Q+A: 5 minutes with Himalia
Dabbling in various pockets of electronica, our interviewee today is the boundary-obliterating producer Himalia, a creative who, telling by his new song, possesses a seemingly natural instinct for composing music that is rich in balance and progression. His new single, ‘No One’, beats to life like a racing heart and illustrates his ability to take a song from point A to point B seamlessly all the while growing it in all kinds of subtle ways. Oozing smooth, with occasional vocal chops of simplistic exclamations, the record, which features on label Deep Heads’ forthcoming Cosmic Vibrations Vol.3 compilation, speaks to the producer’s personality. We were curious, so we asked him why he does what he does.
Stream / Download: Himalia – ‘No One’
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
I’ve always been musical since I can remember. I remember being able to play things by ear on the guitar when I was around 8-10, then I went on to piano lessons soon after.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Probably the sound. It all depends on the sample or the beat as to whether we write a vocal for it or not. It also depends on what kind of project it is. Sometimes the idea is already there, then I just do my thing.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Yeah, I’ve worked with some incredible artists over the years. I’ve remixed so many other artists, but the main ones I’ve released with are Mzuki, Ceeow, and more recently Gaby Zacara. Not to mention endless projects I’ve started with friends, just jokes, etc.
What’s on your current playlist?
Anything Dreamville at the moment. The new J.I.D single is wicked, and a lot of Alix Perez’s label, 1985s releases. Also a lot of Brent Faiyaz and Amber Oliver. My taste is so varied; I listen to all sorts!
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
I don’t usually DJ that much anymore. I find it quite hard to make sets because I make so many different tempos. I have played some 140 sets and some garagey sets before and they went down really well. I’d make loads of VIPs and bootlegs of stuff just to play out.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
I sample a lot and try and make something different. I tend to sit for hours and try to manipulate samples to the point you can’t tell where they’ve come from. I’ve kind of gained a sound just from doing what I do for so long. I like working with vocalists and chopping and editing tracks and find that’s my strength in all this.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Typically my studio is at home so I’d just sit and chill with a project and see where we would take it throughout the day, in between switching back and forth from other stuff to keep the inspiration going. I find it’s a good thing to work on a few things at once, then just tinker away once I’ve got an idea down!
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
Every time I’ve listened to music that I’ve loved.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Probably a drink of some sort, a good softy, or a nice beer.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
My homie Ceeow is absolutely killing it at the moment. We have some great releases we’re working on, not to mention he is smashing it with his band and other endeavours.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Some nice greenery and good company.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
All I use is a laptop and a hard drive full of samples, I have some Adam Audio monitors, which I love, and a midi keyboard and that’s about it. Oh, and I have an acoustic and an Ibanez electric and an Ibanez electric bass.
Any side projects you’re working on?
Lots, like I said my homie Ceeow, we’ve got some bits coming out. Gaby Zacara and I have got an album coming out soon, but more so I’m working on my next album, which should be done in a month or so.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Persistence. I’ve never really stopped since I started. I’ve had breaks but more to recharge and gain inspiration.
Also, I’ve learned to not really care about what people think. I always get proper down when stuff doesn’t get the light it deserves, but that gives you a lesson and makes you want it more.
Just do what you love, and if it makes you happy then you don’t need any validation from anyone.
Break down the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
A few singles, a 7-track EP, and a full 11-track album.
Famous last words?
Be kind to everyone; you never know what someone is going through.
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Image credit: David Hinman