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Hanni El Khatib Outtakes and His New Video (NSFW)

From Hanni El Khatib's "Family" video (below)
From Hanni El Khatib's "Family" video (below)

This week for our music feature we profile local guitar hero Hanni El Khatib, whose sophomore album, Head In the Dirt, came out Tuesday on the heels of some cherry licensing placements (hello, Super Bowl commercial).

See also: Hanni El Khatib: The hard-partying singer is sexy, raw, wild and, hopefully, dangerous

El Khatib's classic Americana image has positioned him among some prominent roots-rock figures, including the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach (who produced Head in the Dirt at his Nashville studio) and, um, Kid Rock. In preparation for the story, we had a long lunchtime chat and hangout at the pomade-wearing sex symbol's recent Hollywood art opening. Here are some quotes that didn't make the story, plus his new video for "Family."

Hanni El Khatib
Hanni El Khatib

On Nashville's indifference to famous musicians and relative affordability:

Nashville has had a music scene forever, so people don't trip on musicians at all. Each person is more talented than the next. So it doesn't matter if you're famous. There's great players everywhere you look, young and old. You can keep to yourself if you really want to. It's not like here. I think the difference between, say, a big time musician getting a cup of coffee at Intelligentsia in fucking Sunset Junction and getting a cup of coffee in Nashville is two different experiences. It's really easy going out there. And I mean, shit, you can't beat the amount of space you can get for your money.

On preparation (or lack thereof) for recording:

My demos were like songs recorded on my phone or, like, me and the most ridiculous programmed beat on a drum machine and acoustic guitar. I did it that way on purpose because I knew I was about to go and record with these incredible musicians, so I was like, the more open I leave it, the most natural it's gonna feel.

On the fast and furious Head in the Dirt sessions:

I think our personalities were just like, let's blaze through this. There's a lot of things that were first takes, no separation, everyone in the room staring at each other. There's some video of us and I just kind of trip on it because I'm listening to the record and it's the exact same take.

Anytime something felt a little off or whatever, we just kind of put it to rest. We were doing things like, I was showing the guys a song and I had like two words written to it and we'd be like, okay, let's work on that today. Then I'd go into the other room and write the lyrics. Thirty minutes later I'd come back out, record the track. Another 20 minutes later, the song is done.

On his sometimes-violent lyrics:

I just let all of those things come out stream-of-consciousness. If I hit subject matter, I just run with it. I kind of hate writing lyrics. I get too excited about the music part. Some of it I literally wrote five minutes before singing it into the vocal mic. Once you record it, it's there. I like things that are from the gut and really primal. Aggression is a super-primal kind of behavior. I'm not trying to be angsty, like I fucking hate everything. Nothing I write stems from any sort of hatred or disdain for anything.

On partying with Kid Rock:

We all went to his show. He's a fucking rock star, that dude. There's fucking flames onstage. It says "American Badass" everywhere. There's a tremendous amount of Jim Beam everywhere you go. Then after the show, you hang out with him and you meet him and he's like the most down to earth, cool-ass dude. See, you can still be cool [when you're famous]. Granted, you have more security or whatever, but you can still be cool. We went to a country bar after. It was a surprise to everybody in the bar, because he grabbed the mic from the house band and was singing Seeger and Zeppelin all night.

El Khatib's new NSFW video, for "Family" below

 

On finding out his song was on a Super Bowl commercial for Audi:

It was super weird because I was at a Super Bowl party. That's not the first place I would normally be on a Sunday. Everyone at my label kept it a secret. I've told them, like hey, if this is not 100 percent happening, whatever scenario it is, licensing or a show or whatever, just don't bother telling me because I would rather not have to think about it. In music it's so fickle. Everyone has an idea or a project happening. Especially in L.A., people are like, oh we can do this, we can do that. I'm like, can you just talk to me when you have a plan in place?

On the backlash against the Audi ad:

Everybody was all up-in-arms that it was condoning rape or abuse towards women or sexual assault. I was like, what? That's like... okay, how is that? It's basically Back to the Future. It's Marty McFly doing his thing. I don't fucking get it. On the same television channel, someone can get raped and murdered and it's considered a crime drama TV show, and no one trips on that. I don't know, people are fucking ridiculous. Haven't people been telling the same goddamned story since 1952? Like, do you not know that this is a clichéd story?

On karaoke:

I guess I'm not a singer-singer, but I fucking suck at karaoke. Whenever I do it, I'm like "drunk guy doing karaoke."

See also: Hanni El Khatib: The hard-partying singer is sexy, raw, wild and, hopefully, dangerous

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