Hui.’s latest single Saganaki is an immersive indie rock experience with a pop sensibility, dreamy sound and a hypnotizing string section. Read our discussion with the Australian Artist below!
describe your sound in three words.
Melancholic, introspective and guitar-driven (I hope hyphenated words are ok teehee)
We really loved the cinematic strings in Saganaki. What is the story behind the track?
I wanted this song to reflect distance and the adversity that people face when experiencing separation. It’s about breaking things off with a lover because they are leaving, not because you’ve fallen out of love, and ultimately regretting the decision.
These feelings were amplified by the pandemic. We’ve all been stuck indoors, not being able to connect. It makes sense to me that I’d write a song like this.
The cinematic strings are a sonic reference to Bill Withers’ ‘ain’t no sunshine’, a song with similar themes. Hopefully it doesn’t seem too on the nose.
Has the Covid -19 pandemic affected your work process in any way and how did you adjust in the new reality?
The pandemic oddly helped with my approach to songwriting. Not having access to studios or producers in the way I’ve been used to has made me stop writing songs with production choices on my mind. I’ve stripped my writing back to bare essentials.
I’ve written a number of songs over the last two years which are arranged for a live band (two guitars, bass, drums, keys etc.), which is something I don’t think I would have done if it hadn’t been for the pandemic.
The time I’ve taken to step away from Melbourne’s scene has allowed me reflect and find the sound I want to achieve as an artist.
Which is your most personal and honest lyric?
The most honest lyric of ‘Saganaki’ is the opening line “Days are more predictable, but nothing is straightforward.”
I wrote it before I knew what the song was going to be about and saying it and then writing it down really validated how I’d been feeling.
I hadn’t been able to work, record, perform or study, and I fell back on vices and relaxation. At first it was lovely, but that changed. After a while, It didn’t feel earned anymore and I began to feel stagnant. Despite the fact that I had no control over the spread of the pandemic, I didn’t realise that I’d unwittingly lost control of my own actions. The lyric was waiting there for me when is wrote it and brought around a significant change in my attitude. I enrolled in a masters degree in counselling and with the limited freedoms we’ve had in Melbourne in the pandemic I recorded an EP. I feel in control at the moment,
Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?
I’ve always loved singer-songwriters such as Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, Bill Withers and indie rock bands like the National, Radiohead, the Paper Kites and the strokes. I’d say they are the main influences for the incoming EP.
I’ve had a massive change in my sound, as I said before. When I studied music, I was surrounded by budding jazz musicians who wanted to play neo-soul, rnb and funk. I think, for the sake of fitting in, I convinced that I wanted to play that music too. Its why I needed to step away and find the music that I actually wanted to make. If you listened to the music I’ve released so fa, you’d look at the influences above and call me an idiot or a liar, but trust me, I’ve got a lot of guitar driven songs in the works.
If you were asked to rescore a film, which one would you choose?
That’s a toughie. I’ve always loved juxtaposing themes. So I reckon I’d love to score a big action movie with a solo guitar player. It’d be either the greatest or worst cinematic experience of all time, but at the very least it could be called be art.
That or WallE. I’d rescore WallE.
What do you love/hate about Melbourne?
Melbourne is a fantastic city. The pool of artists is deep, diverse and budding with creativity.
If you want to play gigs for hipsters in turquoise corduroy suits or play in wine bars for upper-middle class soccer mums, complaining about the trials and tribulations that come with servicing your Mercedes 4-wheel drive, the gigs are there for the taking.
However, I do feel that the scene in Melbourne is gate-kept by certain institutions that refuse to die. That’s why I love the rise of Spotify in today’s world. As much as everyone goes on about how streaming services don’t pay enough, I’ve found more new independent music through Spotify then any of music outlets in the past few years.
In some cases, I think that art produced in Melbourne has a tendency to attach itself to media narratives or trends, which stem from a lack of fame and need of sense.
But that seems a bit bleak though, it’s definitely not as bad as that.
I’m trying to say that Australian unsigned artists need more support from the current institutions in Australia. Otherwise artists will have to compromise for the sake of attention. I don’t think a “pick me!!” approach is the way to artists producing their best work.
Well, the EP comes out in November and I’m going to start making a new EP next month as well. This is plan for now unless anything changes drastically. Hopefully I can release a few EP’s next year every few months. It’s enough of a path for me now! Let’s see where it leads! Thanks for having me!
Follow our Spotify Playlist “Dark Chocolate” feat. Hui.