In recent times, there has not been many more names synonymous with the London scene than, Harry McCanna. Whether, kicking it with his NorthSouth Records family at their local home, The Lion & Lamb, or locking down after parties in off key locations around the city. One thing remains, his unique ability to weave together a wide range of genres with a full understanding of the desires of the dancefloor.
A talent that has been acknowledged across the board; with a recent trip playing several cities in Australia, alongside parties in the UK, Italy and Belgium. The curiosity of this young artist does not stop there, as he continues to build a reputation under the production alias, Henry Hyde. A variation of releases on Undersound, Half Baked and joint outlet NorthSouth Records.
Check out what went down when we caught up with him ahead of his Oscuro London Showcase this Saturday at 93 Feet East:
Harry McCanna Exclusive – MEOKO 251
So, to kick things off, congratulations on your recent debut tour of Australia, How did you find it? How would you compare it to parties in Europe?
Thank you, it was an amazing experience. It was my first time spending a few weeks away ‘touring’ so it will always be a milestone for me.
I think it’s hard to compare the two right now, it feels like Australia’s scene for this kind of sound is still growing. However, there’s some real passionate people both involved in the scene and just generally out partying and that’s always great to see. I definitely felt a buzz and an openness to new ideas at each party, especially in Melbourne, we had a lot of fun there.
It’s been many years since we last caught up with you, and I’m sure a lot has changed! Last year saw the launch of your own label North South Records, along side Half Baked resident Sam Bangura and Dale Mussington. Where did it all start? How have you found the reception so far?
It was actually December 2015 that we first spoke about starting a label together, then there was about a year of us getting our ideas together and getting in touch with the artists we wanted to work with etc. It took us ages to come up with a name, but when we finally settled on ‘NorthSouth’ towards the end of 2016 everything seemed to move fairly quickly. We didn’t quite know what to expect, so it’s really nice to see that people out there are enjoying it.
It is great to see you are releasing frequently now on personal projects and recently Half Baked. It is Coming up to NorthSouth’s third release featuring yourself and Chris Geschwindner, who also featured on the debut release. An incredible talent for sure, is there an umbrella of artists which you have in mind for the label moving forward?
We’ve always had the ethos of working with friends. We’d known Chris Gecshwindner for a few years already and he was the first artist we knew we wanted to work with. We’d spoken about releasing his tracks long before NorthSouth was properly formed, Christian Jay and Bilal were both on the radar from early as well. We really love the individual sounds each artist bring and we’ll definitely be working with all three of them going into the future. We’ve also got plans to introduce one or two new artists as well, but that will all come soon enough.
I love the fact you have an alias when producing, Henry Hyde. What inspired you to use an alternate name for your releases? It’s definitely got a ring too it.
Ha! Glad you think so. Henry Hyde first came about in 2014 when I made a batch of tracks that all had a certain sound about them. For me they were the first tracks that I felt really represented me and the sound I wanted to produce. 2 of them went on to be the first Undersound release in 2015 and I’ve continued to work under the alias since, although I feel like the actual sound of Henry Hyde is always developing.
This May, NorthSouth celebrates its first birthday at The Lion & Lamb, the local pub. Do you see this a fitting home for your label and the sound you portray? We think the opening of this venue was a breathe of fresh air in London.
The Lion & Lamb is one of the best things to happen in the scene in London for ages. It feels like a real hub for what we have in London and everyone working there has a real passion for what they’re doing.
We didn’t really plan on running parties as NorthSouth until a couple of months before the first release, although I still wouldn’t really call ourselves promoters, we just bring our mates and our records and have a good time. The pub is so well prepared, there’s not much else we need to do! It’s definitely the right place for us. Long live the Lion & Lamb!
There is a always a certain buzz around the scene in London, but recent times feel like it really is thriving with even more incredible line ups and off key after party locations. Would you agree?
Yes I would. In the last few years London’s underground has faced some tough times, but I would say that it’s coming back even stronger now. As you say there’s been a lot more interesting new spots used for afters, it’s great to see promoters are always looking for different spaces. It’s nice to see some new venues opening as well, Cell 200 and The Cause both look very promising and the recent reopening of 93 Feet East is good news. The overall level of London-based parties, labels and artists has always been high, but I feel like people are really pushing things forward now. It’s extremely inspiring to look around you and see so many people doing great things.
You are known by many for your impeccable selection of records. What are you favourite spots for digging for records? UK and World Wide.
I wouldn’t really say there’s any specific places, obviously the internet can be extremely handy, but you can sometimes miss the more personal experience of actually going and having a look. Whenever I’m visiting another city I like to look for any local spots to have a rummage. Visiting a collection is always nice, you can generally find a more varied selection and it’s just a bit more of a comfortable environment. Shout out to Mr Plasticvinyldog, he’s always got the goodies, and makes a great tea.
You seem to be pushing out a unique sound under your alias Henry Hyde. What kind of set up are you using in the studio?
As I’m still making music from home it’s a pretty bedroom friendly set up:
I use an I-Mac with Logic Pro X, a Roland Octa-Capture interface and a pair of Yamaha HS-7s. As for hardware I’ve got a Roland Juno-D, Access Virus B and a Yamaha TX81Z that goes through a Waldorf filter. I also have a Korg Electribe ER-1 and Volca FM that come out everyone now and then. I’ve also got a cheap mic I’ve had for years that I use to record the odd clap or voice when I feel like it.
There’s always the quest to get more though!
Anything else you would like to enlighten us with, any plans for the summer, releases?
There’s a few nice bookings coming up I’m excited about. Oscuro this Saturday is shaping up to be real fun, can’t wait to play b2b with Voigtmann for the first time. Ojoo’s first birthday in Ghent May 27th should be great, I played for them at their first party last year and was one of my favourite gigs of 2016. Leeds Inner City Electronic festival in June as well, that looks like a cracker. I’ve got a couple more tracks coming out on VAs, but I’d like to focus on doing a full length EP soon. I’ve only ever released a maximum of 2 tracks at one time, so I’m quite keen to get something a bit more substantial out.
We really appreciate you taking out your time to do this interview and thanks for recording a special mix for us, can you tell us a little bit what the listener can expect?
Some old, some new, some unreleased. There’s tracks in there I’m playing out at the moment and some I’ve been saving for a mix. So yeah, a bit of everything really, hope you enjoy it.
Lastly, the million dollar question. Three records that never leave the bag?
Vengaboys – We’re Going to Ibiza
Baha Men – Who Let the Dogs Out
Shaggy – It Wasn’t Me
Words by Zac Bidwell