In conversation with HASZNAT
Updated: Jul 13, 2022
London-born audiovisual artist and creative director HASZNAT is a multifaceted creative who demands to be both seen and heard. As they combine avant-garde artistic visions and sounds to create individually bold and brash sounds and emotions, HASZNAT is driven by a desire to express their full self to the whole universe.
When speaking with HASZNAT, the first words that come to mind are that they are unbound, unapologetic and uncommitted to the commercial side of the music industry. As they have only released two singles, 'REAL ROTTWEILER' and 'ADRENALINE', they slowly peel back the layers of who HASZNAT really is underneath, away from the labels and societal expectations. HASZNAT is here to implore you to be yourself and shows you every ounce of their unfiltered and raw emotions - bliss, rage and joy.
What made you want to pursue music alongside modelling? Would you say that it spurred from the DJ mixes that you posted online previously?
HASZNAT: I started modelling as a tool for putting my face out there in an organic way from 2017 to 2020. I’ve always been a freelance artist, which then carried into my full-time career as a creative director and fashion stylist for a couple of years. Music was always my true calling but I always put it on the back burner as I knew fashion was my statement to depict my visions. I then shifted from this role of curating avant-garde looks and shoots to then honing my craft. In 2020, I started making mixes because I listened to fire s***.
Naturally, I knew music would come back around when I was 'ready'. Little did I know it would get to the point where I shifted from underground performance to headlining Colour Factory in Hackney for ‘REDLINE’, where I performed all my unreleased music and the whole crowd was feeding off my energy as if it was music they’d recited. I will never forget that performance. From that point on, I told myself I will sacrifice everything to get to where I am in the fashion industry, as I am my best investment.
Is there any particular message you want your fans to take from listening to your music?
H: The new generation punk is here. I am the unfiltered, pop-punk, dark-techno, demon/angel, non-conforming artist that will be heard worldwide, simply because I know I have a message. My listeners, I ask for one thing: max volume for max pleasure. Let my sonics depict the visuals in your mind. I make music that I personally would listen to. That's it!
What’s the biggest highlight of your career so far?
H: Music-wise, getting to be so hands-on with my debut music video. I was already used to doing creative direction, styling, and hair and makeup for other clients – but doing it for myself for the first time was beautifully chaotic. I know I am built for this life.
When did you start creating music and who would you claim is your biggest inspiration?
H: My biggest artist inspiration is M.I.A - the only form of representation I had growing up as a 'darker skin' Bengali kid. Someone who was so openly South Asian without having to prove their culture, was something so refreshing to me as a 12-year-old. Watching her ‘XXXO’ music video, M.I.A. says, "I make shit that has a fully deeper meaning, but I make it sound like a bop that people can dance to, you just need to look past the surface". This is something I naturally do with myself as a person and as a musician. Look past the subliminal!
How are you able to balance all of your creative outlets such as modelling, styling and making music? Are there challenges that come with it?
H: I’m a Capricorn. I carry a great sense of self-awareness and that is what allows me to be ME. No filters, no gimmicks. I never allowed myself to compare the essence of who I was to those who had to learn from others how to manoeuvre life. The only obstacle is that I have been freelance since I was 18. Sustaining a life and a creative career was a goal I knew I’d be able to tackle but only because I told myself that I’ve chosen an EXTRAordinary path in life - therefore, any challenges merely reflect the strength I carry. Self-sabotage (is something that) needs to be dismissed from all humankind.
Who would you most like to collaborate with on your next track or project?
H: M.I.A., Tommy Genesis + HASZNAT. That just will happen. Haha! Shygirl with Sega Bodega's production, ARCA and HASZNAT ft. Death Grips is something I just wish could've f****** existed.
What inspired the lyrics behind ‘ADRENALINE’? It differs hugely from your debut single ‘REAL ROTTWEILER’ in terms of subject matter, genre and emotion?
H: 'ADRENALINE' is a summertime dual single that depicts the nightlife in London - my upbringing. I wanted to reflect a soft-punk side of my music on track two, as I knew it would create a wider range of listeners to try to 'form' me into this artist/person many people paint.
Punk is not this white-washed aesthetic that we’ve generalised in society to believe is true. Punk itself has so many sub-genres and 'ADRENALINE' is the pop-punk side of my sound (a rare but present feeling in the upcoming EP) I wanted to create a sound-oriented time capsule of my teenhood; the playful breaks to the jumpy synths of both A-SIDE and B-SIDE entail a storyline of the party and the after-party.
'REAL ROTTWEILER' was the first-ever studio session I recorded in 2021. I haven’t been making music for over a year yet - however it feels so natural. This track came from such a rage-filled era in my life (which) I had to heal. Instead of just therapy and other resources, I was eager to unblock my throat chakra in another way. MUSIC.
'R.R' (shortened) is a reclamation of identity. Killing the shadow self but also falling in love with what vessel was left behind from the pain and tribulations of certain life situations - but then healing from it by repeating the words "Can't fuck up my high" or "The reality is here in the present time". The power of now is what shifted a lot of my thinking during my healing stages in 2021. I took inspiration from my techno nightlife but reclaimed this from the predominantly white crowds in the London techno 'scene' (I despise that word, as it's merely a way for sheep to have an identity) and brought back the rage where it stemmed from! Black and brown folk! I will always cherish 'REAL ROTTWEILER' as my baby. It was my first ever session too, which I find crazy to this day. You can never replicate true emotion and flow.
As someone who is quite solidified within the creative industry at such a young age, what is something you would tell a young HASZNAT?
H: Let the people talk, because they are going to talk regardless. The white noise will always remain what its purpose is – to be noise. You are going to receive what you earn rightfully. A sense of freedom within creation. A universal understanding of life. You are life, so live! Throughout all my creative works, I’ve ensured that I did things without the idea of the "rat race" as coming from a first-generation Bengali household, I broke the mould without even trying. So (I would say), young HASZNAT, keep doing what you're doing and trust that you were born to perform and be representative of those that look and sound like you.
Finally, what have you got planned next?
H: My debut EP, HASZNATONLINE, drops later this year. I’m so excited to fully provoke minds and invoke emotions through my audio-visual journey. I am going to be intertwining both visuals and sonic to curate a safe space within my fanbase: from short films to fashion-related projects and the weird and wonderful in between. The world will hear me. The world will see me. I am taking my sound beyond London to invite those from all around the globe to experience the NEW GENERATION PUNK.
You can check out HASZNAT on Spotify.