A pleasure to have you with us today Hyenah, hello! How are you today and where are you speaking to us from?
Hey there, nice to meet you too! And thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I am in my studio right now, finishing everything up and thinking about new things I’ve been wanting to try. Finishing an album can also be a relief. Now it is done, I can’t and I won’t change anything and I can finally start dealing with new things again. I am actually looking forward to that. You know, there is always this funny gap between the artist and his audience: For you, the album is brand new. For me it’s been around for a looong time.

This July will see the release of your debut album – Love In Times Of Crisis on RISE. Congrats on a wonderful creation here. What can our readers expect from the album in your own words?
There were so many different emotional states we all went through in the last years of crisis. Some of the album’s songs are about a crisis and helped me deal with it. Love is that one thing that can help us get through and keep our heads over water. But love can also be in crisis. So the album is the product of extra thorough introspection during the pandemic. I was able to turn it into something creative and I am very grateful for that. Love In Times Of Crisis is the distilled version of all the different creative ideas and concepts I had developed in recent years. The album is the past, the current foundation and the future of what I musically stand for. I hope people can feel that when they listen to it.

Featuring 11 collaborations across 12 tracks, the album is a show of unity, where did this inspiration come from for the album?
One of my core principles is the idea that together we can be stronger, we can make a difference. Collaborative efforts in any aspect of our lives are key to realising our dreams – and to change things for the better. Rather considering myself a mediator or connector, I always wanted to position myself in a spot where I can help others to grow, so that we can grow together. Our RISE crew and event series is just one result of this idea,

Even with so many collaborators across the album, Love In Times Of Crisis impressively retains a cohesive feel throughout. How was this achieved?
Thank you very much for that comment. I am not sure if I can give you a satisfying answer. Like in any other language, finding your own musical voice is a slow process that takes some time and includes a multitude of influences – and most likely will never end. Especially these days when bits and bytes are the fundamental base of a piece, to make the outcome become unique and personal a deeper reach into the molecular elements of a composition is often worth the effort.

We would love to hear about the creative process across the album. Did the creative process differ much across the various collaborations?
It was a bit of a task since traveling wasn’t an option during the pandemic and a face to face jam with the other protagonist was most likely not doable. On top, last minute things changed again: A new vocalist was needed, a different version became more relevant, a song turned out to be obsolete. Every track has its own story. Some happened quite quickly for example The Rite. Others are based on songs I released before but turned out completely different – like Life’s Plan or The Message. Others again took forever and changed many times. Moood was quite conceptional and is based on trying to express a certain mood. So you see: creative processes and collaborations during the pandemic do not allow you to stick to one process. I think it is actually good like that. It was challenging but also a lot of fun. I had time to experiment and used that time.

Was the tracklisting decided prior to collaborating? For instance, when yourself and Ernesto & The Basement Gospel created The Rite, did you set out to create the opening track of the album or was this an organic result?
9ß% of the instrumental was actually done very, very quickly. It’s got a wonderful tension that I wanted to play with. I loved the rhythm and vibe of it, plus the momentum of surprise. Obviously, it is not a proper club track for most djs. That rhythm is hard to mix. 😉 The more tracks that were created, the more I had to think about an order. To answer your question: it was not done as an opening track. When my final selection was basically done I needed the elements to make sense somehow. Rain Queen for example was always meant to happen towards the end of the album. The Rite is so unique that there was nothing working before. Everything sounded odd, falling into The Rite. So it became the opening track.

With release approaching, how does it feel to stand back and view the completed album?
I guess most artists feel like that: It is very, very hard to judge your own work after being busy with it for such a long time. When working on it, it still feels like so many things can be done and changed. When I listen to it in a situation where I can’t change anything, like in a car, I feel like. This is actually a really nice album. I am proud of it, but I am also insecure. Mostly I am very happy and grateful that so many people trusted me and helped me to bring this baby to life. Let’s see how the world out there is feeling about it. Will people care? Can they appreciate it? Can they relate? Does my music resonate? Can people feel what I wanted to express? What’s going to be their favorite track? I am very curious…

Thank you for chatting with us today Hyenah. To round off, is there any message you would like to give to the listeners before they hear Love In Times Of Crisis?
I just hope that they are up for a ride. It is not what people are used to, it is not a pure dance music album. I experimented and I’d be super happy if people took that journey with me. Maybe there are one or two songs that might help people to get through their crises. Or some that help them have a good time and enjoy life.