focusINTERVIEW : HNNY
The young swedish producer HNNY , that we like so much since The Very First Time released in 2012, is coming back with his first LP Sunday . The Track Cheer Me Up, My Brother already had everything to seduce us : amazing rythm with continuous percussions and a melodic piano that fits perfectly well with the sublime and melancholic voice. The prince of swedish house, Johan Cederberg, greatly accepted to answer our questions and to talk about his wonderful LP, that you can find here !
Délicieuse : Hello HNNY! How are you?
HNNY : I’m very good ! I’m at my mom’s house, playing piano and chilling…
Délicieuse : Ok so now, big question… why “ HNNY” (*honey*) and a picture of Winnie the Pooh on your FaceBook page? Even if we are following you since your EP “For the very first time” (released in 2012), this remains a big mystery!
HNNY : In fact, one of my friend used to call me “Johnny” so he just said “Oh Johnny, if you remove the J and the O it becomes “HNNY” like “honey””. So it was just like “Yeah sure, ok, that works”, it just a bunch of letters ! I was playing with my friends or producing different artists so it was the first time that I was on my own. So when I made the “I want to know what love is”[sampled from Mariah Carey’ song], I was thinking that it was just one track so I said “ok, whatever, let’s keep this name”! At the beginning, it was just one song… I did not plan anything more! Btw, at the beginning, this track was downloaded by maybe... 100 people at the most! But the good thing was that one of the people who downloaded it was a guy named Kornel Kovacs, who runs the label “Studio Barnhus” and when he started to play this song in his sets, all the guys from the label were ending their sets with my song!
Délicieuse : Nice story! Btw, do you know that in France, we said “H N N Y“ (French pronunciation)? Sounds also cool, right?
HNNY : Ah! I like that! That’s awesome! I was also saying “HNNY” [with the English pronunciation] all the time but it was just so exhausting! And, around that time, three or four years ago, the movie “Winnie the Pooh” came out!
There were posters all over the town and in Winnie the Pooh story, they are always spell honey “hunny” so when I saw one of the posters at the bus stop, I just loved it and decided to use that picture and say “honey” because it sounds easier!
Délicieuse : For those who don’t know you yet, can you pick 3 words defining your music?
HNNY : That’s a tricky question! I guess I don’t really think about my music in that way and I don’t want to, because I like to make music whatever I feel like rather than making a special kind of music. So… I can’t pick three words because I am free and my music really depends on my mood… I really like to be and feel free because I don’t have to think “oh that last track was in that category”! I am just doing this today and tomorrow, I will do another stuff, whatever comes to mind. I guess everyone wants to put music in categories because it sounds easier but I am not a big fan of that… When I listen to music, I am just listening to music I like. It could be really anything, just something that describes my mood or anything else…
Délicieuse : This year was full of news for you… Two EPs (“Carefree” released in February + “ Solsidan/ Alby” released in May) and a debut album now. How did you handle it?
HNNY : Hahaha! Actually, I am relaxing because I made so much music last year and I was playing a lot… I was just doing a lot of things for the last couple of years so now, I just feel that I need a little bit of time to relax and just take a break from things. For few months, I did not even make any music at all and now, I mostly just playing the piano!
I mean, I am not recording any music at the moment but I am just enjoying playing piano… It’s fun!
Délicieuse : On that point, have you planned a tour?
HNNY : Actually, I am playing a little bit now. Pretty much less than I did last year, but I played this weekend and now I have this weekend off and I think the next one and then, I am playing the weekend after that. It’s just here and there, you know... I am trying to play while having fun but to play a little bit less to have enough time to be at home also. I think that if you are away every weekend, it is like to be away all the time! Then, you don’t have time a calm down in between… So I am happy to have two weeks now to chill at home, it is nice! I am just playing piano and drinking coffee!
Délicieuse : When listening to your last releases (2 EPs + 1 debut album), we can feel like an evolution, a growth from a sort of excitement (with a loads of rhythmic beats) to a form of relaxation/rest. Did you do this on purpose?
HNNY : Well, yeah! With all the music that I make, it really follows my moods. But, at the same time, when I was doing the two EPs, I was also making my debut album and a bunch of other stuff… So, for instance, I made “Carefree” when I was incredibly happy and very carefree! So, basically, I think I made the album “Sunday” just before . It is darker and personal, mostly based on my childhood and I really enjoyed making that music. However, at the same time, when I have done that, I wanted to do the opposite, something happier, which means a music not that personal. I wanted to make something that does not need to be analyzed. Just press play and enjoy! I wanted to try to make music that sounds happy because in fact, most of the music I enjoy has those two sides: happy but sad at the same time, on a melancholic tone; so, I wanted to try to only make happy music, without that sad aspect.
Délicieuse : Can you explain us why you called your new album “Sunday”? Obviously, by listening to the two first songs revealed (Cheer Up, My Brother + There is No One Else), we think that the whole album would be perfect for chilling out on Sunday… but is there any other reason?
HNNY : Definitely! Well, that was one of the reasons, of course! But for me, there is a special signification because the last couple of years, I was playing every week somewhere so I was super tired and I often come back home on Sundays. Then, I was really happy about the weekend so I really enjoyed coming back and chill on Sunday and it becomes a special day of the week for me this last year! Also, my music became really calm because my home is also my studio so I was always chilling when I was back. I started enjoy my apartment so much and it became really special to make music there. For instance, when I was travelling, sometimes I had to wait like five hours at Frankfurt airport and there was nothing to do! So, that was the kind of moment where most of my ideas were coming… Then, when I came home, I had enough time to put my ideas into practice and record.
Délicieuse : Regarding your album cover, why did you chose flowers on a green background and a glass of milk? It’s a bit mysterious, right?
HNNY : Hahaha! Yes, it’s a bit mysterious! In fact, the sentence means “hold the milk” in Swedish, which is also a really strange slogan! It is strange to tell someone to “hold the milk” but I still really like it! I also took the picture of the flowers with the green background from an old children book and then I had that pin with milk so I put that together quite a long time ago. Actually, I put it on my wall because my wall is full of pictures, souvenirs and different things I found. Btw, I heard a lot of people who have the same things on their computers! It’s the same idea but instead of using a folder full of pictures that I like, I preferred to put my stuff on that wall. I’m not really a fan of the computer or the Internet so I just kept an analog version! Plus, as it is in my studio, it’s really nice because this is also where I am making my music! Thus, I guess, it is also a form of representation of the music that I make because when I was making my debut album “Sunday”, I was always looking at that wall and I was always looking at the flowers and the milk pin. Then, like six months after, when the album was ready and I was starting to think about the cover, I just looked around me and I saw the image on the wall: it just fitted very well! I really liked that, it was natural and spontaneous!
[i] Délicieuse : And for the last question… any scoop or forthcoming events for 2015?
HNNY : Actually, I just finished another album and it is coming out around November! But it is going to be more in a mixtape form [one hour long]! It sounds a bit like hip hop beats and it is all mixed together with a lot of stuff found on records! It is hard to describe! Anyway! It is going to be released on “Studio Barnhus”, the label that released my first record so it’s really fun!
Délicieuse : Good… Well, thank you for giving your valuable time! I wish you all the best!
HNNY - Cheer Up, My Brother HNNY - There Is No One Else