From Midwest rave hero to West Coast icon to Deep House globetrotter, Halo is a name familiar to most. Relocating across the country several times and morphing his style to keep himself relevant are some of the reasons he constantly remains at the forefront of the underground House Music scene. It all started in Chicago, where Halo worked at record store Hip House during high school, became an early rave favorite and formed powerhouse production duo H-Foundation with longtime friend Hipp-E. After several years, H-Foundation is releasing new material and Halo, back in San Diego, is launching a new label on his own, Surface Recordings.
Early on you started out early on working at the Hip House record store in Chicago. How did that come about?
Well, during my second year in high school there was an outside mall that had just opened up and I would walk past there on my way home from school every day. One day walking home I looked into the window of this store that had just opened and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a record store! It was every DJ’s dream when they were a kid to live right up the street from a record shop. That was Hip House.
I spent every day in that store. That was when I meet DJ Sneak who was one of the stores buyer/managers there. He had asked me if I would like a part time job and that’s when it all started for me.
What are some of the most important things you took from working there?
Wow, there were so many things including producing my 1st record with close friend Andy Adams [DJ Attack], R.I.P. Also meeting some amazing friends and learning so much about the music business from everyone around me. Those are some of my years that I will never forget and I would never be where I am today with out them.
Over the past several years you’ve been in San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas and of course your hometown, Chicago. How have you grown, what have you learned and what has it taught you both as an artist and as an individual by relocating to each of these places?
Moving out to the West Coast back in 2000 was crucial for my career as a DJ and producer. One being that my longtime friend and production partner Hipp-E was already living in San Diego and I had been traveling back and forth from Chicago to San Diego so that we could work on our H-Foundation projects. It only made sense to be living in the same city. In 2007 I picked up and moved to Vegas which was only temporary. It was really hard to get things moving in Vegas because it caters more to the mainstream hip-hop and electro scene. Two years later we picked up and moved up to Northern California which was amazing because there is so much going on there. They have such a strong music scene there with some amazing talent. Finally in 2009 I moved back to one my favorite places, sunny San Diego, where my West Coast journey all started. The scene here is very nice. We’re doing some really nice events here and planning on staying here for a while.
You’ve launched a new label Surface Recordings – tell us about that.
Surface is my latest record label project that I’ve been working on for about a year now. I’m really excited because we have some amazing music and projects that are lined up for the next few months including music from myself, Sascha Dive, Tuccillo, Andrew Grant, Marasco, Nitin and Anthony Collins to name a few.
You’ve also played in South Africa a few times. Does their scene bring a new inspiration to music since it’s so fresh and popular there?
South Africa has a huge electronic scene, probably one of the biggest in the world. The one thing I love there is that you can get in a car and turn on the radio and they’re playing Deep House tracks on regular rotation. On top of that the parties there are insane, the people are extremely passionate for the music and they know the music well.
There are some releases in the pipeline as H-Foundation again. What’s that looking like?
Yes, it’s been about six years since we produced our last record together as H-Foundation. Last year I played with Hipp-E in Denver and we got back in the studio and it all came together and felt really natural again, which is how it all began for us. We have about four tracks that we’re getting ready to finish up.
How did you all rekindle that relationship?
Easily, Eric is like a brother to me. We have been friends for almost 15 years now and have always kept in touch. We actually worked together about a year ago now, we just ended up back in the studio.
You recently had your song “Future” nominated as one of the top 100 electronic music songs of the decade by RA. What’s your thoughts on that?
It holds a special place for me. “Future” was one of the first projects I produced right before I left Chicago. It feels good knowing that a piece of my work is still appreciated 10 years later.
In retrospect what do you think the smartest decision is that you’ve made musically?
Realizing that I need to keep my sound current yet true to who I am. My roots are in Chicago but my life is on the West Coast now. I think my music will always represent those sounds in one way or another.
Do you have any other upcoming stuff that you would like to mention?
There is a lot of good music being played in San Diego right now. I currently have a monthly party called Lost N Sound that I do and I’m also very much looking forward to the response to the new Surface projects.