and there. The ebb and flow, the way in which the transitions occur, these are ways the producer can create a storyline.
Sound Design: What goes into the sound design for a track like "O", particularly in creating its trance-inducing beats and haunting synths?
The sound design for "O" is not overly complex; I was able to hit upon a nice mix with the kick, beats and percussion, interspersed with some subtle complementary bass synths. This created the foundation for the trance-inducing groove, and with some subtle changes formed the continuous rhythm. Then, I knew I needed the kind of lead synth melody that would not only cut through the groove, but also combine with it, and this took quite a bit of time to nail down.
Influences and Inspirations: Are there any particular artists or genres that have influenced your work on The Hypnotic Series?
In the past, I listened to a lot of house, trance, as well as techno; now, I mainly listen to only techno from mostly underground, up and coming producers, and I'm sure on a subconscious level my production is influenced by all of these experiences.
Artistic Challenges: What challenges did you face in producing "O" and how did you overcome them?
Getting the right lead synth melody was tough, and at first, I was worried it might be too piercing; I knew it already had those haunting qualities I wanted, but after testing the track out on many different systems, I became confident it would work for the objective, which I'll get into later.
Future of The Hypnotic Series: As the series spells out "SOMNAMBULISM," what can listeners expect from the upcoming releases?
I think it's going to be a really interesting series for listeners; this is not the same track re-hashed a dozen times, which you often see. Each track will provide a thought-provoking experience, and give listeners the opportunity to enter that trance-induced state.
Personal Connection: Do you have a personal connection to the theme of somnambulism? If so, how does it influence your music?
I don't sleepwalk, at least not to the best of my knowledge, however, I have definitely experienced the trance-induced state, whereby you are both in the moment and 'sleepwalking', or would that be 'sleepdancing', and this experience informs my music.
Production Techniques: Can you share any unique production techniques you used in creating the distinctive sound of "O"?
It's a simple technique, but I had a lot of fun creating different versions of the melody at different speeds, and this is something I do often when producing. It may not always lead to the finished article, but at the very least it can lead you in creative directions.
Listener Experience: What kind of experience do you hope listeners will have with "O" and the entire Hypnotic Series?
Entering that trance-induced state would be the ultimate goal, especially with the help of DJs in sets looping various parts to really enhance the experience. But at the very least, getting listeners into that continuous groove and vibing with the material. For "O" specifically, the purpose of the haunting synths is to cut through the euphoric haze and create a memorable atmospheric experience. The kind which clubbers will talk about together after the event, the next day or weeks later, "Do you remember that sound when ...?"
Evolution of Sound: How has your sound evolved since you started producing music, and how is this evolution reflected in "O"?
I started producing music just for myself, to hear all the sounds I was drawn to, and my first album was more of a general electronic album with only some techno elements and influences. Having enjoyed the experience, I decided to produce music more like that of the clubs I frequented, and this track is a further progression in that journey.
Collaborations and Influences: Are there any artists or producers you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
Not really. I haven't been interested in collaborations I think because I usually have a clearly-defined artistic vision, and this doesn't lend itself well to working with others. However, I have enjoyed working with many talented producers for compilations, which have been a great experience.
Advice for Aspiring Artists: What advice would you give to aspiring artists who want to break into the hypnotic techno scene?
I would say have a clear vision and story of what you are making and releasing; don't just pump out tracks without any meaning. Also, when you have a reasonably sized back-catalogue that illustrates your musical journey, release less frequently, and focus on promoting your releases with a budget, no matter how small. And above all, enjoy the journey trying new things without worrying about failure - we can learn more from our failures than our successes.
What’s next for you in 2024?
I will be working on the rest of the series until "SOMNAMBULISM" is spelled out, and enjoying the journey!