INTERVIEW WITH… UK ELECTRONIC DUO + FILM & GAME MUSIC COMPOSERS HYBRID
HYBRID is the U.K. Electronic music duo and film/game composers who have been crafting an eclectic mix of sounds for diverse projects since the 90s. The duo comprising of Mike and Charlotte Truman just released their new album titled “Black Halo”. I chatted with HYBRID about their new record, their creative process, and more. You can read the interview below.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Hi, Charlotte & Mike! Thanks for taking the time out! How are you guys doing?
HYBRID: We’re great thank you, a little bit nervous (to say the least) about tomorrow. As I type it’s under 12 hours until Black Halo comes out and I’m feeling a tad nauseous!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: So, How did HYBRID begin? Can you talk a bit about your musical background? Was there a particular catalyst that got you started on this journey?
HYBRID: We happened to be writing our first album at a very special time for dance music in London, our label’s studio was in Soho which was walking distance to three pivotal clubs that made up a lot of our influences at the time. Bar Rhumba on Shaftesbury Avenue was home to Friction with Adam Freeland, Tayo, and Rennie Pilgrim, the Ram Records nights at The End with Andy C, Grooverider, Goldie, and the DnB great and good and John Digweed’s Bedrock nights at Heaven. All three left an indelible mark on us and that had the biggest influence on how and why we made what we did.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How would you both describe your overall sound? Particularly on this new album?
HYBRID: The last album, Light of the Fearless, was one of the most positive. Personally, we’d both been through some pretty traumatic times with family. Mike’s mum has been poorly and I lost mine to cancer so we wanted to write something that they would love, amongst other things, so it was about finding the light. This one though has a much darker feel to it which is actually our ‘happy place’. We’re both happier writing more gritty / dark material and I like hiding meanings into lyrics in the same way our production is comprised of multiple layers so you hear something different every time. This album was written like a book so it’s intended to be heard from the start to the end to take you on a journey and we hope that this journey will affect people differently for many reasons.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What does a typical ‘HYBRID’ writing and recording process entail? How has that shifted (if at all) because of the pandemic?
HYBRID: Mike and I live in the middle of nowhere in our own two adjacent studios so as far as the writing process went, we weren’t really affected. However, it definitely took us down a route for a story. The title came first which was unusual as we’re usually sitting in a coffee shop ten minutes before it gets mastered trying to think up a name, but the mood of the global community really did sculpt how the lyrical and musical tone was driven. How people were trying to deal with not being able to be together, being away from family and friends, how the environment changed with the lack of travel and pollution.. strange times and people became exceptional and coping with adversity although, at the same time, the struggle and the pain was tangible and incredibly sad. Through losing people and having to deal with their own inner turmoil and mental health, it hasn’t been easy for so many people.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Let’s talk about your new body of work, the “Black Halo” album and the inspiration and backstory behind it?
HYBRID: Well, as I said, the Black Halo title came first. Neither Mike or I are religious but this is a spiritual album. It’s about the perseverance of the human spirit. Going deeper, it’s about what actually defines being ‘good’. Whether you’re guided by religious principles or by your own morality, like perfection, no one is completely good, people make mistakes, follow the wrong path, the part of you is the things you get wrong or regret that you struggle to find peace with, the way to deal with your own imperfections and let them sit with you in a comfortable place. It’s the things you know aren’t your greatest moments or those things you’d like improved about yourself but that sit with you and you learn how to attain a comfort in being able to let those things be there with you when you strive to be better. The Track, Nails explains that. The dark woman in the woods in the video is a physical representation of that inner turmoil and darkness that you silently fight against and learn how to overcome.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: The singles “Flashpoint” and “Nails” are two tracks from the new record that are also a part of a four-part video series with a hi-fidelity cyber-horror plot. You also released a music video with it. How did you guys come up with the concept for these music videos? How does that tie in with the rest of the record?
HYBRID: It was a sequence of events really, as I explained about what the Nails Video means in conjunction with the meaning of the song. A friend of ours is an author called James Scudamore, he wrote to us after his novel, Wreaking came out (which is AMAZING by the way) explaining that he’d been writing it whilst listening to Disappear Here and from then on we kept talking and became firm friends. We asked him to come up with the opening monologue for the album and everything came from there. We wrote the music for a film called Interlude in Prague, on which I was on set as the music producer and met Edmund Kingsley and he was perfect for the performance of the fallen angel whose character will fully be explained in the fourth video. We’ve always been fans of film, cinematography, and scores since Disappear Here, we’ve been making our own music videos which have incrementally become more and more complicated. But, this time, we met a long-term Hybrid fan who we can now call a firm friend too, Matt Westrup who is a VFX artist and director who helped us with all the CGI in all our videos. We’re hoping to make the four videos or at least the three into a short film that will fully explain the plot.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Switching gears… You guys have been composing music for games, film trailers, and movies since the 90s. What has been one of the most rewarding experiences being a film & game composer? What has been one of the biggest challenges that you have overcome?
HYBRID: Well, we absolutely love Scoring, it’s a different discipline to writing our own album tracks because with those, you’re on your own, there’s no guide, no boundaries so what you create is completely down to you. On a film score, there’s a feel, there’s movement, there are emotions and connections to follow and also the director already has a temp track on the movie when you get it that they usually want you to follow quite closely so you’re directed into what kind of thing to make and in what the mood and feel is. There’s a joke that the composer’s favorite part of the scoring process is the beginning and the end, that’s usually because time constraints are precise, the workload is heavy and there’s a lot of other people’s opinions on what needs to be changed or shaped so it’s a high-pressure environment. We love that though, it pushes you. I guess the most challenging project we’ve worked on thus far was the Mozart thriller, Interlude in Prague. I was producing the music which meant re-recording music from The Marriage Of Figaro and Don Giovanni plus then adding a composer score. It took two years and I got to be on set for 6 weeks managing the on-stage performers and musicians. It was a very heavy project but was incredibly rewarding and like all these projects, you learn so much, You feel like a sponge!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: You’ve produced over 100 remixes so far for artists like Moby and U2. Is there anyone on your remix or collaboration bucket list? Since collaboration is key in your line of work what advice would you give to other creatives on aiding the collaborative process?
HYBRID: There are a few of our very well-respected friends in the music industry that we hope to collaborate with later this year so we’ll see what happens. To collaborate you have to be open-minded, bring equal amounts to the table, and have a good dialogue. It’s fun because you get another person’s point of view and you can both bounce off of each other’s inspiration and ideas. It gives you a new side to what you do and it’s been a bit like that with our band members, Stu and Si because working with them on this album has been incredibly inspiring and ideas have just flowed brilliantly. We treat our band as a family and that’s very important for everyone to know that their efforts are equally appreciated and respected. We support each other and each other’s families and that’s a very special thing.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What do you hope is the listeners’ take away when listening to your music?
HYBRID: We wrote ‘Black Halo’ as a story to listen to from beginning to end and we hope that it has messages in it that aren’t too specific to steer a person into thinking one thing, but that it will resonate for the listener on a personal basis for different reasons. That’s what we hope.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: So… What’s your pick for the song of Summer 2021?
HYBRID: We absolutely love No Tomorrow by Camo & Krooked & Mefjus ft. Sophie Lindinger – It’s just gorgeous.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What artists have been “On Repeat” for you lately? What music are you playlisting?
HYBRID: We don’t listen to music when we’re writing our own albums. Might sound strange but we both have the fear of accidentally absorbing something and then duplicating it by mistake so we avoid it like the plague. However, we have lately been listening to a lot of funk, jazz, and soul. Mike and I have put together a filthy playlist that you can hear here. Filth I tell you! Purest FILTH!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: To end… What’s is next on the horizon for HYBRID? 🙂
HYBRID: Having a good sleep! Then we’re playing live in London in October and then more gigs after that. We’re also going to make the final video in the story for Black Halo so that’ll be our next big thing to complete the journey. After that, I think we’ve got a few collaborations on the horizon! The future looks very exciting.
To stream, ‘Black Halo’ out now click here.
HYBRID // SOCIALS