The speed with which Leeds techno wunderkind Happa has risen to hype levels is almost frightening. Appearing as if from nowhere in 2012 with a debut 12 for Church — a label launched by the forward-thinking south London club of the same name — he's caught the ear of the bass and techno cognoscenti alike with a sound hewn from onyx synths, sepulchral, industrial clanking drums and a roughneck garage swing that keeps the dance bubbling.
Each of his scant discography so far reveals a new side. 'Beat Of The Drum' begins as a bump 'n' shuffle of percussive choppage, before morphing into a minimal 4/4 drum workout oozing funk, while 'Bring It Back' is a moody, dark patrol through warehouses and city lock-ups, its predatory keys swooping low over bass heavy kicks. Other tracks are out there on YouTube too — 'Boss' is a broken beat tech thing with plenty of heft and ominous power. Four Tet, Loefah, Mary Anne-Hobbs and Zed Bias have all been singing his praises.
What many are most surprised by, though, beyond his as-if-from-nowhere appearance and fresh beats, is his age. Happa (aka Samir Alikhanzadeh) is only 15, and he's been making beats for two years already. But he'd rather people focused on his music, than his tender years.
“I reckon people shouldn't give a shit how old I am, and just concentrate on the music, but I'm not complaining,” he says.
Part of a new generation of beat-makers who've grown up fully acclimatized to modern production software, computer technology a part of everyday life, it's not just his skill at crafting tunes that is emblematic of his 'heir-apparent' status. Raised on dubstep of the noisier kind (“[Rusko's] 'Cockney Thug' was the first-ever dubstep song my ears witnessed, and to be honest is the reason for my addiction and love towards dance music now”), like many first inspired by the bass-heavy sound, he's made the transition to pitch-black techno, informed by the same speaker-box crushing low-end mentality that first drove the mavericks behind labels like Tempa and DMZ.
“The scene at the moment is fantastic, so much new talent and some re-emerging legends,” Happa reckons. “I haven't been following dubstep a lot really, as I have been stuck in techno for the past six months, so I don't really know what's going on there, but I will always love true dubstep. I think the UK has a really raw sound which no-one else can really capture, I don't know really... I would like to think I am a part of it.”
With a panel-beating remix just out of Four Tet's 'Jupiters' on Text, his next release will be a remix of shoegaze band Vondelpark on R&S, and clearly there's plenty more goodness in the offing. Come on, get Happa!
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