Who is Hauswerks? House Producer and DJ Colin Barrett AKA Hauswerks has been creating music since the tender age of 17 and has releases on major House music labels such as Moon Harbour, Knee Deep, Toolroom and Get Physical to name a few. He makes a welcome return to the Music Barn Festival after several years. Expect a set unfused with groovy baselines, off-kilter samples and warping vocals. We caught up with him this month.
From the outside it looks as though you have the dream job, DJing at some of the most incredible and legendary clubs and festivals around the world. How did you start your career?
My music career started at quite an early age, I was just 17 when I had the realisation I could make a career through making and playing dance/club music. I had my first vinyl release later that year just before my 18th birthday, and when I walked into HMV and saw my record hanging on the wall next to other artists who’s records I’d been buying that was it, I was hooked!… and I still am 22 years later! I went on to do 4 years studying ‘Creating Music Through Technology’ which helped me delve deeper into music production and taught me a lot about the industry at the time with music business etc also part of the course, although a lot has changed since then it set me off on the right path.
What’s your all-time favourite club (to DJ in and to dance in)?
My favourite club for dj’ing in was probably room 2 at Sankeys Ibiza, I did a series of gigs there for Steve Lawlers Viva Warriors nights and it was one of the scenarios where the room, crowd and vibe all just worked and felt right for me and my music! For dancing, Id have to say the old Space terrace in ibiza, a legendary place this was in a legendary moment in time on the island, was such a shame when we lost that!
What’s been your most memorable career moment?
Hmm for dj’ing Id say playing the HSBC arena in Rio de Janeiro in 2009 I think it was, this was the first time I’d played on a huge stage with approaching 10’000 people, such a buzz! As a producer….its that moment mentioned before of seeing my first record release hanging on the wall in HMV, it’s kinda sad that the new generation won’t experience this with the digital era having fully taken over and such stores no longer or sparsely existing. It was a proud moment that gave me the initial belief and drive to make a life long career of it.
Do you prefer making music or performing it?
This is one I get asked a lot and its a bit apples and oranges for me, both come with a difference buzz and different energy/satisfaction. Ask me after a ‘not so good' gig and I’ll tell you I’m all about the Studio.…ask me after an amazing gig and I’ll say it can’t be beaten ha! Making music is my day to day happy place and work, I do a lot of engineering, mixing, mastering and tutoring for other artists and have done for many years , this is where my main focus lies at the moment and something I plan on doing until the end of my days, whereas DJ’ing has a time frame for me. I actually took a break from gigging pre pandemic to focus more on studio work, but after all that’s happened I couldn’t resist to start playing some shows again, seeing people out dancing and having fun again after the last couple of years rekindled my desires for dj’ing, only this time I’m doing it more relaxed and working solo, no managers or agents etc, no chasing and haggling and pushing for gigs or relying on it for income, just for the love of it and to make people dance again!
Is there a formula to what you do or is every set different? Are you tailoring your music to the crowd?
There’s no formula as such… I like a lot of different vibes, I’m not one for just smashing out crowd pleasers or the latest trends. I make a lot of my own music so if the situation is right I’ll always give a few new ones a test run to see how they go down! I like to go into gigs feeling prepared but it often goes out the window once get there and start playing, but I feel that initial feeling of being prepared helps me walk in with confidence and less pre-gig nerves or anxiety. Time and place play a big factor in what my prep work will be for the occasion. Time - I like to find out what time I’ll be playing well in advance if possible, who I’ll be on after and before and play my kinda vibes but in accordance with the situation. Whether that be a slightly lighter groovier set early doors or some more heavy bangers late on, it’s good to be adaptable, I hate it when you walk into a club at 10pm and the ‘warm up’ dj is full throttle smashing it out and leaves no room for a journey ha. Place - My set at a small sweat box club will differ to at an open air festival, certain music just sounds better in certain scenarios and on certain systems etc personally I like the open air festival scenarios the most and its been a while so I can’t wait for this one!
What music are you enjoying listening to at home at the moment?
I don’t listen to much music at home to be honest, I work all day everyday in the studio either on my or other artists music so by the time I get home I just want some quiet and need to rest my ears! That being said I’m loving Bonobo and his latest album fragments at the moment…thats inspired me a lot on a new project I’m working on ;)
Clubs and festivals have taken a massive kick over the past two years. Has the club scene changed much in the wake of the pandemic?
I think it’s too early to tell the full extent really. The pandemic and lockdown times made us all realise how much we took our freedom for granted eh! There were mutual and widespread views towards the end of that period before things started reopening that we as a scene, need to all come together to help those affected the most…small clubs/venues etc need help in particular…. and I loved seeing this kind of community support online, that’s the kind of community vibe that made me fall in love with the club music scene all those years ago. In my opinion we needed a reset… ‘A list’ dj’s fees were getting out of hand, agents needed to be more reasonable and flexible with fees relative to venue/occasion etc so ticket prices could be lowered, clubbers could see their favourite artists in local venues again not just huge expensive festivals/events, B and C list dj’s could be booked up again as the whole budget wasn’t one one artist and all the other knock-on effects that brings…we needed the whole scene top to bottom to help out and get the ball rolling again in my opinion….Unfortunately since things reopening I’ve not really been seeing this much, on the contrary in some cases, which is a bit sad and is one of the reasons I will return to dj’ing working solo for now, with and for those who enjoy what I do. Hopefully it’s just an initial reaction of recouping and the life-blood of the scene in the smaller venues and emerging local artists etc won’t get lost and will gain momentum and strength again soon!
Where do you love to spend time when you’re not at the booth?
Most of my time is spent in the studio, but away from work I enjoy mindful walks down the canal where I live to relax and clear my head. As many holidays as I can get in whether that be nipping to Ibiza to see my friends there, Greece for a week relaxing or Thailand for 3 weeks adventures… I prefer to spend my spare time/money (thats not spent on studio gear ha) on experiences rather than objects, making memories!
You last played at the festival in 2019.Who will you be watching at this year?
I’m looking forward to seeing the legend that is Seb again its been years! will also pop in to see the Shaka Loves you guys they’re great and if times allow it check out the Hoosiers! I’ve always been an electronic music man through and through, rarely getting or choosing to see bands on stage so its nice to check them out when I can.
Who’s your favourite DJ/biggest influence?
This changes with time really, many people, places and things have influenced me on my journey it would be impossible to list everything.… however, my overall idols in the dance music/producers world would be The Chemical Brothers, they are just unreal producers and artists, for me the greatest of all time. I’m loving Rampa and his work right now, John Hopkins is inspiring, themba, black coffee, sasha, Bonobo… a whole range of people from different scenes and vibes really, I don’t have a particular ‘favourite’.
How do you like to relax when you’re not working?
Cooking, eating, holidays and canal walks pretty much! Now I’m not gigging so much and concentrating more on studio work I have some weekend time free which I’m loving….I may take up a spot of fishing again, I love being by water, whether that be the sea, canal or a lake, I find it really relaxing and calming for the mind and soul.