'Not Your Technique' was a project shot in the midst of lockdown by soon to be Manchester-based artist Euan Hall. In a lockdown, cynicism is a crutch, in a time where it’s much easier to be a sceptic than it is to imagine a path forward. This project is an example of the latter, 'Not Your Technique' has been released at what feels like the most claustrophobic period in our lives, yet it is a piece where the music and imagery couldn’t be more at odds with the dreary landscape in which it arrives, and yet it’s difficult to imagine it existing at any other moment.
Hall is an artist steeped in the spiritual elixir of hip-hop's past, present, and future, creating a track that extrapolates an intentional alignment between his love of music and cinematography. Hall's vision for this project is fundamentally open-ended; asking you to make something of it, to pin it in time and space before it fully unfurls. The track and video are imbued with a tangible sense of optimism throughout, whether it's clips of friends in a park or snippets of unexplored nature. Considering this is one of his early releases Hall should be highly commended, not only for his ability to stay creative during lockdown, but to create a piece that highlights the restorative power of both film and music. We talked to Euan a few days after he had released the track, here we got a full breakdown of how the track was made and what is to come from this highly promising talent.
Thanks, so much for talking to us, tell us a little bit about yourself?
No problem at all, always happy to chat music! So, I’m 22 and have spent the last few years enjoying life in Leeds as a student. Having recently graduated, I’m now back in Warrington trying to make the most of my time until I can move to Manchester later this year. Throughout my final year in Leeds I tried to stay as creative as possible, so I got involved with the magazine and starting learning to produce music!
We know you quite well and are aware you’re always involved in something creative, have you found lockdown a time where you’ve been more or less productive?
Lockdown has been weird. On one hand, there has been an absolute halt to live music and event culture, yet there’s been this insane online movement encouraging people to keep making things. DJs streaming for charity, free online music lessons, DIY yoga sessions, creative competitions... the internet has been awash with inspiration since March. I think that this temporary culture has really inspired me to get creative. Although, there is a flipside in that every day in lockdown essentially feels like Groundhog Day, so I have at times found it difficult to get the ball rolling.
This new track is a massive step away from what you’ve previously produced, give us some insight into what made you take such a different direction with your sound?
I started 2020 in quite an upbeat mood, and I was massively into house at that time. I still am for sure, but I think lockdown has essentially forced me to mellow out a bit. Every time I listened to house or techno it just made me want to go and see live music (which I obviously couldn’t do). I think this more ambient hip hop tune was influenced by the fact that we’ve all had time to slow down and get to know ourselves a bit more. That’s why I chose some pretty random and less obvious shots of my mates for the video. No one is really doing much but it’s a bit of an appreciation for the lull moments in our lives, which are always so easily forgotten. Also, I am still relatively new to production so it can’t hurt to branch out for now!
With a release like this there is no getting away from the fact you are a massively into hip- hop. When and where did your love of it start?
I think the first ever hip-hop album I bought was NWA’s Straight Outta Compton. Could you think of a more obvious way to discover the genre?! I was about 14 at the time, and I had a pretty solid group of mates who all discovered 90s hip-hop alongside me. Like every 14-year-old ever, we obsessed over the likes of Dre, Tupac, Biggie, etc. Since then I’ve sort of continually branched out and now, I would mostly listen to more jazz and soul-influenced artists like A Tribe Called Quest, or UK alternative stuff (like Frankie Stew and Harvey Gunn, Ocean Wisdom, etc).
Are there any Hip-hop artists who influenced this track, if so, who?
Weirdly, one of my main influences at the very start of making this tune was Linkin Park. On their debut album Hybrid Theory there’s a song called ‘Cure For The Itch’. It’s a bit of a mishmash of samples, record scratches, and beats, but it creates such a rhythm in this way that I’ve always found really interesting. I tried to incorporate these scratches and random vocals into my mix to give it some edge and I think it worked! With the drums themselves I took some inspiration from jazz artists like Alfa Mist and Ezra Collective, where the drum patterns are a bit more random than the typical hip-hop beat. There’s quite an organic sounding bassline in ‘Not Your Technique’ and I got the idea from that in a song called ‘3 Play It Cool’ by Crazy P. There is just a whole array of influences that didn’t even necessarily come from hip-hop, but I knew I wanted the final product to fall somewhere in line with UK alternative hip-hop beats.
The combination of music and cinematography is the standout in this project, you’ve done both individually before. What was it like to combine the two together?
Finally, being able to do this was so fun. I just genuinely really enjoy making stuff like this. I say “finally” because this is the first video I’ve made where everything in the project has been mine. I used to edit some videos for fun but would always use famous songs I thought were cool, but using my own music just adds another element to it.
The footage for the track is great, tell us a bit about the process of filming it?
Thanks! Over the past year or so I have been just trying to capture little moments on camera here and there, because no one ever does! I showed the video to a few of my friends before releasing it and they were surprised to see this random footage of them from so long ago. I mentioned before that this video is about those little moments in life, so these old clips fit in nicely with that theme. Also, they’re all just clips of some of my best mates, so it’s just kinda cool seeming them in action in a montage.
Do you have any other projects or stuff you are working on that you can let us know about?
Since this tune turned out pretty well, I think I’m going to follow the hip-hop route of production for now. Next on the agenda is to keep learning! I recently had the idea of opening up an online beats store for independent artists. That’s a bit of a dream right now though so I just need to focus on building a portfolio and improving my stuff before I think about selling (let alone marketing) my songs.
Check out the full track 'Not Your Technique' here.