After rousing fans both old and new with their comeback last year, London-based multi-hyphenate duo The Hics return with their eagerly anticipated new EP HARMINE, on EMPIRE. HARMINE is The Hics’ first release since they took an extended hiatus and a long awaited follow-up to their 2013 debut EP TANGLE.
After years away from music, The Hics have reclaimed their art and have found their voice; crafting a cohesive, timeless piece of work with HARMINE, which kicks off the beginning of their new chapter. The duo also just dropped their brand new video for ‘TELL ME’, the second track on the EP.
Tell us a bit about your story: who are you and what has your journey looked like so far? We’re The Hics, a Duo from London. Originally Formed in 2012 with producer Jacob Oak Welsh, having first met each other on the music course at Pimlico School. We first released music in 2013 with our EP ‘Tangle’. One of the singles from the ‘Tangle EP’ ‘Cold Air’ was featured on GTA V’s ‘WorldWide FM’ courtesy of Giles Peterson. In 2014 Dreamville’s Bas discovered our music through playing GTA V and by our now good friend ‘SoundWavve’. He got in contact with us on online then later flew out to the UK where we worked together to co-write 2 songs 'Ricochet’ and ‘Matches’.
Those songs were later included in his album ‘Too High To Riot. We then toured the US/Canada with Bas and Fiends/Dreamville family during 2016. This experience solidified our relationship with Bas and his collective ‘THE FIENDS’ who now manage us. After that, we went into a hiatus which we were hoping to come out of in 2020 but you know what happens next... Now, we’ve just released our new EP ‘H A R M I N E’ through the FIENDS and EMPIRE Music!
Who inspires you musically and creatively? When we first started creating in 2012, it was was a very exciting time for Indie Electronic music. We would listen to a lot of Little Dragon, Bonobo, Flying Lotus and Radiohead. Our old school selects would be the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, Bill Evans, Lauren Hill, Outkast.
Creatively, David Bowie was hugely inspirational. He had this ability to see Albums in 3D. Thinking Visually and musically whilst being able embody the persona of the project.
What was the creative process behind your sophomore EP ‘HARMINE’? We had been sitting on loads of ideas since our last release in 2013. We wanted to drop new music so we set about finding 5 ideas that felt good next to each other. We wrote, composed and produced HARMINE over the course of a year and in several locations so ideas and inspiration for each song kept coming. It was a blessing and a curse in some cases because I think with that you have to know/be told when to stop prodding and let it be.
To find a title, we looked at the common themes of the songs: isolation, introspection, detachment, limbo, stories of past relationships, love and loss. Then we wanted to find a way to present them visually; something fun and imaginative to contrast the mood of the EP that could still depict the realm it existed in.
Sam was looking at psychedelics in nature and came across ‘Harmine’ a Halucagenic Alkaloid found in plants and insects amongst other things. Sam went down the rabbit hole, reading extracts from Alexander Shulgin’s Tihkal where he describes the uses of Harmine and where it’s found in nature. Shulgin goes on to list the different species of Butterly containing ‘Harmine’, which later make appearances in our ‘Caught In A Lie’ music video and our latest merchandise capsules, co designed with the talented graphic artist Joe Dao.
We liked the way ‘HARMINE’ sounded and liked the way it could be interpreted. Our sound isn’t psychedelic, but we’ve always been fans of psychedelia and collage. Rox had found a visual Artist called Mariano Peccinetti on Instagram. We contacted him about doing an
album cover, luckily he said yes. The first drafts were incredible. They really set the tone for the world that HARMINE exists in.
Then the world descended into a global pandemic. We were still missing music videos so we decided to buy a Mini DV camera and self direct all of them with the help of Sam’s flat mate and Filmographer, Spike Silverton and the editing skills of Fiends friends Sam Shapiro and Nic Stark.
We shot our first Video ‘Caught In A Lie’ in their living room. We all fell in love with Mini DV format and found the results to be very surprising when you pick a frame and commit to it. What’s the best advice you’ve received during your journey? Consistency is key.
How do you nurture your creativity? Sam: Exercise, diet and good company. Rox: By being creative in other areas of my life through seeing art, dancing or going to arts events. Self care is also a must, if I’m off balance in general I find it hard to be close to my creativity so protecting my energy is really important to me.
What do you hope your EP will reveal to your listeners? That we still exist.
Images by Jonathan Notley & Constantin Kirwan-Taylor, NKT Studio