Havens + Hart: Minneapolis house duo signed to Stranjjur (Interview)

In the studio
In the studio

There are a few clues cropping up in Minneapolis lately that point to true house music's return to the city -- and our definition of the genre doesn't include the wanna-be-rockstar stadium jocking set.

The advent of nights like House Proud and the recent Minneapolis Soul Music reunion at Bassgasm are just a few hints that local EDM fans want the soul-grabbing vibe of house back in their lives -- but the recent signing of local duo Havens + Hart to respected house-leaning label Stranjjur also proves a great score for the Minneapolis dance scene.

A recently formed pair in the studio, Aaron Bliss and JD are also known for their Particle People nights at Black in the Record Room on Saturdays. This Friday night, they're hosting and playing a party at Honey to celebrate the release of their new contributions to Stranjjur. We talked to them both about how they started working together and what the new release means for their futures in music.

How did you both meet and decide to embark on this project?

Aaron: The two of us both would just chat out and about, always admired each other's sound. After a while the two of us started sharing music, "Hey, here is a new track I'm working on, what do you think?" and after doing this for a while, we thought we should give it a try in the studio.  It was crazy for me because I couldn't believe how quickly it started. I didn't want to leave my house that night but my girlfriend, who has been the biggest supporter of all, suggested that I just go for it and see what happens.  So got my lazy rear-end off the couch and was happy I did. In a few moments, JD and I started a track and it was pretty much done in a matter of hours. Soon after that we did another, sent it to some friends and bam, signed. I mean, it sounds crazy but it really was that fast.

JD: It was obvious to both of us that we were a good fit. The workflow and exchange of ideas in the studio is incredibly smooth, and really fun. Our work together has brought my love for production to a new level. Aaron and I bring very different styles to the table musically, Havens+Hart's music takes the best elements of both and mashes them in to what you hear.

We first heard you at Honey months back for House Proud and were impressed. How would you describe your sound to someone who maybe isn't super into the dance scene?

I guess our sound is house music. It tends to be on the deeper at times minimal and definitely more soulful side of things.  For those that are not so familiar with dance music, I would say that our music shows signs of Prince and that 80's Minneapolis Funk sound with a taste of 90's R&B and disco but also shows its roots in deep house music.

How did you get connected with Kev O'Brien's Stranjjur Recordings (will your release on the label be a long relationship or just a cameo?)?

This will for sure be a long relationship. Kev and the crew at Stranjjur have been a huge support to us and have plans for our releases into 2013 already. We connected with Stranjjur by chance really. Some of our buds in the industry were really giving us the clues that we should start submitting. If it were not for people like MANIK and JPhlip who knows.. maybe we just would have sat on it and not done much. They both said a number of times "You need to send this out to some labels." MANIK was the one that told us about Stranjjur. He gave us some pointers on our track "Think" and when we finished it told us to send it to Kev. We did and the reaction was great. Kev has been amazing. Helpful, supportive, and all the good things you want from a label.

You're also bringing Danny Daze out to celebrate and play this release party -- tell us why he's on the bill.

Danny Daze had a track out back around the time we first connected (You're Everything on Hot Creations) that completely changed things for us, his music is just amazing really.We were both playing the hell out of his music so for us it was a no-brainer, we wanted him to come out here and share him with our city. This guy is really doing something different and the artists he is surrounding himself with are also pushing major boundaries in house music right now. It's like nothing that's been heard before and it's fun, new mixed with old, and it's refreshing as hell. So make sure ya'll get your booty's out to Honey because this will be something you will not want to miss.

What's your proudest achievement as it relates to music?

Aaron: I've had music as a hobby in one form or another for a while now and I have many proud moments but For me, it really has to be the work I'm doing with JD. Havens+Hart has been such a joy to be a part of. It really has. There is never a dull moment and the music is constantly evolving. The reactions and support we keep getting from everyone is so reassuring, Our ladies, Our friends, other DJ's and Labels... It blows my mind. It just feels good to have people like and want more of your music. I mean... It's an honor, really.

JD: Not to sound like a broken record...but the work we're doing as Havens+Hart is my highlight as well. For me, music all about having fun, learning, and making what sounds good to you. I think if you can find those things, then I think people will eventually notice. Because of our differing backgrounds, Aaron is constantly bringing ideas and concepts to my table I never would have come up with on my own, and I do the same for him. That back and forth of ideas is why Havens+Hart is so fun to be a part of. The fact that we've become really good friends through all of it is icing on the cake.

What's coming up for you guys?

In April we have the Shine EP releasing on Stranjjur, then we have another release coming on Stranjjur for their Summer Sampler featuring more of a sunny vibe, you know... Sunshine and beaches and stuff. Also this summer we have a remix for Rob Made (Sleazy Deep UK) and an EP for him as well... both on Sleazy Deep UK. This spring we are just finishing a remix for Monte Hilleman, and going to be working with Bryan Gerrard for his new label project and some more cool projects we are working on but are works in progress.

Havens + Hart: Minneapolis house duo signed to Stranjjur (Interview)

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