I first met Weska (Cody Hull) on the drive to Detroit for Movement. During the trip we were all talking shop and he mentioned a couple of tracks he had been working on. I didn't think too much of it, and didn't ask to hear at the time, which turned out to be a missed opportunity on my part. Later in the weekend we were chilling in our friend's hotel room after Movement having some pre-drinks when someone put on these fantastically deep, driving techno tracks that had just the right ratio of grit and bounce to them. I asked who it was. Cody didn't say anything at first, just looked a bit shy. Another girl pointed at him from across the room, and he raised his hand and said, "It's me!" Since Movement, he's had a number of successful releases over the summer and shows no signs of slowing down. Even Dustin Zahn is keeping his eye on him. For this installment of Northmix, Weska took some time and put together this dark yet quirky set, full of dirty bass lines—perfect for the warm up to the rest of your night. And seriously, this guy is one to watch.
THUMP: Where did the name Weska come from?
Cody: Weska actually came from a mispronunciation of a song I used to really like, and because I just said it over and over again, it stuck and I became familiar with it. Then when it came time to finding a name, lo and behold, Weska! It's actually a real name though, I had people from like Sweden and a couple of other places saying "Hey, I'm Weska!"
You're born and raised in Toronto. Were there any shows or spots you went to when you were younger that really wet your appetite for electronic music?
Even as a kid, whenever I would hear that offbeat hi-hat in any song, I pictured that to be what "club" music was. I never knew what it was called but I loved it. But when I started going out, it was Deadmau5 that got me. He was insane; he's still one of my favourite producers to be honest. I remember seeing him at the Guvernment about four years ago when he was still playing his earlier stuff, before it got more commercial. Really the guy can make anything he wants, I respect him for that. It was also my first time at the Guv so I think that definitely added to it. I remember going to The Social too, but that was a long time ago. That was the spot, Social Mondays. I remember playing there before it became a thing, and it was empty on Monday nights, then I got to witness it become the thing that everyone went to. I loved how Social Mondays were a thing. I think it was also my first clubbing experience, even though it was so tiny. So grungy, so great. And so many people played there.
What did you love so much about Movement and Detroit?
Well, I thought Movement was the best festival I've been to. Seeing it from our hotel room, which was right by it, I was surprised to see how small it was, how they fit so many stages into one area but you could barely hear the other stages. The vibe was amazing—not that there's anything wrong with dressing up in neon and getting into the whole rave-gear thing, but people were really just there to listen to the music, they didn't care about everything else.
I thought the best stage was the Underground, which is literally just underground, it's this big cave of techno. I stayed there for quite a while. And ultimately just the fact that there's so much history in Detroit, that added so much. I'm reading a book at the moment called Techno Rebels, and they talk about how everyone thinks it all started in Germany, but it actually started in Detroit as a way for the black youth to move against the status quo. I had no idea about that. I wish I had. I'll definitely have another level of appreciation for it when I go back now.
I heard you bumped into someone you're quite a fan of at the Underground stage in Detroit…
Oh man yeah. Okay, so I definitely met some really cool people that weekend. Dustin Zahn was one of them, he's signed to Drumcode and he runs Enemy Records, he's a big techno guy. I was wearing a Drumcode t-shirt in the crowd, and he was just strolling through apparently. He tapped me on the shoulder and said "nice shirt" and it took me I think three looks to realize it was him. I literally was like "Oh holy shit you're Dustin Zahn!" he laughed and was like "yeah man that's me." I had a little freak out fangirl moment right there but man, he's the nicest guy, so chilled. He gave me a bunch of stickers from his album, we talked a little, I got his email, and we've been chatting since then. He even checked out some of my tracks.
Can you tell us a bit about your recent releases?
I had one that came out on Layton Giordani's new label from New York, he's young but super talented with a lot of industry support. He started the label and I sent him a few tracks that actually ended up making the EP. People have been digging it, I got a lot of sick feedback. I had a single come out recently which has also received some cool support; it came out on NB Records and was called "Crabs From Mars." I have another one coming out at the end of August but it keeps getting pushed back so we'll see. Nature of the industry. That'll be on Black and Purple Recordings out of Ecuador, and it'll most likely be a bit lighter than my other tracks, a bit more tech-house.
You mentioned you are very goal oriented, so which labels are you aiming to see yourself on? Do you have a top five, ten, twenty?
[Laughs] Oh I do, and it's more like twenty. Obviously Adam Beyer's Drumcode is my favorite, Nicole Moudaber's Mood Records, it's a more recent label but she's so amazing—she puts a lot of variety on her releases, its a bit all over the place at times but so is she and it just seems to work. Carl Cox's Intec, which I love, Christian Smith's Tronic Music. It's pretty much the guys and girls who have been around for a while, those are the ones I'd love to be a part of.