Podcast 665: HAAi
Euphoric, winding psychedelia from Teneil Throssell.
Podcast 665: HAAi
Euphoric, winding psychedelia from Teneil Throssell.
An innate need to experiment and to explore new sounds has been a key driver in Teneil Throssell’s music career to date. Within just over 10 years, it’s taken her from a remote Western Australian mining town to becoming one of the world’s most sought-after DJs, now based in London, and a Mute Records signee. It’s been a whirlwind, she says.
Throssell was born in Karratha, in Australia’s Pilbara region, and her musical adventures began while in Sydney, where she played guitar and sang in various punk and psych-rock outfits, including Dark Bells, which took her to London.
Electronic music came into her life when she attended Berghain for the first time, which introduced her to the more psychedelic realms of contemporary techno. Hooked on the stuff, she became HAAi and began to invest more time into her Coconut Beats parties, hosted at a small tiki bar in Dalston, a suburb in the east of the English capital. This opened the door to shows on Rinse FM and eventually to a residency at London club Phonox, where she played Saturday nights for two years.
Throssell’s taste in music is unique and diverse, revelling in tracks full of intricate detail and character. She infuses her sets with heavy bass lines, from breaks to thumping techno, as well as all manner of percussive elements. With heavy textures and extended, winding grooves, her mixes bear the fingerprints of the psychedelic music that brought her to DJing.
In September, Throssell put out Put Your Head Above The Parakeets, her second EP on Mute, having debuted on Daniel Miller’s label last year with Systems Up, Windows Down. To celebrate the release, and also for the pure enjoyment of piecing some records together, she’s compiled a mix for XLR8R. Recorded at her London home, and with Throssell having not DJed for several months, the mix is full of new music that Throssell has received but not had the opportunity to play out. It’s pumping and wildly eclectic, but just a little bit less chaotic, she says, then when she normally plays out. Strap up, because this is a heavy one.
01. These recent months have been hard on artists, because you haven’t been able to tour. How have you been coping?
There are highs and lows, I think. It has given me a lot more space to work on production and to work with other artists. I’ve definitely said yes to far more remixes than this time last year. And I’ve been getting really into sound design stuff, which has been a bit of a silver lining. It’s given me an opportunity to take chances on things, and to take risks which I would have placed in the too hard basket. It’s been too easy for me to use touring as an excuse to avoid lots of this stuff. So I’ve kind of become a bit braver with taking things on.
02. How did the relationship with Mute come about?
As far as I know, I did a remix from Daniel Avery, a very close friend of mine, for his last album. It came out via Phantasy in the United Kingdom but on Mute in the United States, and it pricked the ears of one of the A&R guys for Mute. He went back through my back catalog and reached out to management. The label asked what I had been working on and I sent them what became Systems Up, Windows Down, and they loved it. That whole conversation was pretty life-changing for me. I’d gone through my life playing in bands and making music, and Mute has always been a pinnacle for me.
03. Do you get the same joy from making solo electronic music as you do in bands?
I enjoy doing it more by myself. I guess there are always certain elements of compromise when you’re making music with other people in a room, but you’ve only yourself to please when you’re doing it with yourself. I get a real kick out of being in a room by myself making weird noises using a computer.
04. What are you working on right now?
A bunch of remixes, but I’m also focusing on a long-player that’ll come out via Mute next year. One of the reasons I moved into this studio is because I want the album to be a thought-out studio album as opposed to something designed just for clubs, like my EPs. I want it to have live instrumentation, vocals, and all those sorts of things. I wanted it to be listened to, rather than just danced to.
06. What do you think makes your music stand out from others?
I definitely have a particular way of EQing textures, and it’s a very specific sound that I am looking for. I spend lots of time working with textures that aren’t part of the song but become part of the feeling, I guess, and EQing is integral in that. Any sound that I release has gone through so many processes before it becomes part of the track.
07. Do you find it hard to make club music when you’re not in clubs?
Absolutely. When lockdown started, it was really upsetting to make heavy music. I couldn’t really work out the point. That’s really when I started making things for the album, because it became clear to me that there are many places where you can listen to music.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that playing music in clubs is a good marker for whether they’ll work as a release, especially the heavier tunes. Is a drop here going to work? So with some of the heavier tunes I am making now, I don’t know if people are going to dance to them.
11. So have you added them to the XLR8R podcast?
Yes, so it’s full of floppy drops!
12. When and were did you record the mix?
I recorded it on the week of September 28 at my own home in London.
13. How did you go about choosing the records that you included?
I went back through a lot of music that had been sent to me for my label, because I aways like to include some upcoming artists and unreleased music. I just went on a dig really. Because I haven’t been playing for so long, I haven’t listened to as much music over the past six months so it was nice to dive in. I just wanted to include some classics that people have been making over lockdown.
14. How preprepared was it, and what was your vision?
I curated a bit of a playlist of what I wanted to play, then I recorded it all in one go. I used CDJs rather than turntables, because the way I play is much more suited to digital. I like the loops and stuff. I also wanted it to have lots of twists and turns, but I didn’t want it to be as chaotic as what I normally play. There’s always chaos in my mixes, which is an attention span thing maybe.
15. Do you find it hard mixing at home, compared to in a club?
I do, because I become really sensitive to any like mistakes or glitches. You feel like they stand out, and the anxiety is higher. Whereas when you’re playing with a crowd, there’s an energy and a vibe that allows for any kind of fluffs that you make, and you can get away with it.
XLR8R has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel, or subscribe to XLR8R+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
Full XLR8R+ Members can download the podcast here.
01. Pan Sonic “Lähetys / Transmission” (Blast First Petite)
02. DJ Plead “Espresso” (Livity Sound)
03. Delay Grounds “Ball Run” (Tropopause Records)
04. OZZY “Een Open Deur” (Radical New Theory)
05. A Psychic Yes “Lost In The Act” (Schloss Records)
06. BELIEF “Kruun” (Unreleased)
07. Corticyte “Integrate” (Unreleased)
08. Walton “FX625” (Ilian Tape)
09. Addison Groove “Bass Trips” (OR:LA remix) (Gutterfunk)
10. Emilio Arias “It Made Us Want to Undress (Self-Released)
11. BRONSON “VAULTS” (O’Flynn Remix) (Ninja Tune)
12. HAAi “Untitled” (Unreleased)
13. Delay Grounds “Plastic Toys Degredation (Unreleaed)
14. JV and Palf “Don’t Stop” (October Records)
15. John Tejada “Unstable Condition” (Kompakt)
16. Vladimir Dubyshkin “MILF Stalker” (trip recordings)
17. Aroent “Twin Bang” (Awkwardly Social)
18.) HAAi “Bon Viveur” (Mute)
19. Jensen Interceptor “Fuck Scomo” (Body Verse)
20. Metrist “VV Squi” (Timedance)
21. Sebastian Voigt & Timothy Clerkin “The Future” (Ransom Note Records)
22. Pearson Sound “Alien Mode” (Hessle)
23. Kilig “Black Treacle” (Unreleased)
24. LSDXOXO “Rockstar69” (Self-Released)
25. Joi “E.Sy” (Hidden Gems Nation)
26. Kamus “Wallace” (Nikki Nair Remix) (Unreleased)
27. Jules Becker “Supermage-4” (Unreleased)
28. OZZY “Maerts” (Intercept)
29. XX YouTube Clip
30. Amazon II, DJ Aphrodite “Deep In The Jungle” (Aphrodite Recordings)
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