Feature interview with Hessian
I first came across Hessian’s TOLD YOU-on Soundcloud. I find most of the tracks I’ve listened to of his are transcendental and epic (it wouldn’t fit out of place as a backdrop to a movie.
Hessian is Bristol based electronic music producer. His music is an infusion of enigmatic textual soundscapes. Some of his music has been likened to Bonobo ( ninja tunes records) & Maribou State.
Who is Hessian?
Matthew de Souza (aka Hessian)
What (if anything inspired) ‘Told you?’
I like to build a solid soundscape before I start arranging anything and this is exactly what I did for ‘Told You’. Once I had got the sounds I was looking for I then started to arrange. A lot of the inspiration came from the vocals I had previously recorded. I love messing around with vocals as they can provide textures that no instruments can.
Where are you from originally?
Born in Twickenham, London.
How old are you?
Why do you live in Bristol?
The music scene in Bristol is amazing and everyone is so welcoming where ever you go. I live on one of the most vibrant roads in Bristol, there is always something exciting happening.
Yeah, The Bristol sound has been quoted as “possessing darkness that is uplifting, a joyful melancholy”
Random fact: Trip-hop band, Massive attack member/graffiti artist – Robert Del Naja hails from Bristol.
Why do you continue to do music?
I have always been a very creative person and music seems to be the perfect outlet for my creativity.
Music helps me express myself.
If for some reason I end up not composing/producing anything for over a week, I can definitely feel the difference in myself not being able to release that creative side of me. I am also very interested in finding new and unique ways of making sounds. I don’t think I will ever stop making at least some form of music.
Have you had another career that wasn’t in the music industry?
No not really, I have always had other small jobs to support my music but never another career.
When/What made you start playing music?
I went to a music specialist school and so from that point I had always been interested in it.
14. How did you get started in the music industry?
After learning the basics of music at school and then music technology at collage, I then went on to complete my degree in Creative Music and Sound Design. From here I learnt about the industry and gained connections enabling me to start my career.
What kind of people connect with you and your music?
Looking at the statistics on Spotify/instagram and other social media platforms. The majority of my listeners range between 25 and 40 year of age. I think this is because the sound I try to portray is slightly more complex/intricate than your standard house music.
What genres of music do you like/would like to perform in?
I love to DJ the entire spectrum of electronic music. Taking people on a journey I personally think is very important when performing live.
Do you write your own music?
Everything I write is my own work.
What other roles do you play in the industry?
I make a lot of sample packs and background music mainly to help pay the bills but the more connections I can make, the better.
What are you trying to do in the industry?
I have started my own label which I hope in the future will be the hub for all my releases, maybe even some other artists. I don’t like the thought of contracts which essentially gives away the ownership of my work. I want 100% of what I have made and starting my own label is the best way to do so.
What are your view on mental health issues and the music industry?
I think mental health plays a huge part in every industry but especially the creative industries. The expectation to perform and provide for audiences/fans is becoming more and more demanding and there doesn’t seem to be any more help. Fortunately I have been lucky enough not to experience any mental health issues myself but I know a lot of people that have and it makes a huge difference on that person even when doing the smallest of things. It is different for every person but I think in general it isn’t addressed enough and more should be done about the issue.
Indeed. It seems you have used music as a positive creative outlet.
MUSIC MINDS MATTER is a charity for UK musicians /artists mental well being & is worth checking out.
What is your favourite quote?
I don’t actually have a favourite quote. I feel when having a favourite ‘something’, you tend to favour that way of thinking and so I like to leave my mind open and just see what happens
Yeah… I liken it to a “mini” prayer or mantra & I can see why you take such a strong stance on not having a favourite quote.
What quote/sentence would you say best describes you and your music?
I always struggle to describe my music. I would probably put my music under ‘textural/ambient deep house’. Something like that. Most of the time I just end up showing them and letting them decide.
What are your 3 favourite songs ?
Fwoooah, tricky one. It changes almost ever week as I’m always finding something new that I like. But at the moment I would have to say:
Apollo by Tourist
Sonnen allee by Ben Bohmer& Hifi Brother (and finally I recently went to see Deadmau5 which brought a lot of love back for him so I’m going to say)
4ware by Deadmau5.
What is your perspective on the current state of the industry?
I personally think that the music industry is one of the most dynamic and adaptive industries out there and if you can stay on top of things and keep with the times then everything will work out fine.
What do you think will help the industry survive/what do you think the industry needs in order to stop its decline?
The only thing I think the industry needs is time to adapt. There is always new companies and start ups pushing new ideas and the full transition form analogue to digital will be a long process. I have no doubt that the industry will survive. The decline will stop once everything else adapts.
Finally, what are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a new 4 track EP which features a selection of singers. It’s a lot more clubby but still represents my sound and style through the vocals chopping and textural elements.