I had the pleasure of speaking to Sterling Hauser, the creative mind behind AgNO3 and Darling, his Rock and Roll alias. The 21 year old from Hamilton, Ontario, is every bit a very humbled, very talented and very thought-provoking young gentleman who describes himself, life and music in such a way that you want to keep the conversation going, and going. Or “continuing to ramble”, as Sterling put it.
For a young and growing mind who began their career at 17, you can find tons of listening material – two SoundCloud accounts, four albums and few tracks released on Black Hole Recordings, Blu Music, Kolourbridge, Monstercat and his own label, Limbic Records – to understand Mr. Hauser as an artist.
1. Your electronic music production name is AgNO3, also know as silver nitrate, an inorganic compound in chemistry. How did you come to this name? Do you like chemistry?
This is not a cool story at all! No, I don’t like chemistry but I find science interesting. My buddy, Jacob McManus, and I were in chemistry class and he suggested I call myself Ag (silver), like Sterling Silver. I said no. He then suggested AgNO3 and it kind of stuck.
2. How would you describe your sound to someone who has not listened to any of your music before?
That’s a good question for any artist and a little difficult to answer. The intent behind my music is situational: every song fuelled by its own inspiration. Some people make music with a general image/general intent. For it’s never been like that. It’s been out of interest, curiosity and exploration.
If I had to describe it, I would say cerebral…in your head a little bit.
3. Your father introduced you to Aphex Twin, The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy at a young age. Have they shaped you as an artist? How has your dad added to your creative growth? What about the artists do you like about them personally and professionally?
My dad listened to all kinds of music, sometimes to a lot of oddball things. He was a teen in the 80s and had family in LA, so he encountered all kinds of crazy music. One of his best friend’s was an artist who painted David Bowie‘s apartment. My dad ran with a crowd who was in touch with a lot of weird stuff, it trickled down to my ear
The artists, I wouldn’t say inspire my sound but my open mindedness…my willingness to experiment. My dad inspired me in the same way.
Personally, they are all interesting guys. Apex Twin…he’s a genius of our era. He’s a really interesting character and his perception of how to create stories or moods in his sounds, he is just on his own journey.
Darling is how I produced different music inspirations. I’ve always want to make rock music. It was a big part of my life growing up. It was a 100 % anonymous thing, not as a marketing tool, but, an escape where I could create from pure raw thoughts and energy…true and honest music. It was picked up by blogs and they think it’s a group but I played all the parts. I am working on a full album but I only work on it when it feels right.
I was tired of getting rejected from other labels. It was super frustrating. I started at 17 and wanted to progress through the stages quickly. It came out of came out of spite/naïveté really. It was a way for me to distance myself from the dirty shit of labels and to ultimately connect with artists in the same boat.
Tom Havens was a crucial part in Limbic releasing on Beatport. I meet him at UMF 2010, my first rave, we connected and the rest is history. A lot happened that at Ultra as well: met Skrillex, Afrojack and Steve Aoki, gave Feed Me my first ever demo. I jumped in head first to the rave scene.
6. Your song Devil Inside was used in the trailer for the 2012 The Reels Snowboard Film Festival. How did that come to be?
The Reels is a French international film festival dedicated to the world of snowboarding. DiscoRazner is a French producer who released a song on Limbic Records and from the label his circle picked it up and it went from there. It’s not only the song in the trailer but the video has been edited to flow with the song. It’s pretty cool. I snowboard it the relationship has a mutual interest.
7. How did you approach composing some tracks for “A Woman Scorned”, a 2014 crime thriller by Justin Binkley?
It was fun and very interesting. Justin is a friend. There is nothing stranger than being sent a film with no music and having to compose it. It was a new adventure. I didn’t do any research on how to create a soundtrack…I kind of just dove in. I watched the film a few times and let music come into my mind, as I normally would. The idea panned from thoughts into full tracks.
Would love to do it again.
8. Haylie, your girlfriend, a photographer and an upcoming artist. How does she fit into everything?
She fits to everything. We met face-to-face, didn’t talk much. We started chatting online and everything grew from there. I love her so much because she is my best friend and she is my best friend because I love her. She helps me with my creativity. Being in love has opened my eyes to a lot.
Haylie is the most wonderful person I ever met in my life. There are no bad bones in her body. She will have a big impact in creative scene in the future.
9. What does Hamilton Rave Community and Toronto Bass Community mean to you? What have they done to further your creativity as a producer and as a DJ? What can we look forward to at your LOW FREQUENCY set?
What they are doing is absolutely admirable. Everyone’s hearts are in the right place. If they keep at it, they will be legends. The city (Hamilton) does not give a shit about events at club level but they (HRC) makes it happen. It’s about the music again.
It was disheartening at first, you try hard, play a set with the best intentions but I often played to empty ears/rooms early on. You could play anything and the audience would dance to it. Now you can see the actual passion and it’s inspiring.
LOW FREQUENCY…prepare to go balls deep.
10. Your first DJ was in a club going B2B with DJ Kreation at Van Gogh’s Ear in Guelph. How was that? What made you want to continue to DJ from that moment on? Do the same emotions resonate in you now?
Shout to DJ Kreation! My first gig was fun. I was underage at the time so it was amazing to see drunk people, hahaha. I learned DJing pretty quickly, from Cal Shrive. Now I understand the ins and outs of mixing, matching keys, looping, creating a cool, cohesive set.
11. Is there any advice that you follow day to day?
Life: just relax, don’t force things unless you need to get things done. Life will take its course. Pushing too hard may lead down the opposite part. Life is a huge sacrifice and it needs discipline. Focus and make it happen. “He who wants everything loses everything,” is my favourite quote so I try to not want things, but work towards them.
A year ago I was completely different place than I am now. I am where I want to be in life, I have a car, and there people who enjoy my music. My mindset dictates a lot.
Producing: do your own thing, don’t give a shit. Know why you are doing what you’re doing. Don’t sell out…don’t sell out for yourself
It was an absolute pleasure speaking to AgNO3 and I can’t wait to see him live this Wednesday November 19, 2014 with Solid State Death Machine (SSDM), Drillfist, DJ Alrighty Then at Toika Lounge for the November edition of LOW FREQUENCY, presented by Toronto Bass Community. If you are free come out,it’s $5 at the door all night! You can find the event preview HERE and the Facebook event HERE. Hope to see you on the dance floor!
Natalia Toussaint – EDM TOR