The handpan or hang (not hang drum) is a convex steel drum played with the hands and tuned with multiple notes in a diatonic scale. After the viral success of their online videos, Hang Massive are some of the worlds best known hang based musicians. They are currently on a global tour.
When did you first start playing the hang? How did you come together as a duo, and how did the hang facilitate that?
Danny: I first started playing the hang in 2006 when the instrument was very new and almost unknown. I had been living in India in the winter for many years and that is where I met Markus. When we first met we started jamming with me playing hang and Markus playing Djembe and when we returned back to Europe that is when we started playing hang together. That was in 2010. We played in the streets for some years and that is where our style and sound came about.
Your music blends acoustic and electronic music in a unique way. From where do you draw inspiration?
Markus: We draw inspiration from all of the different genres of music that we have enjoyed and loved throughout our lives. We bring different elements of this into the way that we play the hang. We also draw deep inspiration from a relaxed way of being and from the spontaneous nature of reality.
Can you tell us more about Balanced View? How does your music reflect its principles and teachings?
Danny: Balanced View is the most incredible of teachings and something that has been a part of Hang Massive since the beginning. Both myself, Markus and Victoria, who will also be performing with us on this tour are very much involved with this lifestyle. Balanced View is an ancient teaching and message that is now brought forward by the founder, Candice O’Denver. Candice is a formal lineage holder of the Nyingma Lineage. The basis of the teaching is deep relaxation in all moments regardless of circumstance. This is something that when practiced can bring about incredible results and it is from this space and vantage that the music that we create comes forth.
Distant Light is your first studio album, following two albums of live recordings. How did the process of recording in the studio change the way in which you envisaged the final product?
Markus: We took this opportunity to bring many new flavours together and to fuse them with the incredible sounds of the hang. The process brought many new possibilities in terms of recording technique and production styles. It was great working with Morgan Davenport who produced the album and the combination of us all together was really fun and we loved the results.
Finally, do you have projects coming up that you are excited about? Can you tell us more about these?
We have so many exciting things happening this year. In the next months, we will release and electronic fusion album with our great friend J Rokka from the UK. The album features a range of incredible styles and massive tracks. We will also start recording a new Hang Massive album in Sweden in the early summer before heading off on a massive tour of the USA and Canada before returning back to Europe for another tour run there in the Autumn. Many exciting things to come so keep an eye on the website and FB page to stay up to date.
The Australia wide Hang Massive tour kicks off in Fremantle on March 11th. For more information and tickets, click here.