Having charmed our ears with previous single ‘Gozo’, Irish duo Hvmmingbyrd are back with exquisite new single ‘Papillon’. Exploring the ebb and flow from creative euphoria to self-doubt, it’s a soaring slice of ethereal electro-pop.
We caught up with the duo to find out more about their new single, influences, learning how to produce their own music and more…
Hi Hvmmingbyrd, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about the band?
We are Deborah Byrne and Suzette Das, a pair of singers/songwriters/producers from Dublin, Ireland. We blend electronic sounds with intense layered vocal harmonies and have been making music together since early 2016.
How did you initially all get together and start creating music?
Deborah had performed both as a solo singer/songwriter and with a folk band prior to the duo forming, and Suzette had studied music in university and performed in choirs and jazz bands. They met each other through mutual friends in Dublin in early 2016 – Suzette had been posting loop original and covers on Youtube and Deborah thought it could be an interesting collaboration and asked Suzette if she wanted to work together!
Your new single ‘Papillon’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the single?
‘Papillon’ is about the darker side of the creative life inspired by our own experiences. Creating music can be incredibly joyous and life-giving and the song begins by describing stitching something beautiful together, releasing it, and watching as it takes on a life of its own. But the creator is conflicted by how obsessed and driven they are to create versus wanting to slow down and enjoy it more. In the end, she is overridden by the compulsion and becomes obsessed with the creation to the point of self-destruction; the creator has made something beautiful, but is left completely spent and weary from the effort.
You’ve been compared to the likes of Maggie Rogers and Overcoats, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
We have lots of different influences, from classical, orchestral music, chamber choirs and movies scores, to hip hop, folk and pop. Some of our current favourites would be Bon Iver, Daft Punk, Francis & the Lights, Vera Blue… Growing up Deborah was a massive fan of Lauryn Hill and Joni Mitchell, and Suzette loved Kimbra and Laura Marling. We are both converts to electronic music so there are splashes of electronica throughout our music too – last year, we both started studying production and engineering and made it a goal to produce our own music both in the studio and live onstage.
How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
Both of us live in or close to Dublin city centre so we’re pretty spoiled for choice. There are quality gigs happening every night if you have the time or energy to go! It’s been a real joy for us getting stuck into the Dublin music community. We learn something new every time we go to see our peers perform!
And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Our vocal harmonies will always remain at the centre of what we do, whether it’s an intimate acoustic show, or a full electronic show at a festival. We’ve always wanted to convey the colours and movement of our music in a visual way so we are collaborating with a lighting designer to incorporate a lights show and also hope to introduce live visuals too. From a live perspective, we are exploring how to blend the freedom of improvised acoustic music with the restrictions of electronic music by incorporating live vocal looping with our electronic sounds.
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Some of our Irish favourites include ‘agrosoul’ four piece BARQ, RnB trio Wyvern Lingo and singer-songwriter Sinead White.
And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Well, living in the digital era makes some things easier and some things harder. The parameters of social media and its algorithms keep changing for good reason but it can be challenging to stay up to date on how and when is the best way to reach fans, as well as holding a balance of keeping everyone informed without posting incessantly. It’s also fun trying to keep producing quality social media content – we are musicians, not digital marketers, videographers or graphic designers, but we try our best! Overall, the opportunities that living in a digital era afford us as independent artists are pretty amazing and we’re thankful for that.
Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Hvmmingbyrd?
We are already working on our next single which we hope to release in June, followed by a few festival dates yet to be announced, and a national tour in the summer with Sinead White.
Huge thanks to Hvmmingbyrd for answering our questions!
‘Papillon’, the new single from Hvmmingbyrd, is out now.