The day started with meeting DJ Hank Korsan at A1 Records in New York’s historic East Village, a store that’s catered to artist past and present since 1996; Korsan can be found here about three times a week.
Korsan has one of the newest sounds pumping out of the speakers at warehouse parties in Los Angeles and New York’s most-famous clubs, including mega-celebrity hot spot 1 OAK. His unique mixes and beats combine to what I can only describe as pure joy, and the high energy moods he creates tickle the senses and kickstart the dancing urge inside all of us. Korsan is not your typical DJ—he’s a talented artist who’s proud to follow Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-Hour Rule to master a skill.
Korsan’s love of music began at an early age; he remembers his dad’s “crazy collection of 5,000-10,000 CDs” that he’d flip through with his brother, Brock Korsan a.k.a. Brocky Marciano, who is also in the music industry. During his younger years, Korsan’s brother would take care of him at the music studio, where he grew up listening to artists like Dilated Peoples, Strong Arm Steady (SAS), and The Alchemist. Being around these artists was an inspiration for his music, but that love for the open format, his magical beats, and his ear, came from his family. “I can’t even name an artist,” he says. “I have to give it to my family.”
When pressed, however, Korsan notes that Benji B and Acyde are his two biggest influences; he calls the latter “the Messiah” and his “hero.” “They DJ how [you] are supposed to—open format where they can play you a techno set and then play a full Drake set.” Their playing makes Korsan want “to have so much knowledge” and “learn, learn, learn.” Recently, he was listening to some beats he made with his friend, Ivan Rodden, who Korsan credits as the first person to get him into making music. Comparing their growth as artists from the 9th grade until now, Korsan gleams with nostalgia, saying, “we’ll go back and play like old stuff we made and be like ‘what the fuck are we doing dude that was garbage.’” Having humility and the ability to laugh at yourself is key to the growing process, because, as Korsan says, “you really can’t tell the difference when you’re in the midst of it.”
When it comes to the fashion industry and modeling, Korsan is no stranger to hard work. He recently walked in Men’s Fashion Week New York for John Elliott and has modeled for brands Stussy, Cherry and Bristol Studios among others. Although his personal style and professional style don’t always go hand-in-hand, he one day hopes DJing will lead to curating the vibe of runway shows. He says “being able to pick that soundtrack, there is such an energy [at a show], I can’t even describe it. It makes each model feel a certain way, [music] affects the way you step.” When it comes to music, attention to subtle detail is one of Korsan’s strengths; after putting in those 10,000 hours, it’s become second nature to him. “I want to be able to pick out the little things; they make the biggest difference in the show,” he says of his craft.
The music industry is just as hard as the movie industry, especially when a portion of your life is lived in the public eye. In the wake of Operation Varsity Blues, Korsan is conscious of the pitfalls of nepotism and the doors that can be opened by friends and family in the industry. In his case, he says: “Yes, I kind of had a little foot in the door from my brother and his friends out here; but, it’s all about the execution!”
Korsan is an artist—what he does can only be done by him. His beats, his mixes, his song catalogue…they are all his. Hank’s opinion is pretty clear and, if he could give advice to anyone just staring out in the industry, he’d do his best to encourage them. Drawing from his own experience, he has some pretty solid advice for those just coming-up: “If you get thrown into the spotlight, you can be whoever the fuck you are,” he says. “But if you don’t execute, they’re not going to want you back. So, be ready for when opportunity meets creativity.” Korsan recommends, “Put[ting] in those 10,000 hours” by breaking them up into “three hours a day.” He encourages his own friends who want to follow in his footsteps and those just starting out by reminding them that, “you may not feel like you’re getting better, but you are! If you have the power to execute, it changes the fuckin’ world!”