Introducing HÆC: “a Musical Symbiosis” [Interview]

Updated: May 5, 2019

Interview with HÆC

photos by Eder López

Although describing themselves as “chill indie electronic”, there’s something so polished about HÆC’s songs that distinguishes them a step beyond their genre. From the first ambient note of “Turn Around”, the duo brands their music as understated yet purposeful.

Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, instrumentalist Adrian is “responsible for writing most of the riffs and creating the beats”, while singer August is “the one who creates the vocal lines and lyrics.” Working on the arrangement and pre-production of the tracks themselves initially, 19 year-old French producer AL’sic also makes his mark on their sound. “He is a super young and extremely talented musician who understands our music and gives it the extra touch that we are seeking. He works his magic to make [each] song sound at its best,” the band says of his contributions.

HÆC, initiated originally in late 2015 by Adrian, has given way to a 2017 single (“Soon”) and a 2018 dual single (“Turn Around / Relief”). “It started as my personal project, when I moved to a rural and quite remote region of Jutland due to work reasons,” Adrian explains. “I had a fair amount of free time [which] combined with the location of the place made me feel quite socially isolated, so I spent a lot of time with my guitar and experimenting with music gadgets. One of the advantages of that place was that I had access to a fantastic studio, in which I spent hours and hours writing and recording songs that later became the seeds that grew into some of the HÆC tracks.”

An acronym for “Holograms Against Endangered Creatures”, their name is “an allegory of the direction the modern societies are taking, towards a world of virtual characters.” And the band moves against that, insisting on a genuine way of living and creating. “The way we interact and express our feelings has changed drastically in the past years. HÆC [is] an organic form of expression, as faithful to the individuals behind the project as it could possibly be,” the duo says.

This authenticity is noticeable, running through the lush atmosphere of their songs as well as August’s vocals. They’re clear and determined, but there’s a touch of something more vulnerable, too. “I met August in January 2017, not long after I moved to Copenhagen, at one of his gigs as a solo artist in a small and cozy pub called Tjili Pop. After witnessing his performance I had no doubt that he would be a huge asset for the project, so I decided to present him some of the ideas,” Adrian recalls. His voice fits in seamlessly, both his thoughtful harmonies and leads containing the same drive of the electronic beats surrounding them. It’s easy to see how the pair found inspiration in each other’s skills.

“The connection between us was fantastic and we shared common visions regarding the direction a project like HÆC should take,” the instrumentalist continues. “We started writing music together in February 2017. I remember that it was a particularly cold winter and we spent so much time indoors, talking about music and writing songs. That fruitful beginning was the confirmation of an absolute musical symbiosis between us in spite of the fact that our backgrounds as songwriters differ a lot.” How does that musical symbiosis happen? “Step 1: Coffee. Step 2: ‘Hey dude, listen to this’. Step 3: ‘Yeah, nice, but what if…?’ (Repeat steps 2 & 3 a hundred times). 6 months later we record a demo version at our studio and send it to [our] producer. As soon as we get it back we agree on a date with our favorite sound engineer Joseph Gallacher and the proper recording process starts…”

The first finished product of their efforts was “Soon”, characterizing their sound with delicate guitars laid in a bed of soothing synths. “We had a few different skeletons and the one that later became ‘Soon’ was the one that was screaming to be finished. Essentially, we got tired of step 3 (‘what if…?’), so we felt that it was time to release it. The song was recorded in two different countries, Denmark and Galiza, which are 2700 km apart from each other,” the duo says of that development.

Despite this variety of locations, Copenhagen is the band’s home. “[It’s] a vibrant city with a huge musical scene and many cultural events. We are inspired by other Scandinavian artists and their visions…the ‘hygge’ culture helps a lot with the creative process (spending time indoors on a cold, rainy day, surrounded by candles is the perfect setting for HÆC).”

The duo expresses the notion that “‘finding your own sound’ is one of the most challenging things any musician wants to achieve”, but they’ve also been confident in their distinct ideas of what they wanted to sound like since the very beginning. And they’ve established this successfully; all three of their singles have a common resonance, but stand out in their own way as well. Adrian notes “Relief”’s “existentialist essence,” while August acknowledges the lyrical content of “Turn Around”. “It’s about a loss that I’ve experienced, so the song is about the thought process of getting over this loss,” he reveals.

For HÆC, the near future brings a new EP, some collaborations with different DJs and producers, and improving their craft. “It’s now when we have decided to experiment and develop our sound,” the band says. And that sound, as apparent from all of their releases, is already brimming with the potential to have a limitless reach.

Listen to Turn Around / Relief

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