US homeboys Hipp-e & Halo , aka H Foundation, have been dedicated to making heavenly house since 1989. One of our best references to the magic of their timeless house grooves can be found in their fabric 07 mix which to this day still packs an emotional punch. After years of collaboration that yielded fantastic success and a torrent of releases on Soma Quality Recordings, Low Pressings and Siesta Music, the duo have been busy concentrating on their own music projects and personal life goals, including Halo’s own label Surface and Hipp-e’s production company, ROOTS and its growing party arm.
As faithful H Foundation fans, we’re thrilled to hear the boys are thrusting themselves back on the scene with some cobweb quelling new music material, including a fresh remix for Hector on One Records and some original H Productions all coming our way later this year. They've also been enjoying connecting back with old friends and new artists like the aforementioned Hector, Art Department and Matt Tolfrey who have all been heard blasting out H foundation classics in their DJ sets recently.
As we get ready for the return of H Foundation this Saturday – their playing alongside Craig Richards and Cassy in the place they call home, Room One – we speak to the duo who highlight the varied shades of their past and present. As you can imagine, we’re loving this brand new mix they made ahead of the event, it’s a wondrous selection of impressive house that you can download for yourselves below.
How did each of you start out in making beats and DJing? Hipp-e: I started when I was 16 in ‘89. I was always into dancing and was going out to this club and watching the DJ. After a few months of watching I became friends with the him and he gave me a spot as a support DJ. I eventually started playing at all the local clubs and then started throwing my own events which enabled me to play what I wanted versus what program the clubs had, in retrospect I feel very blessed at the path I chose.
Halo: I also started DJing in 198,9 just out of grade school. Growing up in Chicago played a huge roll on my musical career because I was surrounded by some of the most inspirational DJs and producers. In 1992 I started working at a local record store called HipHouse I would bring my mix tapes to the store and give them to local promoters that would come in to drop flyers off, I started getting booked at raves and undergrounds. In 1998 I bought my 1st piece of studio gear which was an MPC 2000 and recorded my 1st record on Siesta which was called ‘Future’.
What were your early musical influences and inspirations for this? Hipp-e: I was lucky; my mother always had music on in my house growing up. I always had a passion for music and dancing, when I was 12 I started getting into electro and break dancing and the sounds of the New York streets, I always looked for alternatives rather than mainstream. I started playing electronic music in the 80's which led me to acid house from Chicago and the UK. As I moved into the "rave days" I was heavily influenced by San Francisco sound of Doc Martin, Jeno and what was going on there, I was a fan of house as well as techno and that's what pushed me to start producing, and that inspiration came thru in our music.
Halo: At home when I was young my parents would listen to the Stones, Jimi Hendrix's, the Beatles & Janis Joplin, in grade school on the weekends I would record & listen to Farley Jackmaster Funk, Kenny Jammin Jason, Bad Boy Bill on the radio so this was my introduction to electronic music after a few years I got introduced to my 1st underground parties and had the pleasure of listening to Mr Fingers "Larry Heard", Lil Louis, Frankie Knuckles and DJ Rush that was a huge part of musical inspiration.
You were both known as Hipp-E and Halo in your own right before H foundation. When was it you came to start working together? Hipp-e: As Hipp-e & Halo we had mutual friends in Chicago where Halo is from, I was DJ’ing quite a bit already there and we had hung out a bunch as friends, we had a great bond as far as musical interests and being close friends brought us together a lot, Halo had started writing music and I wanted to as well, he helped get me started on learning the MPC 2000 and just wrote some songs as we learned the MPC and they turned out really cool and so we wrote more and more!
What do you get out of collaborating that you don't get out of working individually? Hipp-e: It's fun when we work; we always laugh and have a great time. It's also great to bounce ideas off one another and get a balance of each other’s sound; we have always pushed each other as well.
How would you describe your working dynamic - how do each of your traits complement each other? Hipp-e: Halo has a great ear, he pays attention to the details and the fine tuning, I work very fast and push direction as well being quite good in arrangement and fast on the computer. It helps for getting things done in a timely manner.
What prompted you to focus on working together as H Foundation again? Hipp-e: I had pulled away a bit and focused on my family and doing events in Colorado, For the past 4 years my production company ROOTS, has been doing great parties and brought through great talent and that's been my way of staying connected to the music, but also kept me grounded at home with my family. My kids and business are doing great, I felt it was time to challenge myself again and I wanted to start contributing to the music. We were blessed with working with so many great people over the years and have prided ourselves on never burning bridges, so I thought it was time we’re connected with all out old friends and start to push our sound with a fresh start. Plus being a bit older and wiser now, we are looking at things a bit more clearly and have a stronger focus.
Halo: Over the last few years I've been busy working on my solo productions and remixes and I just launched my new label Surface. Over the last year we had played a few parties together and we had talked about getting back in the studio and work on new H Foundation material. it's a very exciting time for us again because of the feedback we've been getting from our friends and fan's, it's also super inspiring for us to hear DJs and friends like Hector, Art Department, Matt Tolfrey, Cassy playing some of our older stuff.
As well as a summer of gigs, what else do you have in the pipeline? Any releases on the agenda?
We just finished a remix for Hector on One Records called ‘Stoned Raiders’ along with a few new original productions coming out this year.
You've been developing a website - what features can we look forward to? Hipp-e: Yes, we revamped our Rootsevents.net site, we are shifting gears this year and starting to work on branding our event globally, we plan to do events at all the major festivals and conferences this next year and the website will be loaded with content from our past and present shows, be on the lookout for a ROOTS party coming to a club near you!!
What are you looking forward to the most about coming back to Room One?
Room One has always been the best gig in the world for us, the energy and vibe you can create in that room can be compared to nothing! We always enjoy fabric and have a long and great history there, Judy and the rest of the fabric crew are family to us, and Room One was our home from home for a longtime. It will be great to go back home.
Catch Hippe & Halo performing as H Foundation in Room One this Saturday.