What you were doing when you were 19 years-old? Probably not making hit tracks, that’s for sure. Unless of course, you’re Hasta. This young Norwegian producer, otherwise known as Thomas Wesenlund Wahl, is the artist filling the air waves with his electric sound. He’s making such an impact that he even signed to the same label as fellow successful Norwegian, Cashmere Cat.
For his most recent work, Hasta has joined forces with London trio RITUAL and Cal to bring you the track “Urge”; a concoction of misty vocals fused with hip-hop/trap beats, all encased in a silvery melody. Explaining the origins of the single, “basically, I had this old instrumental simply called ‘Demo’ just sat in my beats folder. Now at the time, the tune sounded completely different than what it does now. I figured it could be cool to have some lush vocals on it, since the tune is quite mellow and calm, and I thought RITUAL would be a perfect fit”. Thinking that the song needed a feminine touch, RITUAL enlisted Cal into the mix, and thus the track was born. His fellow collaborators had nothing but good things to say about him too, with RITUAL gushing, “he’s a huge talent, it’s crazy – he’s part of a new generation of producers that are playing with sounds and drums in a really fresh way”.
Other than the single, Hasta is continously strengthening his portfolio, with credits like being co-producer on Goldlink’s break out 2015 track “Dance On Me”, as well as gaining over 100,000 streams on his edit of Norwegian band Highasakite’s “Someone Who’ll Get It”. Hasta’s unique appreciation for contrasting music genres like jazz music and Norwegian black metal serves as great inspiration for him, resulting in music that includes elements of hip-hop and a dark, sensual twist on trap beats. We caught up with the intriguing prodigy to chat about everything from Pink Floyd to Kanye.
Could you describe your sound in 5 words?
Electric, wavey, clubby, colourful and sexy.
How did you get involved with Ritual and Cal? What was it like working with them?
So I’ve always loved Ritual, and I was lucky enough to do a remix for them on their remix EP back in 2015. That whole thing turned into me starting sending them music, and they really liked it, so I was like; “okay, cool, let’s work on something” and we started working on “Urge”. We later decided that a female vocal could be really cool for the track. While working on this, Ritual had a studio session with Cal, and she liked the tune, so she thought why not do a feature on it. It all came to be in a very random but organic way.
Do you think your young age gives you any advantages over other artists in the music industry? Or maybe disadvantages?
I think it gives me mostly advantages, for sure. I have so much time on my hands right now – there’s not that pressure to “make it”. I feel like there’s space for me to figure out where I stand musically and really plan how I would like to approach this whole artist-career-thing.
How did you first get into music? Was a career in music always part of the plan?
For me it started back when I got my first acoustic six-string. I was probably around seven years old, and it just started this chain of events and sooner got me into producing.
At first it was horrible EDM at 13, but then it turned into something a lot more organic and deep. I think a career in music was definitely always in the back of my mind. But it was the creativity of creation that pushed me forwards. It didn’t really matter whether it was with a guitar or my laptop, I just really wanted to make music.
Talk us through your creative process when making music? Does an idea come naturally to you, or do you have to think about it a lot?
It usually starts with me getting a melody in my head or finding a drum pattern that I feel for. From there I just try to follow the flow in that. Other times I use or re-use scrapped ideas. Essentially I just light a few candles, look at my studio-cactus, drink chai and try to let the chill vibe sink in.
What’s the Norwegian music scene like? Do you like or dislike it?
I mean… We have a few clubs here and there, nothing major really. I come from a small town called Porsgrunn, and the clubs here aren’t that great.
Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim are very different – and I love playing there, as the crowd is more open to my style. Norway has a lot of great radio-shows and showcases that promote unique and forward-thinking music, so it feels like a good environment to grow up in.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I love Claude Debussy as much as I love Meshuggah actually, so I listen to all kinds of music. As long it’s good music, I’m going to listen to it.
You say you like jazz and Norwegian metal. What is it about those genres that you love? And how do they inspire your own music?
I love the aggression in metal. The guitar-riffs and drums feel right for me, always strong, and it reminds me of a really energised club-track. With jazz it’s all about the chords and swingy drums. I feel like I can really relate to those genres, with the aggression and strong feelings from metal blended into the more floaty and experimental melody in a jazz-tune. Thats the kind of track I want to create.
Who would be an artist, past or present, that you’d love to collaborate it with? And why?
I would love to work with Pink Floyd. For me that’s just the most genuine band out there musically; (or was, rather). I feel like I could learn a lot doing a studio session with them, just listening and observing. If it we’re present times I think it would be Kanye West. He’s a visionary. His passion and love for what he does is genuine, and he doesn’t care if you hate him for it, which I really admire. The GOOD Music producer crew is something I definitely would love to be a part of.
Have you got any exciting projects that you’re currently working on?
Indeed! I am working on my next single, it’s a bit more clubby and dark. I am also working on projects for a few great new vocalists. Can’t wait to share them! Other than that, really happy that “Urge” went this well!