In Profile: Hudson Mohawke
11 November 2014
We’re nearly there.
Glaswegian production giant Ross Brichard a.k.a. Hudson Mohawke is all set to bring his hyper energetic, beat driven dance anthems to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore this coming week, and we couldn’t be more excited.
To say that he began early would be a bit of an understatement. Since Brichard landed in the top 3 at the worldwide DMC championship (at the tender age of 15), he has reached an unimagined level of eminence, accumulating credits with giants in the industry. As Hudson Mohawke he’s formed an impressive roster since his collaboration with Canadian producer Lunice on the track ‘R U READY’ (for the TNGHT mixtape), that formed the bedrock of Kanye West’s massive ‘Blood On The Leaves’.
We asked him whether his musical education began at home – “It started mainly from listening to the radio late at night as a kid, pirate stations in Glasgow, John Peel’s show, my parents’ record collection etc. I was too young to learn anything from going out to clubs or events. The first music I really loved (long before I ever started making my own music or had any music equipment) was just top 40 chart music because it was all I really knew. I used to record lots of songs onto cassette from the radio.”
Brichard was introduced to dance music, specifically hardcore and jungle by his cousin at an early age, which quickly became an obsession. “By 15, I got really into hip-hop and rap music and then started to search for more experimental sounds. The music I make today is like a blend of all of that really.”
HudMo’s beat/dance influences are apparent but don’t really do justice to describe his enormous sounds, which take those sensibilities but push them to their absolute, hyper percussive extremes. Take his latest output ‘Chimes’ – an EP that garnered attention from virtually everyone worth noting in the international industry months before it dropped in September this year via Warp Records. Its title track is also the EP’s boldest. Bypassing the threat of complete loss of control, ‘Chimes’ maintains a structure that is rich, restless, loud and maximalist to its very nucleus.
“I don’t usually describe my sound because I prefer people make up their own minds. I make a lot of different styles and tempo’s of music so it’s difficult to categorise. As far as the Chimes record is concerned, it’s a collection of tracks that I’ve been playing at my shows for a while now. People were requesting or ripping from old radio mixes of mine, so I decided that before my next full length album drops, I’d put out some of the songs that I’ve had for a while but people have never been able to own their own copies of.”
The kaleidoscopic album artwork is as eccentric as the EP, depicting what looks like an army of people with multicoloured inflatable tubes in a public pool – ‘I feel like its kind of a visual representation of the sound, its colourful and kind of bizarre, lots of elements are colliding at once to create one piece and fill the whole frequency range, its not really restrained or too thoughtful, its quite in your face and all out, just a mash of lots of different ideas.’
Despite all the success and noise surrounding him, HudMo is still, a bedroom producer at heart. When we asked about the best performance he played, he told us that his most memorable experiece was the first time he played outside the UK – “It was in a tiny town in Norway and I just remember thinking ‘wow I cant believe anyone would want me to come to a whole different country to play the music I made in my bedroom at my parents house’ - that was a weird feeling.”
And the worst gig? “Haha, probably a seated gig in a theatre in Italy right when my first Warp release came out. It was part of a festival but nobody was familiar with my music, there was barely anyone there and people were standing up from their seats and leaving all during my set.”
HudMo’s keeping busy these days preparing his sophomore LP while also working on production for other artists. He tries to keep his collaborations under wraps till their final release after his work with Lunice didn’t go quite as he planned; “TNGHT will always be around but we decided to intentionally keep quiet for a while because when we started the project we didn’t want it to become more well known than either of us individually, and it felt like it might have gone that way if we’d kept on the route we were. Short term success but probably at the expense of our solo careers that we’ve been building for much longer.”
Hudson Mohawk is taking his own journey in the same direction as his music – bigger, louder and anything but conventional - “I’m interested in becoming more of an executive producer, overseeing full records for people, stepping away from the screen and into more of a record producer’s role in the traditional sense of the term.”
In a period where downtempo, minimalist sounds seem to be taking over the industry, it takes a brave artist to pull off melodic music that is as rich, restless and technicoloured as HudMo. From hyper percussive beats to rowdy synth and ominous horns, everything he creates is big, and uncompromisingly so.
Hudson Mohawke will be performing tomorrow night in Delhi at Hauz Khas Social and in Bangalore and Mumbai on 14 and 15 November respectively. More information can be found here and you can follow HudMo and RBMA for more updates.
THE SAME 3 QUESTIONS:
3 most inspirational artists:
Quincy Jones, Scott Brown, Timbaland
3 favourite albums of all time:
Big L - The Big Picture
Boards of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children
Mahavishnu Orchestra - Apocalypse
Favourite 3 artists of the moment:
Words: Diya Gupta