This Is The Remix
This Is The Remix
On the back of some killer reworks, DJ and producer Cyril Hahn leaves his Vancouver home for a European tour. To celebrate, he’s made us an exclusive mix. Hear it here, and in Aritzia stores everywhere. By Jennifer Croll. Photographed by Evaan Kheraj
These days, the distance between obscurity and notoriety can be as short as a single Facebook post. Just look at Vancouver’s newest electronic wunderkind Cyril Hahn. Nine months ago, the soft-spoken 25-year-old art history student was making moody downtempo bedroom remixes for kicks, and posting them on his Soundcloud, mostly for friends. But in July, The xx linked his broody yet buoyant mix of Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” on their one-million-strong Facebook fan page, and nothing’s been the same since.
Today, that Soundcloud mix has over 700,000 listens (the YouTube version, over 2 million), and Hahn is preparing for his first-ever tour this March, of Europe, where some of the dates are already sold out. It’s a happy accident. “It was just for fun,” he confesses over a couple of pints in a dimly lit, brick-walled bar in Vancouver’s Chinatown. “I was ready for the grandpa life, just studying.”
Though he steeled himself for a quiet existence, Hahn’s always been involved with music on the side, playing piano as a kid, then guitar, then dabbling in vocals. “And then I sort of stopped three years ago. I just got bored,” he explains. “My tastes had changed so much. I listened to a lot of electronic music and rap, and so I tried to do something on the computer.” His first remix was of the frothy Mariah Carey hit “Touch My Body,” which he transformed into slow, haunting R&B. Then came “Say My Name,” and then the trickle of remix offers turned into a deluge.
Despite the remixes and the ensuing club bookings, Hahn’s hesitant to call himself a DJ. “I see myself as a musician or a producer because I never DJ’ed until people wanted me to play live,” he explains. “It was just last summer that I started teaching myself how. I’m not the typical DJ; I don’t do things on the fly. I have a set that I work on a lot. I guess I’m kind of OCD with that kind of thing. I like to perfect things.”
And Hahn does come across as meticulous in person. He speaks precisely, in surprisingly unaccented English given his Swiss origins (he only moved to Vancouver from Bern six years ago). He’s animated when talking about making music, shy when discussing its side effects. Like, for example, fan behavior—when I bring it up, he looks embarrassed. “Umm...I dunno. Just like, girls being very forward,” he offers, bemused. “And me, just very happy in a relationship and being like, ‘Oh, that’s intense.’”
Right now, Hahn is working on his first album for a label that he’s in the process of signing with, but can’t name: “I’m really excited; I don’t want to jinx it,” he says. In his original music, he predicts we’ll hear echoes of his mixes. “Yeah, it’s going to be similar. I never saw remixes as an inferior category,” he says. “I put a lot of energy into each song; I usually just take the vocals and rewrite the music. The only difference is that I’m going to have a friend, or vocalist, do the vocals.” He pauses. “It feels different working on your own stuff. It’s nice taking your time with it.”
And for Hahn, who’s been in the game for less than a year, time is an unexpected luxury. “It all happened so fast. The fact that I’m employed by my hobby now, I couldn’t be happier. I feel very lucky.”
Grooming: MELANIE NEUFELD
Stylist: ARACELI OGRINC