Cyril Hahn & Javeon 'Breaking' 

Harris Elliot & Dean Chalkey Interview —
"Return of the Rudeboy"

In Conversation with Cyril Hahn and Javeon

Vancouver-based Cyril Hahn was studying at university when his living room remix of Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” went viral. And he never thought that two years later he’d be playing the Roskilde Festival, one of the world’s largest. Whereas for Bristol, UK artist Javeon, music has been his passion since he began singing at eight. We sat down with the two artists to get their take on electronic music today and how their aesthetics converged on their track “Breaking.”

What do you think of the current electronic music scene?

Cyril Hahn: At the moment, electronic music is moving more into the mainstream again. An artist like me can be exposed to a bigger crowd, which is great. And the move to the mainstream is creating new electronic underground movements which will be interesting to hear.

Javeon: You’re also able to look up old songs on the internet you wouldn’t have been able to find before. It’s allowing everyone to cross-pollinate from different styles. A lot more people are into everything – pop music, dubstep, drum and bass, R&B – who might have not have been ten years ago.

C: There are already a lot of house producers rejecting the current pop sound though, going back to the basics of house music by only using analogue equipment and adopting a lo-fi aesthetic.

J: Music moves so quickly, it’s just about waiting for the next thing to come up.

What are your favorite music videos of all time?

C: I never really listened to Fatboy Slim, but I've always loved the “Praise You” video.

J: Missy Elliott’s “The Rain [Supa Dupa Fly].” I was into superheroes when I was younger, and it still fits the kid in me.

MP3 or vinyl? Do you have a big collection of either?

C: I love both, but I am a child of the internet and grew up downloading from Napster, etc. – so my MP3 collection is definitely bigger. Now, I find most of my music from my friends or off blogs.

J: I love them both too. I’m not a DJ, like Cyril, but I love the artwork you find on vinyls. And I have all my releases on vinyl too. I like listening to new music on SoundCloud, and I’m actually working with a couple guys that I found there. I recently heard a song by XO featuring Rob Law called “Holdin’ On.” It’s really sick. It connects with me.

Cyril, if you could remix anyone, who would it be?

C: Kate Bush or R. Kelly.

And Javeon, do you have anyone you wish you could sing for?

J: I wish I could have sung for Aaliyah. She was part of an era of R&B that I am really inspired by.

How did you start your careers?

C: I’ve always tinkered around with music but never thought I could work in it. I was still in university when my remixes started getting popular online.

J: I’ve been singing since I was about eight. I’ve always wanted to do this – except when I was five, when I wanted to be a basketball player!

What is it about Bristol and Vancouver that keep you away from larger cities like New York or London?

J: Bristol is home, where I’ve written some of my favorite songs. There’s enough there to keep me interested.

C: Vancouver’s a big city but it never feels overwhelming. You can walk to the ocean from downtown, or you can be out of the city in the woods within a few minutes. And the music scene is definitely on the rise with a lot of cool underground house producers/collectives like ASL and Mood Hut. And with internet, collaborating is becoming easier and easier. So far I’ve done all my collaborative tracks via the internet.

How did you approach working together on “Breaking”?

J: There’s an acoustic version I wrote with Fraser T. Smith. He played the guitar, but he let me do my thing spilling my emotion out. The melody of the “breaking” chorus came first.

C: Javeon sent me over the stripped-down vocals. It was just his voice and the guitar and had a much more melancholic vibe to it. He asked me if I wanted to have a go at turning it into a full song, so I gave it a try. It’s been really great to work with vocalists to come up with something completely new, rather than remixing a song.

Would you compare your creative relationship to any famous duo?

J: Batman and Spiderman. [Laughs] Cyril’s quite quiet, so I think he should be Batman!

What did you think of the fashion featured in the video for “Breaking”?

C: I really like how the flamboyant outfits juxtapose the monotone environment of the neighborhood the kids live in.

J: I’m normally a basic dresser: t-shirt, jeans, and white trainers. But lately I’ve liked what Acne’s been doing. Bomber jackets are really my thing. But in the video, I was jealous of the guys and wanted to be the one wearing the suits! I couldn’t help a little bit of clothes envy.