Skype Location: At home, Brussels
Last record you've listened to: Ella & Louis - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
"I used to know all Spice Girls lyrics by heart"
As part of Sonic Soirée at De Brakke Grond, Belgian duo Hydrogen Sea will play a show along with two other bands: Yuko and I am Oak. Multi-instrumentalist PJ Seaux and singer Birsen Uçar talk about atmospheric inspirations and living in Brussels.
Birsen: I get my inspiration for my lyrics from the cosmos, the stars and nature.
The atmosphere and the feel of it comes to live in our music. Imagine a warm summer evening, clear skies and a visible milky way while listening to our single “Wear Out”.
Pj: I feel like my inspiration for the music just comes with living our everyday lives together. It mostly happens unawarely.
Pj: Brussels has its own character just like every other city. When you live within that character, you seem to copy that mentality and that's how it becomes part of your music as well. It's a city that is quite headstrong, or stubborn so to speak. There isn't really any close music scene around (like Gent or Leuven) because of it's fragmentation. Brussels seems to hide its treasures really well, but they are absolutely around. I know that for a fact. You can be anonymous, which is different from smaller cities, where everybody knows each other. We feel comfortable here, its an easy going place. Nobody really understands Brussels, we don't either. It's mostly special and beautiful, that's what actually matters.
Pj: We're always trying to create a balance in our music, combining electronic sounds and real instruments. It's a challenge for us, since an overload of electronics can make it sound rather cold. Using only instruments would make us sound too acoustic. With that in mind, we start our writing process. However you do need those real instruments to compensate for the warm elements in your music, as well as Birsen's ethereal voice.
Birsen: I have always find lyrics important in my music, I'd like to tell a story with my writings. During my language & literature studies I used to read a lot and wanted to process that knowledge in my writing. All the music I have ever listened to, I could sing them from the top of my head and knew all the lyrics by heart. I used to enjoy reading the lyrics along in the booklets that belonged with cd's. Unfortunately that's missing out nowadays. Back in the days I used to own those Spice Girls lyrics, if you know what I mean. An example of a more contemporary artist would be the Icelandic singer Emiliana Torrini. I love her live perfomances, she was the main reason why I started to make music.
Pj: We released our EP Court in the Dark last year at Unday Label from Gent, Belgium. It's a very cool label which also releases records of the artist Trixie Whitley. They are the biggest name on the label so far. We've got some shows lined up early this year, starting off with Sonic Soirée. We're writing new tracks and planning on releasing another record this year. There isn't really any pressure, we just take our time.
Pj: We're excited to see Yuko and I Am Oak play at Sonic Soirée, De Brakke Grond is a cool venue. We've seen a friend play there once. When people come to see our shows we would like to take them on a journey. For them to forgot everything in the moment. Perhaps a little trip to the Cosmos, and back.
Showtime: Hydrogen Sea at Sonic Soirée, De Brakke Grond Amsterdam, January 8th.