When it comes to originality, London-born Audio-Visual Artist and Creative Director HASZNAT boasts an artistic vision as individually bold, daring and unbound as themselves. Driven by an innate desire to self-express, HASZNAT describes their journey into artistry as an unravelling of sorts, tearing away each thread to reveal what lies at the heart of their identity. Non-conforming in all areas of life including gender, societal expectation and genre, HASZNAT has nurtured a space for themselves that allows the freedom to instil every ounce of raw, unfiltered bliss, rage and joy into their artistry.
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where are you from and how would you describe your sound and style as an artist?
I’m HASZNAT. I’m a twenty-two-year-old Bengali Audio-Visual Artist born and raised in London. My sound is the new generation of Punk. I’m here to make noise and disrupt the status quo through layering modern sounds and audio-visual pleasures. It’s my mission to bring a new edge to that intersection where Pop and Punk meet. I’m ready to bring the world on this experience with me. Let’s go!
Today marks the release of your dual-single ‘ADRENALINE’. Can you tell us a little bit about the tracks?
‘ADRENALINE’ showcases the more Pop-Punk side to my sound. The playful, fresh, electronic sound palette captures the freedom only found in London’s nightlife – a place where expression is encouraged. I really wanted to capture that sense of freedom through audio; those moments you’re walking through London with your headphones blasting, or with your friends just taking in the highs of life.
I made the release a dual-single as I wanted to showcase the diversity both in my sound and as a non-conforming person in all aspects of life. I have so many layers to my identity as an artist that it naturally reflects in my sound. ‘ADRENALINE’ is a massive diversion from my debut single ‘REAL ROTTWEILER’ which oppositely contains an industrial, visceral, dark techno sound.
The A-Side features a timeless beat with a melodic lightness inspired by Hyper-pop and DNB which I consider the ‘day version’. The B-Side is a reflection of where we are in the present with sound production. Think 2011 meets the Future. It’s been a decade since the rise of Nightcore, and now we have this regurgitated Electro-Punk version entitled ‘ADRENALINE (NIGHTCORE EDITION)’ which acts as the after-party.
You describe yourself as an Audio-Visual Artist rather than a singer, what is your biggest source of inspiration when dreaming up a new track?
For me, being an Audio-Visual Artist means being open artistically to the bigger picture. I started in fashion, a visual-reliant industry. Now, I exist in the realm of music, an audio-based industry. Intertwining both approaches allows me to produce a highly realised and polished overall final product and experience. I think calling myself a ‘singer’ would diminish the work I’ve curated with my creative platform as both a director and stylist over the years, which is such a big part of who HASZNAT is and will become.
I mainly find inspiration through my personal journey. I try to be vibrant and present in every stage of life to live the full human experience. From childhood through to adulthood, I’ve always done what feels authentic to me. I am not a one-way street. I am not here to conform to the set ideologies of what it is to be a musician, nor a director, stylist, model or human. I’m here to provoke minds and invoke emotions.
How would you describe your journey through fashion?
My journey through fashion has been such a fun ride so far. As a kid, I never wanted to conform to wearing tracksuits and athleisure like the people around me – I chose printed shirts, geek glasses and Shamballa bracelets instead.
I now love wearing traditional South Asian Kurtas with my New Rock boots and a spiked choker – some real Brit Asian Punk shit, haha! There’s something so beautiful about the gems and embroidery in my culture’s clothing that really brings out a sense of self-love and pride to wear it – I love how they clash with my daily uniform of platformed heavy stomper boots.
Whether through my clothing, sound or attitude as a human I strive to forever evolve. My current style reflects my journey as a person – the chrome pressed against my neck, the leather, metal, bleach blonde hair and brows are all fully realised parts of me.
You have been quite outspoken on how important keeping your Bengali culture visible and instilled in your work is, why is this important to you and how did your upbringing influence your artistry?
Coming from a Bengali family and growing up in London definitely made me not conform growing up without even realising. There was a constant pressure to fit into the familial archetype of a Son which led me to question a lot about my identity at an early age. I remember getting told off on Eid for watching MTV and dressing up in western clothes rather than traditional wear. I didn’t want to do stereotypically ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ activities, I was just a creative kid who used music as an outlet.
Although being Bengali in a westernised country was difficult for my parents, it somehow never stopped me from expressing that part of my heritage despite experiencing discrimination. Fashion, Music and Culture were truly my escapism from reality growing up. I knew I wanted to be a popstar and never diminished the idea. I know it’s cliche but I am already living my dream. Working towards the dream doesn’t equate to not being on the path I was destined to walk.
I use my platform as an artist to promote breaking the mould. I want to be a representation for those that look and sound like me and are scared of missing out on being themselves in life. I use a mantra I created “Let the people talk, they are going to talk regardless” repeatedly. It’s helped me let go of artistic limitations and is an attitude I want to teach my listeners. While life situations may not be, life is beautiful. We are everything and nothing. You can’t take it too seriously.
Can you tell us about your debut single “REAL ROTTWEILER” and the visuals behind it?
‘REAL ROTTWEILER’ stems from such a heavy time in my life. Healing from trauma and past tribulations to now reclaiming my sense of identity has been such a process. I wanted this track to be a raw reflection of how I felt at that stage of my life. The whole process of creating it was a cathartic release of rage and it’s the first track I ever wrote which made it truly raw. RAGE = RELEASE= HEALING.
As Black and Brown queer folk, we are expected to just be silent about our trauma, therefore silencing how we truly feel. F*ck that. I went to a friend’s home studio located nearby where I used to live. Revisiting that area of trauma and releasing that rage felt so powerful. It was a true reclamation of myself and showed me that this is what I’m meant to do.
I envisioned the visuals for the track in the studio far before finishing production. I make full use of my creative direction background as I’m a very visual and free thinker. Making the visuals was a surreal experience; imagine turning your friends flat into a sweat-filled, hot, sexy, chaotic playground for eight hours. It was intense in the most beautiful way and the music video truly captures that. The rawness of the blacked-out walls with tarp against the foiled windows to trap the heat inside truly created a sense of performance art in the video. The sweat was real. No gimmicks (apart from the fake blood haha).
The entire team was made up of my closest friends and it felt euphoric being so hands-on for something that was solely made with intention. I fully directed, styled and featured in the video, which was a lengthy but worthwhile process. It is so refreshing to see my taste elevate with me as I progress in my artistry. I am so grateful to be my Creative Director, Stylist and Label! I want to enjoy this freedom within my creation for as long as I can. It’s such a full-circle moment for me.
You identify as Punk, what does that word mean to you?
Punk is not a one-size or one look fits all. It’s an essence, an attitude. I reject the ideologies I have placed upon me. I am unapologetically Brown, Queer, unfiltered and raw – that’s Punk.
Owning that elevated, independent, outspoken energy you were born with through all the good, bad, dark or light experiences in life is Punk. Sure, my clothes can be deemed as Punk but the threads on my body compared to the experiences my body takes and has taken on is PUNK. It’s ingrained and scarred itself on me. Literally.
Lastly, we hear your debut EP ‘HASZNATONLINE’ is in the works and set for release in late October. What can you tell us about the project? Is it more cohesive or conceptual?
‘HASZNATONLINE’ was my hashtag as a branding tool for my Creative Direction and Styling projects, which then stemmed into my E.P title. As I’ve mentioned in the past – everything I do is a true time capsule of who I always was and continue to be, an artist through and through. The debut E.P will be what I want it to be. I make music that I listen to.
I dismiss the idea of ‘cohesiveness’ as it just feels constricting. I can mesh genres because I have developed the audio and visual skills to do so. Why not have fun with what you do? Isn’t that the whole point of this extraordinary path?
Bending genres and clashing the past production ‘norms’ with the advanced layering from the ‘future’ (the Present) is what I am always going to do.
Photos: Shenell Kennedy @shenellkennedy
Album Artwork: Keely Majewski @poiandkeel