For Hibell, the last decade was the pre-cursor for what is about to come. From starting out as a student playing around with Garageband and a DJ deck, Hibell has gone from strength to strength and the dawn of a new decade is looking very promising for a very talented artist. Already at home in the music industry, after working with huge names such as Little Mix, Olly Murs and SIA, Hibell is looking to take his music to a higher level and become one of the new breed of musical superstars. The Guide talked to Hibell about his plans, his background and why Hip-Hop/Rap is leading the way in music today.
Has a career in music always been the plan?
‘Well, in Upper sixth at school I started to DJ a bit, and I used to be quite musical at my previous school as I played Guitar. However as a teenager, sport began to get in the way and it took over my life. But as I said in Upper Sixth, I began to get a real interest again in music and this translated into DJ’ing.'
'At university, I had a lot of time on my hands and I began to really go for it with my music. I would wake up and make music all day up until 6-7pm and then go out with friends. It was a constant cycle, but a lot of fun! Over the course of that year I gained a lot of experience in regards to making and producing music, and by summer of that year in May or June time, I posted a track on SoundCloud, which was the starting point really.’
The music industry is known to be difficult to get inroads into, so how did you go about it? 'After posting the track on SoundCloud, I started emailing artists producers and blog pages on SoundCloud with the track as well as individual artists too. These emails included people with the same management as the Chainsmokers, which was much easier to do with the old style of SoundCloud. Within a month the track that I posted got 10,000 plays which at the time was mind-blowing, I surprised myself! From then on I was trying to promote it as much as I could and I paid a couple of channels to share my stuff, which I think was one of the best moves I made.
'The use of the channels led to blogs and management companies getting in touch, which led to conversations of being managed. For me this was massive, especially as I had no previous connections in the music industry. From then on I tried to be consistent, every month posting tracks and this was key to me being able to produce on albums for Little Mix and Olly Murs.'
‘I don’t know, I have not been one to look at a painting, and music just comes to me, maybe people just say it for attention. In a way there may be truth to that but for me other music influences and inspires me.’
What kind of things do you take inspiration from for your music?
‘I always use ‘Notes’ on my phone, which I use to write down songs, when I hear melodies, or chord progressions that I like. I often integrate these into my songs in some way, as I believe that nothing is ever truly unique. I think that ultimately things that are completely unique are a culmination of different ideas and concepts. For me I feel as though music is the inspiration for my own music, although I know that other artists use different sources of inspiration such as specific places or books and other objects.’
At that point I jump in and ask a further question, ‘I know that some artists especially in the Hip-Hop genre take inspiration from pieces of art, such as A$AP Rocky. Do you think art and music have a link and does it bring you inspiration?’, Hibell takes his time and laughs to himself, ‘I don’t know, I have not been one to look at a painting, and music just comes to me, maybe people just say it for attention. In a way there may be truth to that but for me other music influences and inspires me.’
Furthermore, which artists do you think had influenced you the most in your music?
‘I would say that is quite hard to pin point, for me not one person has been my “single” inspiration. I would say a range of artists have inspired me but I guess originally it would definitely have been Kygo and Avicii. Those artists heavily inspired my music at first and you can hear that in the tracks. Now, though, I am doing a reboot of my brand, my tastes have changed and my choice in music is different to what it was a couple of years ago. At the minute I’m using a lot of guitar and I am mixing Indie stuff with a lot of Hip-Hop; I guess you can see that style with Bon Iver right?'
'The way things are at the moment, Hip-Hop is so big and the sound of music is so much more organic, as opposed to 2010 when it was far more electric sounding music. With Hip-Hop, people are sampling tracks with real instruments; it’s the old style of music being recreated in a contemporary method. Nowadays I would actually say I get more influenced by certain styles rather than just specific artists, although Juice Wrld was an artist who I admired and I loved his melodic beats.’
'Again it comes down to consistency; breaking as an artist is one of the hardest things, especially at the minute as there are so many people popping up everywhere, more so with the rap scene.'
Are you looking to put an album out or continue the producing side of things with singles?
‘Well at the minute I am looking to piece together an EP which is very exciting, and that’s going to be the first thing I am going to drop. Though I will put out some singles as teasers. I have got a few things ready to drop now, which I’m pretty stoked about. Again it comes down to consistency; breaking as an artist is one of the hardest things, especially at the minute as there are so many people popping up everywhere, more so with the rap scene. So hopefully I will be aiming to drop the EP this year and I am heading to LA in a couple of weeks.’
‘Easy life’, I joke, and he responds laughing,‘Haha I wish, it sounds it but it is a lot of hard work and this furthered because you are self employed and you have to go out and make the music, it won’t do it itself; as cliché as it sounds it is about how much work you put in.’
Where do you see your career going and what are the plans for the next few years?
‘I want keep doing music for sure, maybe get into something after but for the foreseeable future it is definitely music especially as I am about to start my artist career properly. I’ll see, maybe for the next 10 years I will have an artist career, and after that I would want go into production and producing for other people. I guess some artists can keep doing it, like David Guetta, but I can’t see myself being 40 and still jumping behind the decks and hyping up the crowd! Producing is definitely on the cards, but there is plenty to come and I have only just scratched the surface. With the EP being released soon, I’m hoping that that will really help my career to take off.’
You talked about remodelling your brand, what is that going to consist of?
‘It’s funny I was literally just talking to my manager about this last night! Basically we are going for a full rebrand. When I first started posting music it was 4 or 5 years ago and the scene was very different, it centralised around the tropical house genre. Now I couldn’t stand listening to a tropical house track now! It would give me anxiety’, he jokes.
‘It is time to remodel it all. In terms of rebranding I am looking to do a new logo, a new aesthetic for everything. In terms of merchandise and clothing, that is something I would really like to get into. I’ve got the logo, and if you have a real brand identity with the H on a hat or a hoodie, it would be pretty cool and help get my name get out there. Youtubers sell so much merch, and a lot of their income comes from that, so it is really important.’
Of the artists you’ve worked with, who have been the most helpful in advancing and progressing your career?
‘I’ve worked with a few different people over the years and they have all been really helpful. In terms of helping my career to take off, there a group of people whom early on in my career helped to boost my music. Adam Lambert helped promote my music, as he posted one of my remixes on social media, which was really useful and good publicity. A couple of years ago I did work on music for SIA and she tweeted about it which really helped the music get out there more, as she has a seriously big following.'
'A few DJ’s have given me tips, including Sam Feldt and The Him, and this was crucial in helping me understand the music trade. Now I want to help upcoming artists too, if people send Direct Messages asking to listen to a track I will always try and give them time of day. I have been in the position where I was trying to get my music out there and I think it is important to give people a chance. It’s funny because when I first posted the first track I did and sent to certain people, they ignored me but a move on a couple of years and they were asking to do projects with me! It’s good practice to be courteous.’
'In terms of dance music I think in the UK, House is still huge but in the US, Trap is now a one of the biggest genres especially with the rap influence from artists such as Travis Scott. It’s an interesting time for music right now and I like the way things are going.’
Are there any artists you want to work with in the future?
‘I really want to do an original track with Lennon Stella, I did a remix for her a while ago, and her music is really blowing up at the moment. She would be really cool to work with. I like to work with people that are up and coming. Also I would love to work with Trevor Daniel, his music is really popular at the minute. The one group that I would love to work with is definitely Bastille.
I think the dream would be to make music with Post Malone, as he is such a brilliant artist who manages to bring together so many different genres. Juice Wrld would have been another amazing artist to work with too and he will be missed amongst the music community. I am very to keen to collaborate with an artist that is on the Hip-Hop edge, with sung vocals rather than straight rapping.’
Where do see the music scene lying now? Is it LA, London or Amsterdam, now there is such a range of genres?
‘This is such an interesting question. In my opinion it’s probably the US. The way music is right now it’s pretty global; however there are specific sounds to certain places, like in the UK, you would associate grime with London and Manchester. Looking forward I want to develop my music to more a global sound. I think the music I make probably tailors more to the US anyway, which is EDM crossed with Hip Hop and other influences. In the US at the minute, if you go to a party you really only listen to either EDM or Rap/Hip Hop, but in the UK it’s a real mish-mash of songs and genres. In Europe though, there is a huge techno scene especially in Germany, and still a pretty big EDM following too.'
'Typically in the way that music has shifted, Hip-Hop is definitely the biggest genre now, and Singer/Songwriter stuff is coming back too. Ed Sheeran was instrumental in that shift, I think, regarding the Singer/Songwriter rejuvenation. We are definitely in a time now where everyone is crossing genres and I think that’s where you make the most unique stuff. In terms of dance music I think in the UK, House is still huge but in the US, Trap is now a one of the biggest genres especially with the rap influence from artists such as Travis Scott. It’s an interesting time for music right now and I like the way things are going.’
Hibell has got a big future ahead of him. For someone that had zero connections in the music industry, his career is a brilliant example of how hard work and dedication can lead to amazing opportunities. As his individual artist career is about to take off properly, make sure to keep an eye out for Hibell who is going to be taking the music world by storm in 2020 and beyond!
Link to his SoundCloud page, Instagram Page and Facebook are below: