ASBO Meets: Humble The Great

Humble The Great is one of those artists whose music proudly boasts the years taken to finesse its multi-layered sound without him having to say a word. Expertly selected sound palettes, timeless grooves, and many genre influences inform Humbles sound, delivering a musicality well beyond his twenty-one years. Producing, writing, engineering and creative directing everything he releases, Humble is undoubtedly a rising talent, continually capturing the attention of global audiences.

Today marks the release of his latest single entitled ‘DON’T MAKE ME GO HOME NOW’, an R&B gem that acts as a cheeky ode to the stupid and petty arguments everybody has in their lives. The track follows the smoothly sultry ‘Never Enough’ and ‘2AM’ and is another gorgeous offering full of funky baselines, airy, lo-fi percussion and ardent lyricism, perfectly showcasing Humbles ability to produce impressive soundscapes. Accompanying the track is a playful set of co-directed visuals, helping to define Humbles ever-changing sound further. An exciting rising talent, we spoke with Humble all about his latest single, creative process and what's next.

Firstly, could you tell us a bit about yourself as an artist, where you started, and how you describe your sound’s identity?

I started producing and making music properly in 2018 after leaving acting school, but I have been playing the drums, bass, guitar, keys and singing relentlessly (sorry mum) since I was 12/13. When it comes to my sound, I’ve always tried to make something fresh, whether through experimenting with my or other peoples vocals in the studio (aka my living room) or by using dripping textures and cosmic sounds. The most important thing for me in any track is to maintain that strong groove throughout.  

Could you tell us a bit about the process of creating your latest single, ‘DON’T MAKE ME GO HOME NOW’. What’s the story behind the track?

I made this track at 3 am under my duvet in Camden. I was trying to keep the noise down so as not to wake my flatmate, so I quickly put the beat together in my headphones and sang real soft and quietly while putting down the chorus. The noise of my laptop fan was really loud while recording, so I experimented with a really dry and short reverb effect to make it sound more natural - I ended up really liking it. The song doesn’t directly reflect a true experience of mine. It’s more of a cheeky ode to the stupid and petty arguments everybody has in their lives. I then reached out to Master Soul Boy and Kate Stewart, who sprinkled some much-needed backing vocals and hit Dayna Fisher for the funky bassline throughout.  

Who or what would you say has had the biggest influences on your sound so far?

When I was growing up, I was a massive Gorillaz fan. I always loved their use of varying yet cohesive sounds in their early days, which led them to have such creative freedom, experimenting with different genres and instrumentation in their current projects. But more recently, Anderson Paak, Knxwledge and Kendrick Lamar. I don’t necessarily try to replicate their sounds. It’s more that whenever I listen to them, I feel inspired to create.

How do you find the balance of being both producer and artist? Do you have a preference, and if so, why?  

I love it! I would hate to have to wait around for a producer to mix my vocals or send me updates, being able to do it myself means I can create whenever I feel inspired and gives me a chance to work and explore artists in other genres. On the flip side, it’s a lot of hard work, and another person’s input from a production standpoint is always appreciated. Collaborating with other producers is definitely something I would love to do more of.  

What kind of emotions and experiences influence your work, and what music makes you feel passionate?

I would say any emotion or experience can affect or influence my work. I don’t always tend to write explicitly or directly about any one experience, but I’ll take inspiration from certain aspects. I think that’s what most people do at least. I would hate to give somebody who hurt me the satisfaction of writing an obvious song about them! Sometimes just hearing another song can trigger me to start something, or the weather or my friends saying something to me. I love how music can make you want to lie face down in the shower and cry or make you want to run a marathon. It’s an awesome feeling to have someone connect with something you have created.

Describe your typical workday in the studio. What does your creative process entail? How do you go about choosing collaborators, Which DAW do you use, etc.?

My typical workday usually starts with me waking up in a terrible mood, then procrastinating for a few hours until midday - then suddenly feeling really inspired and working until 4 am. All jokes aside, when I’m alone, I don’t really have a set process. It comes in waves of inspiration throughout the day, amidst trying to achieve tasks like mixing or mastering for other artists. When it comes to working with artists in sessions, I always try to keep it feeling as little like an appointment as possible. I like to grab food and chill, talk about our inspirations or how we’re feeling today, then open up Logic and start to make something. I always try to implement my sound into the production whilst keeping it totally collaborative too, until eventually asking if I can put a talkbox solo in the track (no one has said yes yet). I don’t have any criteria for artists I work with. I like to gauge if somebody is nice, aligned with my taste and vision and most importantly, serious about creating whilst trusting the process.

Who or what in your playlist is on repeat at the moment? Could you give us some current favourites?

Right now, Sad Night Dynamite are probably my favourite artists. Everything they create is just sick. I love their production and visuals too, what they’re doing is super inspiring and fresh. Also, I’m really into Deaton Chris Anthony at the moment. His production is really unique, and he’s really unapologetic and unique in his process. I would definitely love to work with him in the future. Also, quick shout out to Master Soul Boy too, I’ve been a fan of his for a while, and getting him on this single on the backing vocals is so cool for me! His music is so crisp - it just makes you feel good.

Do you have any plans for a full-length project anytime soon? What’s next for Humble The Great?

Maybe… Maybe not…. Keep doing what I’m doing! Getting stuff out into the world, showing what I’ve been working on as much as possible, all whilst meeting new artists and opening new doors for collaborations. Also, I want to go to LA and learn to make rugs. Can someone teach me?

Photo: @luceroglow
Photo: @luceroglow

Words: Connor Aiden Fogarty @boypolar