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TNGHT: Hip-Hop Producers Shatter Glass, Forge Fresh Path


Who: Glasgow low-end innovator Hudson Mohawke and Quebec-based beat beast Lunice, whose one-off, left-field electronic collaboration has launched them, unexpectedly, as one of the most forward-looking, up-and-coming rap production teams on Earth. They found their way to each other’s music via MySpace, then met when HudMo’s LuckyMe crew was in Canada for Pop Montreal 2008. “It wasn’t like we became best friends right away,” says Lunice. But they had an inkling. Last summer, they booked time in a London studio — “More like a cupboard,” says HudMo — and emerged with July’s stunning TNGHT EP. They’ve since worked with Waka Flocka Flame (remix), Danny Brown (beats), and Kanye West (HudMo contributed to “Mercy”)

Whiskey Bent and Spellbound: Imagine what the trap would bump in Blade Runner‘s dystopian nightmare — bells and whistles plucked from trill, bass and other assorted textures from U.K. dubstep. Says Hudson: “We’d both gotten to a point with our own stuff where we wanted to simplify and make really hard-hitting music stripped to its elements.” Or, as Lunice recalls: “We were fucked-up on store-brand whiskey, and he hit this explosion button. I started laughing, but he was serious, so I was like, ‘Let’s see what we can do with this.'”

Knowledge, Knowledge: Though the TNGHT boys are best known as computer-bound knob-twiddlers, each has a history in hip-hop’s more physical expressions. Lunice is a pop-locker and breaker (see him in Lazer Sword’s “Gucci Sweatshirt” video) and HudMo is a turntablist who became the youngest U.K. DMC finalist at age 15. “As much as we’re not running around talking about the ‘five elements of hip-hop,’ that culture is totally ingrained in our work,” says HudMo. Lunice agrees: “That’s where we’re from and how we grew up. Anything we do, no matter what it sounds like, comes out of that world.”

Broken Glass, Everywhere!: TNGHT’s literal breakout came during SXSW 2012, when, at their very first show, the pair shattered a plate-glass wall with the devastating bass of their itchy banger, “Bugg’n.” At least, that’s the story that’s spread like space lice amongst their admirers. “We don’t actually know when the glass broke,” HudMo admits sheepishly. “The event was in a car showroom, and when they shut it down, they opened a shudder door that’d been closed and the thing was smashed behind it.” We like the other version better. “Us too,” says Lunice. “Let’s stop correcting people.”