HVOB Interview ahead of Cape Town Electronic Music Festival
HVOB performed at the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival (CTEMF) in 2014 and were without a doubt one of the highlights of the event. In fact so much so they’re back again to drop their crowd pleasing beats on the Cape Town massive again at CTEMF 2015.
But who is this intriguing group of individuals who tend to shy away from massive press campaigns and images of themselves?
Mary Honeychild scratched a little deeper…
You played at CTEMF in Cape Town, SA last year. What was the experience like and what do you plan on doing different this time around? Both performance wise and regarding experiencing the city.
HVOB: CTEMF was our first show and visit ever in SA; we were excited and thankful to play for the first time in Africa – we didn’t expect so much, we thought that nobody would know us on the other side of the world. So we were totally overwhelmed by the warm welcome and the positive response by the people. We could not believe that they were even singing some of our lyrics. This time, we will bring some new songs of our upcoming album ‘Trialog’, which will be released in April. CTEMF will be the first live show of our Album Release Tour for Trialog, so this is gonna be very special for us. And you are almost the first ones who will hear to the new songs; we’ve played it just once before, so we are really looking forward to this concert. It’s going to be very special.
HVOB is a refreshing melodic, and emotive concept for an act. At what point did you decide that this approach would be the way in which you express your creativity as a duo?
HVOB: Finding the HVOB sound was not a decision, it just happened. Two years ago, Paul and I started to make music. We wanted to create something new; a unique sound. We did not listen to any other music for inspiration. We are not fans of trends, we want to create something that lasts. We love what we do so much, so we think the best way to do what you love as long as possible, is being uncompromisingly yourself and producing what you want to listen to. We are thankful that people let us be ourselves, letting us go our way and support what we do.
‘Her Voice Over Boys’ has feminist undertones. Is this an accurate perception or is there another meaning behind the name? Also, why do you think ‘Her Voice Over Boys’ was a message you chose to put out in to the electronic music scene?
HVOB: “Her Voice Over Boys” defines the idea behind the project. On the electronic music scene it’s still unusual for females to produce – most DJs hire guest female singers for individual tracks. We do things differently, we write and produce everything together. But there was no feminist intention in choosing this name. It describes the project perfectly.
What value do you think the appropriate vocal/s adds to electronic music, and where/or perhaps at what point do you think the addition of vocals may go wrong in a track?
HVOB: To me, my vocal is like any other instrument in our songs. The music is number one, not my vocal. When I compose a song, the music is always first, the vocal last. So the music is the focus, and I try not to overload a track with my voice, I use it very carefully, trying not to cover anything from the music.
Your live act includes a drummer. I mean who doesn’t love drums right? Where did the idea come from to use a drummer and what do you think it adds to your live performances?
HVOB: For our live performances we create a song set, and we generally play concerts together with a drummer because we don’t want the computer to produce the beats. It was our goal from the beginning to play live on stage, always. It’s not always easy to play the clubs with a drummer, but the authenticity justifies the effort. On the new album release tour, wherever possible, our VJs “lichterloh” are also with us and they produce a visual show especially for the tour.
What’s really impressive is that you’ve already played in over twenty countries in Europe and more across the world, and at the SXSW festival in Texas last year. What was SXSW like and what did you enjoy most about the way the crowd responded to you?
HVOB: SXSW was a great experience. We were honoured to got invited to such an important festival. But the hardest thing was getting there. It’s unbelievably complicated to get artist visas for the US, so much paperwork – but it was all worth it, no complaining. Like in South Africa last year, we didn’t know what to expect. But the crowd at SXSW was awesome. And I think it was a nice variety for them, there are hardly any electronic acts playing there.
Your latest EP ‘Window’ is described as a complex art project that opens a trialogue between artistic disciplines. Each track comprises installation, music, and video. Why did you find it necessary to draw in all three corners of these aspects for the EP?
HVOB: For us, HVOB is a unit of art and music. We were thinking to ourselves: How can we put these things together even more? So we started to work together with Clemens Wolf, who is a well known young Austrian artist, and lichterloh, who have been our VJs and video producers from the beginning. We wanted to create a little more than a common music album. We wanted to create something special, something new.
It is based on ten naturally occurring processes, each track on the album has its own process: tearing, mixing, bursting, melting, oxidising, breaking, imploding, etching, bending and burning.
For example, our first single of the upcoming album, ‘Window’ is the process ‘mixing’. [Watch the video at the end of this interview]. You see three colours getting mixed together on a glass pane.
Clemens Wolf made the installation with the glass pane and the colours, lichterloh were shooting the video and will use the material to produce the visuals for our album release tour, Paul recorded the sounds of Clemens Wolfs’ installation when the colours were splashing on glass (you can hear it in the beginning of the track) and I integrated the theme ‘mixing’ in my lyrics. So you can see, all three artistic levels (art, video, music) are woven in one single track.