Accessible yet intelligent, Hugo Oak is an up in the clouds and deep underground musician. By using and combining intense sounds, he seeks to compose both downtempo and uplifting tracks that will, in either case, make your blood flow a little harder.
He uses a synth, a mic, a lot of FX, and the soul of his voice. It’s a process without rules, Hugo Oak produces anyway he wants to.Accessible yet intelligent, Hugo Oak is an up in the clouds and deep underground musician. By using and combining intense sounds, he seeks to compose both downtempo and uplifting tracks that will, in either case, make your blood flow a little harder. He uses a synth, a mic, a lot of FX, and the soul of his voice. It’s a process without rules, Hugo Oak produces anyway he wants to.
I discovered Herbie Hancock at a very young age. I have to admit, that I have somewhat of a strange relationship to Hancock. For instance: I bought a book about him once, didn’t read it because I lacked the focus, but he still very much intrigues me. I keep putting on his records, even though I don’t fully understand the story he wants to tell. That captivates me.
Like the beginning of Chameleon, his sound can be very electronic but it’s mostly acoustic. He makes music that’s almost physically present, that you can almost touch. When you close your eyes it’s as if you’re actually there, which I think is awesome. Besides all of this, he just makes extremely exquisite music.
The journey he made as an artist is also really interesting. He started out as a wild young rebel on stage and with the coming of age he explored different styles of music and became more placid in the way he plays. I imagine myself going on such a journey in my career. The diversity in styles is something you can hear in my music: an exquisite mix of electronic and acoustic sounds.
Dalí to me is most memorable for his clocks. I am particularly keen on that work for it’s such a simple everyday object and he is able to create so much exciting work from it. That’s very similar to how the process of making music works. You’re never finished with a track. There are always new ideas and variations that you can add to your production, even though the final product most of the time is just one track. It’s a cool idea that you can make like 40 tracks from one song, each being a variation on the original theme. Sort of like making 40 remixes. I’m not sure how interesting that would be, but Dalí’s work shows that it can be interesting and that the possibilities are endless.
For instance, when I started singing I found a copy of the lyrics from the Lionel Richie song Hello. I started playing on the piano and just sang the words not knowing how the original song actually sounded. That gave me the freedom to change the whole song around and play a reggae version, or a rock version or turn it into the ballad it is. Even now I occasionally sing the song but with different chords. By doing so, you can really train and get to know your voice. Just like I think Dalí became a better artist by varying on one theme.
The best piano player I know. He seems to be hitting every single note with his soul. The same goes for his voice, it flows perfectly through the music. When I listen to his music, I mostly don’t even focus on the lyrics. And I think that’s what makes him so genius. You can hear his voice and instruments alone, that he likes to drink and smoke and that he has been living a heavy life. His voice is so pure that I consider him as one of the greatest singers ever.
Ray also introduced me to one of my favourite instruments: the Fender Rhodes. It has an amazing sound and feel to it. In the past, I’ve been saving some money to buy one, but in the end decided to buy a synth. Nevertheless, the Rhodes adds extraordinary colour to the sound and inspires me to do the same with my own productions. I find it hard to explain, but it just makes me feel really good. Listening to Ray Charles helps me with producing music. I listen to his music before I begin and it always gets me in the right state of mind
It’s a dream to be as good as him one day, but that requires a lot more practice and experience from my side. And I wouldn’t be too fond being blind either.
Again, my inspiration comes from a totally crackbrained artist. It’s also what links all my inspirations together. I admire the crazy ones that do things differently and don’t care about the status quo. They are the ones that push things in a new direction and they push me to go beyond my limitations and be a better artist. They show me that making music doesn’t abide by any rules; they’re only there to break.
One of which is Prince. His influence actually boils down to one scene from Purple Rain. It’s the scene where his ex-girlfriend comes to see his show with her new boyfriend after they broke up. He then directs his performance completely to her and, not so subtle, lets her know what he thinks of her. It starts with a filthy beat, which only he can make and is a highlight on itself. When he starts singing it only get worse. The lyrics are so nasty: “I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine”. He’s got the performance to match and he really stabs the song and the words right into her heart. It’s so well performed that it almost feels like he’s assaulting her.
He breaks with conventions and doesn’t care about what anyone thinks of what he does. Being able to convey so much emotion and being able to direct it to only one person in the audience in such an unbound way is just crazy! I would really love to be able to do that some day.