ASBO Meets: Hendrix Harris

Hendrix Harris

Singer-Songwriter and rapper Hendrix Harris has made himself known over the past few years as a talented and versatile artist within the Hip-Hop and R&B worlds. From a mixed background of French, English and Jamaican. Hendrix arrived on the scene as a uniquely multi-talented artist whose broad influences, which range from R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop and Trap have led him to create a sonic which has multiple layers and isn’t confined to one sound. Following recent singles ‘Jeez’ and ‘Locked’ which arrived this year, Hendrix has now released his latest EP entitled ‘Horus’ a five-track offering that perfectly represents Hendrix’s Hip-Hop laced R&B sound. ASBO met with Hendrix to discuss his recent EP, musical journey and future plans.

How would you describe your music for people who haven’t heard it before?

Yeah well, it depends on the project, but I’d say my sound is a mix of Soul and Rap. I’m influenced by a wide range of genres, my music can go downtempo in a James Blake style to alternative R&B and even Trap music, it’s a big blend of sounds.

What are some of your first memories relating to finding an interest in listening to and making music?

I think it started when I moved to Cuba, I lived there when I was around four years old. My Dad worked for a rum company, there were always lots of people in our house and events with lots of musicians around. Seeing how they brought joy to people and the effect they had on a crowd really inspired me. My first moment personally loving music was probably discovering Bob Dylan with my father then discovering Biggie Smalls afterwards, they both had a huge influence on me.

Your track ‘Locked’ is a captivating fusion of R&B and Hip Hop. What can you tell us about the process of making this track and the story behind it?

‘Locked’ came about because I had just recently broken up with my girlfriend of two years. We were living together and it became quite an intense relationship. One day she left the flat we shared and that was the end of the relationship. Once the relationship ended I wanted to write a song to help me through it… It ended becoming this lamentation thing, I was begging for forgiveness on the track because I fucked up. The track is full of a mix of emotions due to the things going on in my life at the time. The track was pieced together through my emotions, then It took about three days to complete.

My whole thing is I don’t want to tell someone else’s story, I’m going to tell mine.

What inspires you as an artist? Both musically and non musically?

I’m a storyteller, I’m an emotion conveyor, I think that’s my role. I write music because I love it, but it’s also a need for me. It’s therapeutic, whatever I feel I like to express in a song.  I would say this is one of the main things that inspires me. Musically I’m inspired by so much, I draw influences from loads of places. I’m very influenced by the 90’s New York Hip Hop scene, growing up Big L was my favorite rapper ever. I also am inspired by a lot of D’Angelo, Bob Marley, Otis Redding, people like that.  I was big into old school soul music, I also listen to a lot of music in Spanish, a lot of Cuban music as well.

Lyrically, your music is extremely emotive, when writing these type of lyrics where do you draw the ideas from? Is it from personal experience or more abstract?

I don’t really draw from the abstract, I used to when I was younger, but then I understood that nothing could be said more strongly than when it’s coming straight from your heart. What’s better than writing about something you are going through or lived through. A lot of things people go through can also be universal, even though something might be personal when I write it, it can speak to way more people than just me.

On tracks like ‘Aftermath’ you go for a more rap heavy style with less of  the R&B vibe, how different is your creative process for something like aftermath? And which sound do you find easier to create?

Aftermath to me is in the realm of songs that aren’t just a trap banger as it’s still quite conscious lyrically, It’s me talking about the struggle that I have between the two sides of my personality. It’s still a very heartfelt song, but just in a different way. There’s anger in it, so the process is still similar, there’s just more anger in it.

Your most recent releases ‘Locked’ and ‘Brother’ both have extremely strong visuals, how important are having good visuals to you? Do you have much input in the creation of your videos?

It’s very important to me to have some input, at first, I wanted to be hands-on and do everything to do with directing the videos, but I had to understand that I’m already doing so much because I produce my music along with a friend so I already do so much myself. I’m always going to always have some sort of input, I’m never going to be like ordering the director around, I want to leave space for the creative mind to flourish. I like it when someone more specialised in the film realm hits me with some ideas and we can bounce off each other.

I like my videos to represent the themes from the song, it’s really interesting working with who is directing the video because you end up having really interesting conversations about the song’s themes from someone who was outside of the process of creating the song.

So, you recently released your EP ‘Horus’, what can you tell us about the creation of the EP?  How has it been creating the project?

So, the EP came together as a collection of different singles. It was not made as a conceptual project like my next album will be. We just gathered the big songs we had made, some are like two years old and realized they sit well together as a piece of art. We put it together trying to find a balance between the very hard-hitting sound that I have and at the same time, the mellow, melancholic songs.

What has been the most challenging thing about being an artist in today’s climate, and what has been the most rewarding?

I’d say the most challenging thing is believing in yourself, managing your self-doubt and fears and using that to drive you and not letting it get to you. The challenge especially when you’re a full-time artist like me is to keep at it every day. The most rewarding thing to me, is listening to the song once I’m done, going into the street, putting my headphones on in and putting the song on and going to take a walk. Listening to your final version of the song and it coming out how you wanted is really rewarding for me.

If you could give any piece of advice to an up and coming musician what would you say?

Honestly, just follow your instincts, follow your gut, if it feels right it probably is. Remember your music is for other people to listen to but it’s also for you because to me, a true artist is someone who does their art by need, not just because they want to blow up.

What is your biggest goal for your music career?

That’s a good question, I have a few goals. I want to be able to look back in a couple of decades and see my legacy, to look back like, wow that’s what I did and be proud of it, I would love that, especially if the music touches people everywhere.

What have you got planned for the rest of the year and the start of 2022? 

Yeah, we’ve got lots planned. We’re looking to do a show in London soon, we don’t have a specific date yet, but it will be announced very soon before the end of the year. That would be my first headline show in London so I’m looking forward to that. I also have my EP entitled ‘Horus’ on the way, I’m looking forward to having that out and people giving feedback on how they are feeling about the project.  I’m also excited to finish my album too.

Words: David Pratt

Image: Lauren Luxenberg