Hyperpotamus is a one man band a cappella wunderkind from Spain, who with just four microphones, a loop station pedal and a litres of water is capable of creating beautiful multi-layered vocal compositions that will blow you away like nothing you've ever seen or heard before.
After being involved in a number of bands as a multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar, drums, vocals), he decided to ditch musical instruments altogether and go his own way. What he left behind were bloodsucking labels, abusive rehearsal space rent, impossible transportation of bass drums and cymbals in unwelcoming geography, and lumbago. Freed, he started rehearsing his vocal compositions in the undgerground metro stations of Madrid. Just 6 months later he was opening for bands in front of 1,400 people. In March 2009, he self-released his debut album "Largo Bailón", a sonic-artisan craft in which the only instrument he uses is his own voice.
Following this release, it's been non stop for this quirky human being. In just under a year, as well as touring California and playing festivals such as SXSW (Austin), The Big Chill (UK), CMJ (NY) or CMW (Toronto), Hyperpotamus has played on the banks of the Danube, under a staircase in Amsterdam, at a squathouse in Berlin, a macro-discotheque in Lisbon, a train station in London, a flower shop in Paris, a Soviet People's Palace in Bratislava, a saloon in Texas, a civic centre in Tijuana, under an organ pipe in Belfast, surrounded by skyscrapers in Los Angeles, at a retirement home in Bilbao, in a cave in Andalusia and in New York City's oldest bar...
And all this with hardly any promotional fanfare other than good old word to mouth.
Audiences' faces usually begin with disbelief, go through a sense of utter incomprehension and end with infantile glee. Starting from scratch, he makes his music through repetitive layers of live recorded vocals, till he completes what some knowledgeable people have described as "pocket vocal orchestrations". His muscled, volcanic music is free from the codes of cool and is therefore unashamed of mixing African-inspired arrangements with beatboxing, yoddling and classical counterpoint in, say, a 7 by 8 time signature. He clearly enjoys making music regardless of style, pose or trend, and this can be clearly seen in his astounding live shows (spastic dancing included).
You can see and hear him in action at:
I am a solo performer. I use four microphones, three of which go through a Boss RC-50 Loop Station. The other one goes straight to the sound tech's console. On occassions I can use only two mics if need be.
Largo Bailón LP. Available on www.myspace.com/hyperpotamus, iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.
Paste's Hour-by-Hour SXSW 2009 Music Recommandations
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Spain's answer to Rahzel is a one-man a cappella wunderkind who isn’t serving up your daddy’s doo-wo...Spain's answer to Rahzel is a one-man a cappella wunderkind who isn’t serving up your daddy’s doo-wop. Incomprehensible and disparate guttural noises find themselves strung together seeking unison, and oddly, while lacking harmony, still find it. Explore the chasm of cantankerous human sounds churned up from the depths of the vocal chords (near yodels, chicken sounds, kazoo) and discover that in combination, they’re pretty darn catchy.
Hyperpotamus, Apes and Adroids, Brother Reade
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On a recent trip to Madrid I was lucky enough to see this rising a cappella wonder perform live. Jor...On a recent trip to Madrid I was lucky enough to see this rising a cappella wonder perform live. Jorge Ramirez-Escudero, as he’s also known, loops his voice to create multi-layered tapestries of sound that blend African folk, pop, beat boxing, and yodeling with irrepressible humour. One would like to put this into a tight little package such as ‘The Jamie Lidell show in La Mancha’ or something, but his highly intelligent and masterful compositions (which belie his classical training) makes one lean more towards likening his work to Warp’s early output. Daring, brilliant and thoroughly independent, he’s the most interesting artist I’ve heard for a good few years.
Band Interview: Hyperpotamus
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Instead of renting a practice space or spending all of his time fine-tuning his sound in a garage, b...Instead of renting a practice space or spending all of his time fine-tuning his sound in a garage, basement or bedroom like most artists, Spanish musician Jorge Ramírez-Escudero, better known as Hyperpotamus, chose to take his rehearsal sessions to a place where thousands of people could hear him. Before he ever played a proper show as Hyperpotamus, unsuspecting passengers of Madrid's underground metro system witnessed the development of a musical project that would soon move up the ranks to formal music venues and internationally-acclaimed festivals.
Public transportation terminals around the world all have their share of percussionists, violinists, dancers, and singer-songwriters with guitars. However, one man utilizing nothing but his voice, a microphone, and a loop machine to create a type of layered acapella music that can easily be confused for the works of a group of vocalists, is sure to turn heads.
With a self-released full-length album and appearances at 2009's SxSW, Ramírez-Escudero is now more likely to be seen performing in more conventional settings. He has since upgraded to using four microphones, but says that his days in the underground metro played a big part in making connections and exposing his music to people who normally would have not had a chance to hear it.
After being in a variety of bands as a drummer and pianist since the age of 15, which included a shoegazer post-rock group called Abner, a collaboration with an electronic musician named Strand, and an electro-rock band called Kodama, Ramírez-Escudero decided to free himself from the constraints of shady record labels and heavy musical instruments. He started a project that would be simple to tour with and set up wherever his heart desired.
With a vocal styling that combines beat-boxing and soulful melodies with unexpected wails, Hyperpotamus overlaps and loops the sounds he creates solely with his mouth to create full songs, simply with the touch of a loop station's foot pedals.
When one undertakes a project as different as that of Hyperpotamus, it's difficult to predict crowd reactions. Ramírez-Escudero reveals that while some people would take pictures of him, others simply laughed at his expense.
"You had your typical acne-ridden thugs who didn't really know what to make of what I was doing and gave me ‘that look.' But you learn to not really pay attention," he says.
Others were so moved by the music that they would ask Ramírez-Escudero to sing "Happy Birthday," or they would decide to express their appreciation through breakdancing. Eventually people started offering Hyperpotamus gigs, but one of Ramírez-Escudero's favorite memories is that of a drunken Polish woman who insulted those passing by because they were not stopping to listen and pay respect.
"Anything can happen, but that's precisely the thrill," Ramírez-Escudero says. "You're exposed to such an extent that you become 100 percent vulnerable. It's a public space, and you have to deal with it."
After dealing with a dishonest record label, Ramírez-Escudero says, ge acquired the thick skin needed for performing in Spain's underground metro. In fact, Spain's tangled web that is its music industry is what prompted him to quit his band Kodama; the band released an album, but its label's founder pocketed the gig money that was supposed to be used for promotion. Ramírez-Escudero quit Kodama in 2006, while the rest of the band continued to work with the label. Days later, he could be found performing as Hyperpotamus.
Upon first listen, Hyperpotamus sounds similar to something out of an Animal Collective album. Sounds seem to bounce around a dreamy, vaulted atmosphere. However, unlike bands like Animal Collective, which are notable for their creative use of electronic sounds, Ramírez-Escudero uses vocal lines to fill in the spots where a piano melody or cymbal crash would usually be heard.
Describing a purely acapella musical project with no distorting guitars or bizarre electronic sample almost sounds archaic, but the twelve songs on Hyperpotamus' album Largo Bailón, which means A Long Dance, positively push the boundaries of experimentation.
With influences that include Michael Jackson, Fugazi, Belgium artist Jacques Brel, African and Cuban music, and Ukrainian choirs, the simplest way to describe Hyperpotamus is a jumble of vocal sounds. Although that is not to say that the music has no structure. The arrangements are complicated and timed precisely, requiring a very well-trained ear and strong sense of rhythm.
Ramírez-Escudero, who started playing piano when he was 5 years old, says that his songwriting process varies from song to song. Sometimes he will write something on guitar or piano and then convert it into vocal lines. Random street sounds are also forms of inspiration and may be translated into the songs in vocal form.
"Dinamo Dominó," the second track on Largo Bailón, actually creates the image of a bustling street in the downtown area of some hip city. The song begins with the soft repetition of the song title's two words, which sounds like the chattering of people in outdoor cafes. Other vocal layers are quickly introduced and start resembling the sounds of an upbeat man humming a sunny melody while walking down the sidewalk. About midway, the song slows down and dips to two layers with Ramírez-Escudero singing a few lyrics in Spanish. The song then expands back to its original multiple layers.
All the other tracks are just as interesting and engaging. Listeners could spend hours picking out the layers. Lyrics are not found on every song, but when they are present, they add a soft, sensual touch. "Sunshine Juice" is an example where lyrics in English dominate and are used to move the music along in a seductive way.
Ramírez-Escudero produced and recorded Largo Bailón in a friend's studio between April and December of 2008. He teamed up with childhood friend Julián Martin to mix the album and released it on February 28. It was completely self-financed and can only be purchased at shows and through PayPal on the Hyperpotamus' MySpace page. He is proud of his work and to have made the money to cover the album's expenses in just two months, without any label help.
"Being self-released, I have control over absolutely every tiny aspect of the album," Ramírez-Escudero says. "For better or for worse, it's my responsibility. I'd love to have someone else do the dirty work, but I reap all the benefits and I'm happy with that."
While he does not completely rule out the possibility of working with another record label in the future, he does not put any pressure on himself to strike a deal, he says. The whole point of Hyperpotamus is to have fun and not take everything so seriously.
In a live setting Ramírez-Escudero does a great job at showing how much he enjoys playing music. While he was in bands, he shared the spotlight with other people and it was easy for him to hide behind his drum kit. However, he looked very natural commanding center stage during his United States debut at this year's SxSW in Austin. One performance, which took place in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel, came close to showing what it would have been like to see Ramírez-Escudero perform in Madrid's underground metro. There were plenty of people gathered around the stage, but numerous passerbyers stopped in their tracks as soon as they heard the music and saw him moving from mic to mic, adding the vocal layers and controlling the loop station.
Even as he concentrated on monitoring the music through headphones, instead of monitors, he bounced around to the beats. His motions were part robotic and part gymnast as he stretched out his arms and swung his legs in the air.
"With Hyperpotamus it's just me. No props," he says. "So I better do something about it and quick. My shows have become more physical, nothing really thought-out or rehearsed. It's just what I'd do in the privacy of my home. No kidding."
While the songs are set compositions, Ramírez-Escudero says that he sometimes throws some vocal improvisation into the live mix if inspiration hits him. He also puts an incredible spin to beloved songs, such as, The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever."
Ramírez-Escudero says that SxSW was an amazing experience and he was able to make connections with various people in the music industry, including someone that booked him a show set for August in Los Angeles. Although he has already toured in Spain, Portugal, Holland, Germany and Morocco, he is excited to return to the United States. He is also set to perform at a major festival called Bratislava this summer in Slovakia.
"In Spain, there comes a moment where my music just can't move on," he says. "Basically because there's no space or audience for my music. It's as if you have to excuse yourself for dedicating your time to making ‘non-profitable' music. ‘Get a real job,' they'd say, while in the U.S. it's much more understood and respected."
Ramírez-Escudero's love for traveling will certainly help him spread his music on an international level. Having an international banker as a father and being born in Japan allowed him to travel the world at an early age, before settling with his mother and brother in Madrid.
"Needless to say, you learn a lot about people, different cultures, and you grow up to be more of an independent and adventurous type," he says. "I love spending fifteen hours in a plane after having stopped at a German airport for a flight connection, a sausage, and a beer... then picking up a rented car and hitting the road to God knows where."
Live review: Tanya Tagaq ices down the summer heat
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"...Opening act Hyperpotamus, a street musician from Spain, used just his voice, several mikes and a..."...Opening act Hyperpotamus, a street musician from Spain, used just his voice, several mikes and a couple of sample-looping units in a good-humored number of smoothly melodic and – with the aid of his mouth's bass 'n' drums simulation – pretty dang funky tunes, including a radically re-harmonized "Strawberry Fields Forever."
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Cary Caldwell- Here's Mr. C's Pick Three Wrap-Up for SXSW 2009: Hyperpotamus: Hyperpotamus just ...Cary Caldwell-
Here's Mr. C's Pick Three Wrap-Up for SXSW 2009:
Hyperpotamus: Hyperpotamus just totally blew me away - building songs with just his voice, four mics and a loop pedal filled the Hilton lobby with such a good vibe. Chamillionaire was there for the whole gig and was so enthusiastic about his performance afterwards. Hyperpotamus was at his first SXSW and walked away with so much more than he could have imagined. He was simply wonderful - truly a lovely human being.
Concert Reviews - I Ferrara Fest
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...there were three or four people at the door, no noise from below and a stingful silence made you ......there were three or four people at the door, no noise from below and a stingful silence made you think there would be no more than fifty people at the venue. To my surprise, as I came down the stairs, I could see the place packed to the brim with an attentive audience surrendered to complete silence; a necessary silence to attend an episode of "When Man discovered Loop", which is what the genius Hyperpotamus offered us live: brilliant, shameless vocal compositions going from Motown through to pseudo gospel, with a touch of danceable nonsense and a thousand beatbox resources. This artist showed us he only needs himself to create original atmospheres. Hyperpotamus takes the concepts "chorus", "applause" and "whispers" to a new creative level of very high standards. A memorable moment was when he put on a pair of red Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses and ask the audience's participation. Nothing diminished his strength on stage, not even the ocassional Loopstation mishap or the lack of attention of a small, talkative portion of the audience who wouldn't shut up (which his a huge lack of respect having mind the type of show described). And so, with a warm feeling inside and half the venue dancing, the punk son of the Golden Apple Quartet [a very popular barbershop quartet in Spain] gave way to the second band of the night...
By Jorge Vileills
Concert reviews - Vetusta Morla + Hyperpotamus
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The venues and the stages get bigger, but Hyperpotamus does not have trouble with filling them up. B...The venues and the stages get bigger, but Hyperpotamus does not have trouble with filling them up. Both with his army of sound, which carresses the audience, and his hyperactive dancing, during which he seems to throw his limbs to one side of the stage so his body can pick them up before they touch the floor. All this combined with fluid body movements à la Timberlake and faces taken from the "Who's Who?" board game. It seemed it was going to be a huge challenge this time to connect with the audience, because 99% of them were here to see Vetusta Morla. But the artist otherwise known as Jorge has an ever-increasing amount of resources, due to his most "sing-along" songs and his ability to involve the audience in a sort of vocal tennis.
Three standing ovations were given to Hyperpotamus this time (remember Joy Eslava was packed to the brim with 1400 souls) for what is now locally being known as "Wacka Wacka".
By James D. Luke
Top 20 Spanish Unsigned Bands - No. 5: Hyperpotamus
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We asked our writers to send a list of twenty unsigned bands that they think will be the "new thing"...We asked our writers to send a list of twenty unsigned bands that they think will be the "new thing" of Spanish music in the following years. Among all of them, we came up with a list of 250 bands. Although it has been hard, we're pretty much satisfied with the results: a selection of marvelous musicians with huge talent, thinking minds which have come to us thinking "sky's the limit" and, especially, with a different way of thinking out their way...
No. 5 - Hyperpotamus, "Welcome Mr. Loop"
ARTO: How did it all start?
HYPERPOTAMUS: It all goes back to a very heavy hangover. I was working as a band host at the 2006 Creamfields Andalucia Festival, which consisted of about 20 non-stop hours nursing a group of self-loving DJs from Barcelona who thought themselves to be God, surrounded by too much sun, dust and drugged up people covering me up with their adultered saliva. I also had very recent African jellyfish bites all over.
After a never-ending trip home (driven by a guy who had been in jail) and wishing to sleep, I reached my sweet home battered and bruised. Because I couldn't get to sleep (ironically), the only thing that occurred to me to do was to record myself singing. And the ending result was, to my surprise, the best I had ever done till then; the prototype of what I'm busy with now. Maybe exposing yourself to such a limit takes to a more creative place, I don't know.
Subconsciously there was more to it: I wished to be fully independent "musically" speaking, I was challenging myself, I was saturated with all the industry mumbo-jumbo, and most of all, I just wanted to have fun, something I had stopped having with music. I wished not to think about the final product or aiming to follow anyone's footsteps. I think that's the best formula to make worthy music.
A: Do you know how to play any instruments?
HP: Yeah, a few: piano, drums, guitar, bass, harmonium and highly deficient notions of trumpet.
A: How would you define your music?
HP: Shameless vocal music.
A: Having your music in mind, what do you expect of the future? I suppose you understand that unfortunately most people won't get it in this country [Spain]?
HP: I absolutely agree. There aren't enough circuits in this country for the music I make. There's something of a glass ceiling that, due to internal fights among the Cervantes Institute, the circumstances of the Spanish music industry and such low institutional interest in promoting risky projects, blocks me from reaching more people. I'll have to look elsewhere.
A: Is there a debut album coming up?
HP: It is coming up, but I don't want to put a date on that, which only makes things go slower. I'm recording in my own time.
A: Do you feel part of a "Madrid scene"?
HP: It's not a question that keeps me awake at night, but, being a musician in Madrid, the answer should be yes. I get called to play gigs and festivals organized by generous people of Madrid and I've played with people from Madrid above all. Still, I don't have my "Madrid scene" license...I'm not friends with Carlos Subterfuge [crappy Spanish label owner who for some reason is famous] and I don't get to see gigs for free "'cause I rock"...
A: What would you change about Madird? What would you like to foster?
HP: Pfff, you choose:
I'd turn La Riviera [largest rock concert auditorium in Madrid, which sounds like shit] into a cycle track, which is what it seems to be made for. I'd put an end to this lousy curfew on bars, which is destroying what's best in Madrid. I'd upholster the city centre. I'd control flat prices, which is fucking up many people. I'd promote "open mic" sessions, there should be more. I'd organize festivals and gigs in unusual places: empty swimming pool, tennis courts, kitchens...
By Manuel Astur
Concert reviews - ARTO! Opening Party (Hyperpotamus + Templeton + Nudozurdo)
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...Hyperpotamus showed us he has enough savoir faire to face the crowd on his own. Highly concentrat......Hyperpotamus showed us he has enough savoir faire to face the crowd on his own. Highly concentrated, though always showing his cheerful side, Jorge marvelled us yet again with his curious vocal creations and, as always, those who had never seen him before could not keep their mouths shut and kept on putting their hands to their face while repeating "this guy is fucking awesome". And with Templeton's and Nudozurdo's permission, I must reproduce a phrase I heard from a friend of mine: "dude, I'm leaving cause from now on the night cannot get any better after this". Without making a fuss out of it, Hyperpotamus has given a new twist to experimental music, and the best part is that it's hugely likeable. If you haven't noticed by now, we love it: impeccable, unstoppable, unbelievable...
By Sergio Albert
Hyperpotamus. A Different Story (Complete) Staf Magazine Interview
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STAF MAGAZINE: What is a Hyperpotamus, other than a funny name? HYPERPOTAMUS: Hyperpotamus is a s...STAF MAGAZINE: What is a Hyperpotamus, other than a funny name?
HYPERPOTAMUS: Hyperpotamus is a solo musical project I've been involved with since August 2006. In a nutshell, what I do is a'capella music. I make vocal music. I consciously limit myself, hoping that this self-imposed limitation allows me to squeeze more creativity into my work. It's like a small "I dare you" I tell myself: I wonder if I'll be able to make something interesting with just my voice. I manage to make it happen live with a sampler (Boss RC-50 Loop Station pedal) that records and reproduces what I sing in real time, creating small, elastic vocal orchestrations. Hyperpotamus comes as a result of being bored with playing in bands that take themselves too seriously, tired of having to reach an agreement as to what and how to play, of sharing very expensive rehearsal rooms, of blood-sucking labels, of trampled upon hopes and of overcoming a certain ingenouity that comes with playing when you're really young. Hyperpotamus is also me turning my back on the music I had been doing till now, nearly always melancholic frame, which is fine, I love that kind of music; but it was time to change and move on. With Hyperpotamus, I laugh at myself. I have no other pretensions than to have fun making music as I would do it as a kid. Just following my intuition. I think it's the only way to make honest music that is worth listening to. There's always a small ambition to do something other than record myself in the comfort of my room, but I think that every musician,
regardless of what he does, has to have in mind that it is he who must first enjoy first the music one does.
S: Now seriously, where does the name come from?
H: To tell you the truth, I don't recall a precise moment of inspiration...Sorry, I think I owe the name to a good friend of mine, who one night was playing with words and came up with Hyperpotamus (I don't know why), and said it would be a good name for a musician. I don't remember if it was she or me who came up with it. When the time came to give myself a name, I remembered that name. On the other hand, it's a name that fits perfectly with the idea of not taking myself too seriously and having a laugh at what I do, not taking myself too seriously. It's got a comical twist to it that suits my music.
S: Whatever the name means, your musical proposal hidden behind it is a pretty impressive evolution of the possibilities of the human voice.So much so, that it seems impossible you started to make music with Hyperpotamus. So tell us, how did you start in the world of music?
I started "in the world of music" when I was five, when my parents took me to piano lessons. Later, and at a self-taught level I got into drums, and then I picked up my mother's guitar and little by little, I've been learning how to play instruments I've been founding on the the way. My latest "aqcuisition" is an accordeon owned by one of my grandfathers, whom I never met. Nobody in my family wanted it, so naturally, I got to be the lucky owner. I'm going to have to learn it for sure. I played in my first band when I was 15, KLH (later Nino Rabo), and from then on I've been in a number of diverse bands, each one with its own style. As to vocals, I've been singing and "beatboxing" since I was a toddler (much to my family's chagrin). My family laughs at the idea of people wanting to see me do what I do, when they've seen me going at it forever.
S: Do you have any formal musical education or are you self-taught? Seeing you live, I thought you have a considerable knowledge of vocal harmonies.
H: I think I already answered that. Formal musical education for piano, self-taught for the rest. My piano education helps a lot when playing a new instrument or singing. It's like learning a foreign language. When you've learnt one, the rest seem easier. Just like a muscle. I've been playing since I was 5 so I do have some experience. The "knowledge of vocal harmonies", as you say, comes with playing and listening to music since I was a child. I've never studied harmony as such. It's become part of my intuition, which I think is a luxury. I have to thank my parents for that, who had enough sensitivity to see how much I liked music and decided to give me music lessons at an early age.
S: Speaking of your live shows, to what extent do you improvise? Being a solo act allows you a lot of freedom.
H: What I do live is quite rehearsed, and as such, there are basic elements that have to sound. But I improvise in all the songs I play live. Always. I'd rather leave some things open to whatever I might come up with on stage because sometimes I can surprise myself with interesting lines or melodies which I keep for later shows and then decide on making them a permanent hook in a song. This way, the good stuff stays while the boring stuff leaves. It's more spontaneous, it's not that hard to spot. And it's good that's it's spontaneous. It's riskier, it thrills me to not really know what'll come up on stage. I've got that hot sensation of urgency that can take me anywhere. Sometimes it can be a real disaster, but when it's really clicking, it's the closest feeling to an orgasm. I love letting go. All in all, I improvise because it's a lot more fun.
S: To what extent are you interested in beatboxing and the -let's say- vocal excentricities? Because your musical act -as opposed to other solo vocal projects- not only relies on your skill and virtuosity but also on composition and musical structure.
H: Skill and virtuosity are fine, but when not well organized, they can be a real pain in the ass. Virtuosity in the short run is OK, but in the end can be very tiresome. I don't think it should be the leading force of a musical project. I think it's way more worthwhile to have a good song rather than showing off your bedroom excercises. I find composition and structure way more interesting and challenging. I'm more concerned with the song than, say, "Speed of Scale Delivery 101". What I want to do is good memorable songs. A good song will be work regardless of its instrumentation. Right now I'm interested in vocal music. But for a song to be worth craving or you should be able to play it on guitar, piano or string quartet. Actually, I've been adapting pieces I wrote for piano or guitar for Hyperpotamus, and the results are interesting.
S: You're currently recording and self-publishing your first album. Are you self-producing it because you want it to be that way or because there is no other way?
H: For both reasons, really. I just had a very nasty experience with the label we were in with my old band, and I learned a lot from that. I don't know if they're all like that, but as to MY experience, it hasn't been good, and for the time being, I don't want to repeat the same mistakes. Plus, if my experience with labels in Spain has helped in anyway, is to realise that they're middlemen that are not only unneccessary, but clumsy. It's a trap. Yeah, sure they finance your recording, which is sold in shops for a limited amount of time, but for what I do, I don't really need huge a investment in equipment (nor do I have an urge to see my album in a shop). And judging from my experience, I'm getting more promo than what I'd get with a label thanks to word to mouth, to playing in tube stations and MySpace. If there's something Hyperpotamus is about, it's DIY. For the time being, things haven't gone too bad, and I hope they'll be that way. Everything comes out of my own craft, and I enjoy that.
S: How advanced is the recording?
H: Well, I try to make use of my free time, which isn't much. In this sense, I've got a serious limitation. But rather than sit and complain, I'd rather make use of that limitation to my advantage. For example, having to make quick decisions, without pondering on every detail forever. I'm curious as to how it'll end up...The songs have been composed about a year and a half ago and pressing them on CD requires time, method and concentration. Especially when the guy singing is also recording, arranging, mixing and producing. Right now I'm in the midst of recording vocals in different places with my own and friends' equipment. No hurries, that's for sure. The album will be out as soon as I have enough quality songs, which is still to be acheived. Later, I'll mix the songs with Julian San Martin, good friend, good mixer and superb bass player in Oneplusone. The idea is to give the album out to friends and sell it after gigs at a reasonable price.
S: The songs are generally quite short. In what way will this show in the album? I mean, will it be an album with loads of songs or simply a short album? Or are you working on longer compositions?
H: You got me there. That's something I'm still debating on at the moment.I think it'll be a mix of long and short songs. There are a few songs that'll remain as they are, not more than 50 seconds, because they don't need more. Others will have to change.
S: What you have less of is lyrics. Are you not that interested in them?
H: I am actually, more and more. For the time being I've dedicated myself to exploiting the possibilities with my voice and the loop station. Trying to see to what extent I can take myself with my voice. I'm reaching a point where I can say "OK, this is all I can do" and I'm limiting my tools leaving only the essential. And yes, lyrics are something to come up in the next round of songs. It's a whole new side to my music which I hope will make it more interesting. Actually, I'm currently concentrated on doing covers of my favourite songs, simply as a way of training myself, and I've come to realise how important it is to be concise.
S: Your debut album, as well as self-produced, will it also be self-edited?
H: Yes of course. It all comes out of my own pocket and and my own sweat.
S: Any names for your album or is it too early for that?
H: I've got a few in mind, but it's way too early.
S: And, last of all, are you worried your compositions might not work on CD as well as live?
H: No. I'm actually more worried about my live shows being boring. The beauty of what I do is that what is heard on CD is very different to what can be heard live (for obvious reasons). I feel way more confident in the studio than on stage, where the you can really feel the audience and you're completely exposed, for good and for bad.
Bu Curro Oñate
Depending on the type of gig, my set can go from 40 minutes to an 1h 30 min depending on if I'm opening for a band or headlining. As my songs are developed live from scratch, they usually last between 3 to 7 minutes, depending on length and amount of improvisation, which is a must in my shows. Some of the covers I do are "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Foxy Lady", "Sweet Dreams" or jazz standards such as "Afro Blue" (Mongo Santamaría).
There are no upcoming dates at this time.