Hanni El Khatib Finds His Musical Soulmate In Dan Auerbach
“It’s nice to hear a song that starts off really vulnerable and isolated,” El Khatib told Radio.com. “You almost feel like you’re in the room with the singer or songwriter or the instrument. Then it explodes into this big thing. It felt like that was the best way to bookend the record.”
El Khatib said the final track on the album was originally going to be twice the speed but as he was playing the song slowly, trying to remember the lyrics, the album’s producer, Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys, who El Khatib met by chance at a bar in Paris, urged him to slow the track down.
“I’m really awful with memorizing my own lyrics. I was singing it to myself and Dan was in the room. Dan was like, ‘You should just play it like that. We can get into the fast part later.’” I remember being opposed to it, but I was like, ‘Why not try it?’” he said.
Much like this song, El Khatib considers his career in music a fortunate accident.
He never had the intention of being a singer. In fact, music became a pastime while working at HUF where he was a creative director for streetwear and skateboards.
“I didn’t think too hard of it,” he said of becoming a musician. “I always had friends that were in bands and in the industry and often times flailing and trying to figure out what to do. I had a cool job designing skateboards and t-shirts so I was not really concerned with trying to get out of my sh** job because I had a fun job.”
Instead, music was simply what he did on the side.
“No one knew I made music. I wasn’t telling people I was in a band,” he explained. “I was just doing it to help me from going crazy at work, just something else to do. Some people paint, some people read.”