A seminal figure of our time, DJ Hanzel is a German producer prodigy who transcends the ideas of a traditional artist’s desires. His discography symbolizes his ongoing quest to plumb the cavernous expanse of the house genre, with each song going one deeper than before.
DJ Hanzel has explored the depths of dance music in anti-everything, his newly-released debut album, which his longtime nemesis Dillon Francis has once again stolen credit for. Co-released with Francis due to unjust copyright laws, anti-everything is a tribute to Hanzel’s quiet confidence.
The artist effuses that the music is not to be heard, metaphorically mimicking the wings of the owls Hanzel grew close to as a child on his parent’s farm in Düsseldorf. These owls unwittingly empowered Hanzel to pursue his dream of eliminating Kraftwerk’s influence from the pop culture stratosphere, leading the budding musician to begin crafting work challenging the offensive band’s lack of depth.
In an illuminating conversation, Hanzel discusses his background as a reality TV star and commercial jingle writer. He also sets the record straight on the injustices he claims Dillon Francis is currently committing against him.
Hanzel, thank you so much for joining me today.
Thank you for having me. Sadly, I wish it was under better circumstances, but here we are.
I’m so sorry to hear about your release. I did have a couple of questions about it, if you’re okay with me asking.
Of course, that’s why we’re here, to set the record straight.
How did you, a young man from Düsseldorf, go from “Germany’s Most Naked Accidents” to the release of your first full-length album, anti-everything?
Yes, well, the transition from being naked and having an accident to being fully clothed and doing something intentional was definitely a hard one to make. But I don’t want to give away too many secrets. I guess what I would say is that if you’re naked, and watching this or reading this right now by accident, there is hope.
Being on that show somehow seems better than being on MILF Manor, so I think to come from that to where you are now is inspiring. So, I don’t know how to say this, but I did listen to your music—
I know, I know. I didn’t know how that was going to go. I was wondering, though, why does Dillon Francis get a co-writing credit on this, your magnum opus?
The reason for Dillon Francis’s credit is purely a legal matter based around freakish copyright laws that were made up thousands of years ago that should be fixed. But I’ve sent a team of lawyers to search the ancient Bedouin Caves in the Arabian Peninsula. So until I hear from them, I will have to stay silent, legally, against Dillon Francis because I will not tolerate this. And I still think he is wrong.
How are they going to tell you from the cave?
Well, they’re in the Bedouin Caves to look at certain laws from even further back then, because right now we’re dealing with copyright laws from the 19… somethings? Maybe the laws back then were even crazier. And maybe better? Then I could sue Dillon Francis again for what he has done to me.
I did read a little bit about your background. Growing up, I know you were super close with your family’s owls on the owl farm.
Yes, very close.
I heard that they inspired you a lot as a musician.
Yes, very much. As you know, you can’t actually hear owls flap their wings, which I think is probably one of the deepest things about owls.
I had no idea, but that makes a lot of sense, considering your music. Much like an owl, it shouldn’t be heard.
So, with this in mind, since these owls inspire so much for you, I have a couple of photos of Germany’s most beautiful owls here. I’d really love to show these to you.
Let’s look at these owls.
If you could tell me a feeling, or maybe even a sound that comes from them that you love in your music, that would be so beautiful.
This owl holds a lot of shame. But that will be good for him later in life because it will empower him, I believe.
This owl is clearly in a loveless marriage. And it is a coward. That’s what I see about this one.
That’s so funny because he’s recently divorced.
Good for him. Maybe he’ll be happier later.
Thank you so much. I feel like I learned a lot about your creative process there. You seem very tapped in with the owls.
I am. I spent a lot of time with them. Sometimes I like to go and record them for six hours a day, because you know, there’s inconsistencies in the way they walk, move, you have to stay there for a long time to make sure you get the right note you want from the talons because I don’t like to change the notes at all. Once the talon hits, if it’s a C, I have to produce the song in C. If it’s in A, I have to produce the song in A. If it’s F, I have to produce the song in F.
That’s nice. It takes away a lot of the stress of having to choose.
Have you ever considered being paid in OWL token to compete with your nemesis Dillon Francis’s Bored Ape payment last year?
This is a great question, but I have a better question that I would like to first ask you.
What the hell are you talking about? And also, this is a rhetorical question, so next question.
Okay. Fair enough. Your hatred of Kraftwerk is a big part of why you do what you do. I know you want to go one deeper than this group. Can you tell me about a time when you went deeper than ever before? And how did you achieve that deepest depth no one has ever reached?
I’ve thought about this a lot, and I don’t think I’ve gone to that moment yet. The deepest moments that I hold very close to my chest I will perhaps write about in a book one day, and you can read it. But know this, when you open the book, it will do the same thing that the Arc of the Covenant—you know the Arc of the Covenant, from the Indiana Jones films? It will do the same—it will capture the same emotion that film captured for me. And that’s what I can tell you about the deepest moment in my life. I will not tell you about it, but maybe one day it will be written in a book.
Do you feel like that’s the same as telling someone something if you write it down?
Words speak louder than actual talking, I think.
I agree. Spoken word is out.
It’s out. Written word is in.
Before you focused on the hatred of Kraftwerk, I know that you also wrote a bunch of jingles for German commercials like Soured-Os. How did your experience writing these lyrics transfer to your electronic songwriting?
Just remembering the lyrics of “it’s the cereal that is bread” gets me very emotional, as you can clearly see on my face. Not a single syllable wasted, for it is truly the cereal that is bread. I guess my hope one day is that I’m able to craft something that reaches this high watermark again.
What are your other jingles you wrote? What are your favorites? Other than Soured-Os.
Oh, what was the one… it was about when you die… I forgot the lyrics. I’m fully enveloped in the cereal that is bread. I think that was the pinnacle of my TV career in music.
Hard to beat.
It is hard to beat. It’s so straightforward. It tells you what it is. All these people try to tiptoe around what things are, like sugar-free. Is it really sugar-free? No, they’re liars. This tells you exactly what it is. It’s cereal that is bread. Not gluten-free. We don’t care. No. We are true to who we are.
It’s got heaps of gluten, and truth.
It’s got heaps! So much gluten. If someone with a gluten allergy ate it, they might die. We even put that on the box.
Good riddance. Get their weak GIs out of the system.
Exactly, I’m sick of it.
I’m so glad we could share that, set that record straight. We’re setting a lot of records straight today.
Okay, this is a bit controversial, but let’s say you were going to fight Dillon Francis, maybe in an octagon or a large arena of some sort. What strategies would you use in this hypothetical fight? For legal purposes—we have not set up a fight. There will be no fighting. But, as an idea, how would you fight him?
So this is a hypothetical. It cannot actually happen?
Bummer, okay. What does Dillon Francis have against me? What is he using?
You both have the same tools at your disposal. So you seem to know how Dillon thinks. Because you hate him so much, you’re very tapped into how he might act.
Yes, so what would happen in Dillon’s mind is he would hear the word “gladiator,” and then he would try to choose maybe a battle axe or sword. So I would choose a gun. Next.
You would kill it in US politics.
So one day, if you want to run—you know what, scratch that, we’ll talk about it after this.
I will never get into politics, don’t worry.
Okay, thank God. I mean, it would be good, but don’t.
No. I will not do it.
Who do you think is the most offensive member of Kraftwerk, and why?
The audience! For encouraging such terrible nonsense! Perhaps you’ve already heard, there is a statistic about Kraftwerk. Every single person who has ever gone to a Kraftwerk show went to do something very, very bad. I wish it were a lie, but it is not, and you can look it up.
You know what? I believe you. I trust your word. I know that you’d never lie to me.
So I don’t even need to look it up. That’s so poetic. To be complicit in something so not deep is an offense in itself.
It is. I’m disgusted with their fans. Disgusting! Just committing very bad things. Very bad. I don’t even know what they are. But they’re bad. And it’s written. Somewhere. Online.
I’m sure. Somebody’s got it. People have cell phones.
Maybe don’t look at the author who wrote it, when you look, because it’s definitely a medical professor. You wouldn’t even be able to read his name properly. But it’s not me. I didn’t write it.
What do you hope that your… fans? Should we say fans? What do you like to call the people who disobey you and listen to your music?
Well, I cannot fault them for doing things that are wrong. They are my equals. I would still gladly shake their hands. I know that all they want to do is go deep. But, to the fans that chose to be disrespectful and listen to my album, I should hope that when I see them in real life and do shake their hands, that they would apologize to me for their mistakes. You should not consume what is meant to not be consumed. I’ve said this over and over. My album is not to be consumed. If people need something to understand to be consumed, I could list off a couple of things. A football match, a book about apes, and a two-liter bottle of Pepsi. Those are all things you could consume, and I have actually consumed all those things today. I could consume more. Those are just things off the top of my head.
Did you eat the book?
I did not eat the book. I consumed the knowledge in the book about apes.
So your brain was eating.
Perfect. Thank you so much for telling me that. I feel a lot better since I did listen, and I would like to repent. So I’m going to go check out a book about apes, not look up facts about what Kraftwerk fans do after shows, and not listen to your music.
Thank you so much. I appreciate the apology.
Anytime. Well, Hanzel, it was a pleasure speaking to you today. Thank you for sharing with me how deep you can really get.
Thank you. I’m glad we could set the record straight on a lot of things, and I guess if there’s one last thing I’d like to say, never listen to Dillon Francis’s music. He’s not deep, and I hope he never has babies.
And that’s fair.
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