A Conversation with Hira

Back in 2018, I came across an artist named Hira and since then, the way I look at music has drastically changed. I gravitate towards the music that makes me feel something deep down in my soul, so I was immediately taken by surprise when his tracks gave me that same feeling and so much more. The Indian-born, London based artist has been hands down at the top of my list of favorite artists and it’s all due to the sheer magnificence that he creates with. His music is much greater than chord progressions and simple melodies, but truly a manufactured experience that listeners get to live in and through. I rarely use the word genius when it comes to music, but what Hira has been able to create is nothing shy of it. To satisfy my fandom, I took some time to talk with Hira about his life and music. This interview was a dream come true, so without further ado, take some time to check out this conversation with Hira. Enjoy!

Sam: So you’re born and raised in London; I’d love to hear about your family, upbringing and any experiences that may have shaped your interest in music. Was there one singular moment that inspired you to start creating this art?

Hira: Yeah, I’m born and raised in London and I believe my earliest musical memory was being in the car with my mom and she’d be playing Luther Vandross and Whitney Houston. I specifically remember listening to Luther and being like, wow that’s just an amazing voice and I just wanted to sing along as a kid. I think later on as I grew up, the first CD I wanted to own for myself was when I was 9…It was Justified by Justin Timberlake. The production and Timbaland, it was all just groundbreaking to me. That was all I wanted to hear for years and it still is all I want to hear now. I’m super into that. And then, I think when it came to my late teens, I realized that I could probably do this myself too. I think it was after hearing Jai and AK Paul; I’m Indian and they had just come on the scene, so to see people who look like me who are doing what I love, making world-changing music; and its just two Indian guys from London as well. That was just amazing and life-changing for me. Hearing that, I was just inspired to do the same thing and I was lucky enough to get to work with them.

Sam: How did you initially get integrated into the music scene? Tell me how you got connected to the people you work with now in music.

Hira: I was in film school for a while and I was getting kind of sick of it. I had made like my first demos and I put one of them on SoundCloud. It was like a minute and twenty seconds and I got some messages from some managers and publishing labels so I met with some people just like that and that was sort of my first interaction with the industry. From there, I met a few people here and there and ended up working with Harry Craze who has helped me on all of my work since and up to now. He helped me a lot to refine my ideas and see it through. He’s a massive part of helping me. He’s been a great mentor to me. 

Sam: Tell me about your creative process. When you have an idea, how do you take that idea and put it into a song?

Hira: I think it depends on the specific song and the specific idea. Lately, working and creating from home, it’s been a lot about what’s going on in my head at the moment. If I have an idea I want to talk about, I really explore that first, but if I’m in the studio, I can just be jamming and on the mic singing melodies and stuff like that, so it really depends on the environment and the mindset as well.

Sam: So how has it been trying to make music during quarantine? Has it negatively affected you or are you learning new things about yourself throughout the process?

Hira: It’s weird because I think the first time around, it was way more fun and easy than I thought it would be, because we first locked down in the spring/summer during the first one so the sun was out and we could just go on a walk and its more fun and more inspiring; so that was cool and  and I was working with Mahir Mistry a lot. I would just be on FaceTime with him and I’d play a part and he’d be like put that down. But, I think this time around, now that it’s winter, it’s just a completely different feeling. I can’t just do what I did back then. It’s completely changed the way I work, so this one has definitely been a lot tougher for sure. 

Sam: If you don’t mind, I’d love to hear more about the Paul Institute. Are there other artists who you’re connected with through that? What’s the structure of it?

Hira: It’s really just a massive family at this point. Theres, 1,2…8 artists. We all get to explore our own styles. We’re all different and come from completely different backgrounds which is so interesting, but there are some things, some unspoken connection between all of us and our core values in music and art and I think that brings us together. And definitely, Jai and AK who started it, I think they inspire all of us to keep that quality and value it.

Sam: Since starting music, what has been one of your favorite songs that you’ve made so far?

Hira: I think for me, I know its just my last song that I put out, but “Eclipses” was really fun to make. I got to really indulge in the harmonies that I love. I’m a huge fan of D’Angelo and Brandi. Their style of vocal harmonies; I really wanted to use that song to explore that. Also, playing guitar, that was one of the songs that I’ve played the most guitar in and I’m sort of still getting used to it. With guitar, I’m not that good.

Sam: Wait, did you play guitar in “Eclipses”?

Hira: mhm!

Sam: Yeah bro, you’re fire. I’m not going to let you sit here and say you’re bad at guitar. You’re too good. 

Hira: Thank you!

Sam: A few more questions! When you go into making music, how do you want people to feel when they listen to it?

Hira: I think when we’re all creating songs, we try to create as much of a world as possible. In the sounds and the textures. We really want to transport people to how it feels or whatever is going on in that . I never want it to be something that someone can just turn on in the background. I want you to feel it and see it, because I think my favorite music is the music that I listen to for years and still hear new things.

Sam: So finally, what’s next? What are some goals that you have this year? What are you working on and what are you looking forward to doing in 2021 with your music?

Hira: Definitely finishing up some new stuff. I think there’s probably an EP on the way, so yeah just kind of getting that recorded and finished. Also, I would love to do some kind of  live thing; whether that’s like virtual or something else, I really want to do that because I miss that.

As you can see, I’m a huge fan of Hira and hopefully by the end of this interview, you are as well. Make sure to check out his latest song, “Eclipses”and begin indulging in his amazing work! Enjoy!