NOIR & HAZE - AROUND : NOIR MUSIC
Much like his name, as an artist Haze Menon is hard to pin down, shifting genres and tempos at will. A visionary performer, singer-songwriter, producer, musician and DJ, Haze has been a constant and consistent presence in the dance music underground for almost 20 years. Scene defining and constantly moving, Haze’s résumé reads like a who’s who of House Music royalty.
His collaborations with artists like Noir, Full Intention, Shapeshifters, Dave Penn, Chus, Hardsoul, Sandy Rivera, Danism, Nic Fanculli, Audiowhores, MJ Cole, Kings of Tomorrow, Skylark, Solomon, Subb-Ann.. etc… as well as releases on Defected Records, Strictly Rhythm, MN2S, M.O.S, Sony Australia, Sony Germany,
Universal Germany, Snearkers, Hed Kandi, Emi, Fierce Angel, Noir Music, Black Whiz and a host of underground labels have helped to push House Music into new territories and develop new textures.
The combination of his artistic vision, musicality and his ability to shift gears like a twin clutch sports car has seen him to develop into one of the most highly sought after vocalists, songwriters and producers in the industry, and he has spent the last decade crisscrossing the globe, recording and performing alongside dozens of artists as well as delivering his own full live show to ecstatic audiences at clubs around the globe from Ministry of Sound to Pacha to Zouk.
Tracks like ‘Changes’ with Kings of Tomorrow topped the UK dance charts in 2003. 2007’s massive crossover Ibiza anthem ‘Freak’ with Sandy Rivera reached #6 on the Dutch Top 40 and his 2008 collaboration with Danism, ‘Mesmerize’, broke through to the mainstream charts in Australia, with its successor ‘Strike’ reaching #1 on the Beatport charts.
Like any dance music artist, it’s the present that’s the most important. And 2011 has already been a massive year for Haze. One of the major tunes from this summer’s party season, gracing more DJ boxes than we’ve got space to name and the Essential new tune on Pete Tongs Radio 1 in November 2011, is the infamous Haze & Noir collaboration ‘Around’ by Noir & Haze on Noir Music. Backed by a brace of mixes by Solumon and Subb-Ann, this deep club banger mixes icy cold-wave synths with a signature upfront vocal from the Malaysian star. Just when we thought
the record had done its rounds, Defected Records licensed it for the world and will see a re-release of this dropping in February 2012 with a slew of mad remixes. ‘Around’ will be launched again to the global masses. Its anticipated to be one the years biggest records in 2012.
November also saw the highly anticipated collaboration between Haze and Full Intention on the reactivated Strictly Rhythm label. The track titled, ‘Signification’
has Haze and the British production duo going back to their House roots with a soaring piece of string-soaked pulsing optimism, complemented by remixes from Fool’s Gold Star, Rogerseventytwo and one of Strictly’s hottest producers, Sebjak.
“I keep talking about soul,” Haze explains. “Because I put my soul into every record I make. It’s personal; it’s me. From the beats, to the music, to the vocals. For me, the studio is therapy; it’s where I speak. So it’s a privilege when people choose to listen.”
Variety and eclecticism lie at the heart of Haze’s philosophy, reflected in his personal motto: Stay Foolish. Stay Hungry. It’s an attitude that reflects dance music’s heart and soul: the fun and ecstasy of the dance floor. It’s also a reminder to himself to keep experimenting and pushing boundaries in everything he does. It’s an attitude that has seen Haze move from the deepest of House Music to tough Electro cuts, creating musical identities that reflect the numerous labels he records for and delighting diverse club audiences worldwide.
It’s certainly been an interesting journey for this musical prodigy. Classically-trained, he began his musical career at the age of 17 at one of South East Asia’s leading recording studios, before joining the band Asiabeat in the mid-1990s as it began its climb to recognition as the region’s leading jazz outfit. Always single-minding in pursuing his own vision, by 1995 he was an in-demand producer for artists throughout South East Asia and China, producing artists and tracks for major labels including Warner, Universal and B.M.G.
In an industry awash with dubious ‘live’ performances, Haze’s shows have always pushed dance music to its very edge. With his vocals and keyboards at their core, his shows allow him to push House Music into ever-deeper territory. Freed from the structures of a rigid set it allows him to tweak the mood by the second, reacting to the energy and atmosphere of the dance floor and building unique experiences for clubbers that can never and will never be repeated.
With a bank of recordings and a prolific work rate, Haze is celebrating this 20-year anniversary in the music business with a relentless release schedule. First there’s a new label, which will see the producer release 20 brand new club-friendly singles at a rate of one of every two months.
Even more significantly, there will be the release of his first solo artist album. Publicly showing off his more soulful side for the first time, it will demonstrate the ease with which this versatile artist can take listeners on an emotional journey. Offering Haze the chance to breathe and expand his vocals, the album is chock full of hook-heavy late-night dirty soul cuts that leave plenty of room for club-friendly mixing.
“Club based tracks are about moments” he explains. “And usually a DJ will be taking your track and feeding it into his or her own journey. The album will explain who and what Haze is away from the dance floor. It’s a very honest approach: it’s just me; baring my soul.”
With a packed 2011 just coming to an end, we can only imagine what he has in store for 2012 and beyond. One thing’s for sure; we can predict the weather forecast to be definitely…HAZEY!!!