Every artist comes to a point in his (or her) career that they get to a fork in the road the really seems to jam them up a bit. Now everyone gets out of it eventually but sometimes it leaves them a little different than they were prior to the snag! In this instance HugLife (formerly SLINK) wound up coming out of his jam with an entirely new identity he has just recently donned upon himself. Below he was kind enough to give us a few words, a little insight into the whole name change and what we can expect to come in 2013 from the one and only HugLife.
The Dankles: We’ll start off pretty basic: Can you tell us a little about yourself.
Huglife: My real name is Heath Shinpaugh and I currently reside in the dirty south. Tennessee, that is. I’ve lived all over the country: Phoenix, Baton Rouge, Atlanta, and recently spent 2 years in Tokyo, Japan.
TD: How long have you been producing?
H: Well I’ve been DJing for close to 15 years. I was producing a little in those early days, but mostly with some cats in a band. We made crazy ass music back then. I guess it could be classified as breakbeat, almost jungle. As far as producing solo, only the past 4 or 5 years.
TD: Though you have only been at it for a minute, you recently changed your name. Want to shed some light on what brought about this sudden decision?
H: This name change was a difficult decision, so I am going to be totally candid about it. Let’s air this out…
I move back to the states from Japan, right? I find out from some friends that there’s another Slink out there. No biggie, I thought. He spells his name with two ii’s, so immediately I know that he has some idea that I or some other DJ Slink is out there. But I owned my domain, Soundcloud, Twitter blah blah blah…
I was making mash ups, breaks, hip-hop & even a little dubstep. I would post it up and got some love from the HypeMachine. A couple tracks even reached number one on there. So everything was still cool, no drama. It wasn’t until I started getting picked up by blogs for that Trap Style stuff I was making, that’s when the shit hit the fan. At first we were cool. If someone said something on Twitter, he would blow it off or make a joke. I was always cool with it. After all, I wasn’t not the only Slink out there. The thing is, he kept saying shit. His fans got on board. They started spamming my facebook and twitter. So I talked it over with my manager and we decided to drop the ‘DJ’ and just be “Slink.” Even though I had this name when Sliink was in middle school. I changed all my social sites to reflect the name change and thought that would end it. NOPE! It got worse. I started getting anonymous threatening emails saying “Change your name or else.”
Here’s the final straw: As many people know, SoundCloud has a little link you can click to report a copyright violation. Mysteriously, SoundCloud began removing my biggest tracks, saying they were reported. Even tracks that contained no samples. Only the trap stuff. They sent me an email saying I had a week to reply to them or my account would be suspended. I replied, and 7 days later they suspended it. I was told I had 2 days to reply to that email or it would be deleted forever. I sent several emails and got no replies. I lost 7,000 followers. 7,000 followers because someone or some people were mad enough to report my songs. Now we all know that SoundCloud is made up mostly of copy-written shit being chopped, sliced, diced & reposted. That’s what we love about SoundCloud! I’ve got to be the only person who has ever been deleted for some bullshit like that! So I started over. What else could I do?
TD: Have fans been accepting of the roll over?
H: I love my fans. They are super supportive and hopefully they will read this and understand why I had to change. I received emails offering legal services for free. The burden of proof was never on me. I know I would win if I had to go that route, but it wouldn’t change anything really. Just make his fans angrier. I would rather wash my hands of it. After all, it’s just a name.
TD: What big musical influences pushed you in the direction that you’re heading today?
HL: So many influences! Bangladesh, Bauuer, Massive Attack, DJ Shadow, Outkast, Dan the Automator, Rusty, U.N.K.L.E, Sasha, Diplo, Floss. Right now I’m digging Luminox, Brillz, Heroes & Villians, RL Grime, etc! etc!, Oh Snap, Bro Safari, and Yellow Claw.
TD: Where are you looking to wind up in the long run? Is there something in particular you want to do with your sound?
H: I’d love to get to the level where I can just tour. Travel everywhere and do what I truly love. I just want to make people happy, you know?
TD: Now that you’re running by a new name, can we expect a shift in your sound? Or are we still going to be getting the trillest of the trill from Huglife?
H: Nah, I want to keep it fun! Who knows where this sound will go. I’m excited to hear what all these new kids are going to make. I plan on dropping some new originals very soon, along with several remixes I’ve been testing out on the road.
TD: If you could chose one producer (alive or dead) to collaborate on a track with, whom would that be?
H: Hardest question EVER! Maybe Prince Paul? Dan The Automator? Diplo? Damn…
TD: This has become a pretty standard question of ours, but what kind of equipment/software do you produce with in the studio? What about in a live show setting?
H: In the studio, Ableton & Maschine. Vst’s, Massive, Sylenth, Waves, Sugar Bytes Suite, Izotope.
TD: We’re always a little curious, but when you’re just lounging, who are a few producers you might toss on when you’re relaxing? What about when you’re trying to get a little crazy?
H: I like chill stuff when I’m at home: Cinematic Orchestra, Purity Ring. When it’s party time, I have to go with Diplo. That guy is all over the place. I love it!
TD: On your days off, do you have any other hobbies you like to pursue?
H: Days off? [Laughs] I do all my own design work and I do a little graphic design on the side for some cats. Also, I may have blown a few too many hours on Black Ops 2…
TD: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Any last words for those people out there on the web?
H: Thank you. I really appreciate what you guys do. If it weren’t for you, I would never have a chance to get heard!
Now let’s hug it out bitches!