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In Conversation With HVOB (Her Voice Over Boys)

A number of you will remember that earlier this year, Delhi and Bangalore were graced by Austrian duo (trio when they perform live) HVOB, an acronym for Her Voice Over Boys, brought in with support from the Austrian Cultural Forum.

It's not an exaggeration to say that their show was one of the most magical live experiences we’ve witnessed in a very long time. Swaying to their intensely deep and emotive sound, the audience were even at times singing along to Anna Müller’s whispery, opiate vocals. It's an energy we don't get to savour too often.

We had the opportunity to interview HVOB soon after the release of their acclaimed sophomore album ‘Trialog’ which came out on 17 April. They cite some of their dream collaborators and talk about their experience touring India, female producers in the industry and much more.

How’s it going?

Great, thank you. We had an amazing and overwhelming time with you in India. Thank you so much for that warm welcome. We didn‘t expect so many people would visit our shows and show us so much love. We really want to come back soon.

How would you describe HVOB?

It‘s always hard to describe yourself, it‘s always easier to describe when you are more on the outside. But we just try to produce music that we really love, no compromises. We work hard on that and on all the other little things that are part of being a musician today. We just try our best.

‘Her Voice over Boys’ is a very interesting name, particularly within the music industry where you still don’t see a lot of female producers. Where did the idea behind it come from and what would you say to aspiring producers who are women in India?

In Europe it‘s getting better with understanding female producers as a “normal” thing. But I still have to explain in many interviews that I am also the producing part of HVOB and not only the singer. It can be pretty annoying, to be honest. A lot of people still can‘t imagine women involved in the technical side of things. As we work harder, these things may change in the future. It‘s still got a long way to go, but we are proud to be a tiny part of the development of an equal understanding of men and women in music.

Where do you find the greatest inspiration for your music?

As every artist: from everything around you. Life, experiences, meeting people, relationships.

You’ve cited Thom Yorke as a dream collaborator in the past. Who else would make that list?

OK, to continue the list of totally unreal collaboration-wishes, I would go for The National or TV On The Radio. I think it would be very interesting to mix these kinds of music with ours.

There seems to be a steady increase in the quality of music coming out of Austria in the last couple of years. Which other Austrian artists should we be listening to?

You should definitely listen to Wolfram. A very good musician who has collaborated with the likes of Hercules & Love Affair and Hatthaway. Another good one is Dorian Concept, and definitely Soap&Skin.

How do you structure and conduct your live performances differently from when you record, and what difference do you think the addition of a drummer makes?

We really believe in the power in playing live. To us it is important and essential that all things that can be live, are performed live. Sometimes it would be easier to travel around only with a little bag. But it‘s all worth it.

What went into the making of ‘Trialog’? How would you describe the album?

Music and art have always been strongly bound at HVOB. So we wanted to create an album where all was woven together – the music, the lyrics, videos and visuals. It‘s technoid, it works in the club but at the same time it is very personal and you can listen to it on your own. That is important to us.

Your performances in Delhi and Bangalore were the first you’ve ever held in India. What were the highlights?

The whole India tour was a highlight. We never expected that. Both shows were sold out and people were singing our songs. We were afraid of nobody coming to our shows, we couldn‘t imagine that anyone would know us here.

What did you make of the music scene here? Were there any notable Indian acts you’d want to take back home?

To be honest, we only got a little taste of the Indian music scene. We are of course very interested and open to all kinds of music. We really liked Moniker's set in Bangalore, hopefully we will play with him again one day.

Any challenges you faced in the Indian leg of your tour?

No challenges at all. It was a pleasure.

Where is HVOB heading next?

We just finished a tour in the US, after India we visited Singapore, China and Malaysia. We're now on route back to Europe and will play some concerts and festivals there.

THE SAME 3 QUESTIONS

3 most inspirational artists:
Radiohead, Aphex Twin, Gravenhurst

3 favourite albums of all time:
Radiohead – Kid A
13&God

3 favourite artists of the moment:
Recondite, Bob Moses, Moderat

Words: Diya Gupta

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05 May 2015

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