Oh you know, we’ve been great! Just got back from our first gig of 2017 in NYC.
Can you talk to us more about your upcoming single “What You Wanted”?
Yeah, it’s one we’re really proud of. The song came together over the course of several months, we just kind of dove in and wrote the song before really even knowing each other all that well. It’s about getting knocked down by the music business, picking yourself back up, and still chasing your dream in a wiser and slightly wearier way than before.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Yes, I left my job as a calculated risk, thinking I was closer to signing a record deal and a publishing deal than I actually was. Turns out, neither deal panned out. It was like jumping off a cliff and realizing “oh shit, that’s a long way down and this time there’s nothing here to catch me.”
Any plans to release a video for the single?
We’d love to do that. Who knows? It could happen…
Why did you name the EP after this track in particular?
This track was the first one we started recording and it seemed to reflect the place I’m in creatively at this moment in time. I was in a band for seven years called The Future Laureates, and I put my blood, sweat and tears into building that project up. My drive and pursuit of my goals with that band bordered on obsessive, and the way I approached it came as a detriment to my health and relationships. That was what I wanted at one time, but in version 2.0 of my songwriting, I want to have music fit into my life in a more balanced way. It’s still a work in progress.
How was the recording and writing process?
Really interesting and different than what I’m used to. Yoo Soo Kim, our producer, highlighted a few songs he liked for this EP. We had some rough iPhone demo recordings as a group, and in the initial sessions with Yoo Soo, I laid down a scratch guitar and vocal track. Yoo Soo helped translate the guitar chords to piano in some instances, and then over the course of several months we tracked individual parts, finalized chords, wrote lyrics and melodies. It became of process of honing in and identifying a slightly new, slightly familiar sound that gives us a template and sonic range that we can continue to grow within and expand upon.
What aspect of rejection did you get to explore on this record?
Honestly, the most pronounced type of rejection I experienced was on the business side of music. Pursuing a career in the arts is a labor of love. If you take it seriously, (which I did and do), you can expend an extraordinary amount of time, energy, money, and you lean heavily on the support of family and friends. You work hard to network and build relationships, send emails, make phone calls, promote your shows, and hope that an industry executive will actually give a shit just once and come out to your show. It’s exhausting and rewarding in many ways, every single day you’re faced with rejection and you keep at it. The biggest thing I’ve learned from pursuing a career in music is that you really need to take the long view, because it’s rare that things happen on your desired timeline. Also, you really need to pursue your craft with a genuine love of the process and an openness to risk. You do that for seven years and you can start to get impatient, jaded, bitter about why your number hasn’t been called. And all of a sudden you’re going down a path that is really unrewarding. The good news is you have the power to change it; sometimes, enough shit has to hit the fan for you to realize “huh, I probably need to go about this a different way.” I would call it the artist’s blind spot – those in your life who love you can usually see it before you can, but it takes a really long time for you to see that you’re unhappy and change your approach and outlook.
Did you take a different approach for this band than when you were writing for The Future Laureates?
The biggest difference between this band and The Future Laureates is obviously the people I’m collaborating with are different. So there’s a different set of influences and different levels of musical contribution that the writers bring to the music than before. I think another thing I’ve tried to be more conscious of is not being such a dictator creatively. I’ve learned to be more open and let people have their say more and bring their own ideas to the table. That takes trust and it comes more easily when a cohesive group is in place early on. That was something I didn’t do a very good job of in The Future Laureates, letting go of creative control, and it continues to be a work in progress for me, but I’m getting better. At the same time, with it being my project, the understanding is these are my songs and my vision, and the guys I’m working with are helping facilitate and realize that vision. When there’s a clear understanding and belief in the roles within a group, it leads to more constructive, respectful creativity.
Any plans to hit the road?
We’re starting to, slowly but surely. We just played in NYC at the end of April; we’ve got EP release shows coming up in Nashville, Ohio, Chicago, and Detroit. So we’re starting to get more momentum with shows.
What else is happening next in Hiber’s world?
Well…we’re sitting on some new music (shhh, don’t tell)….