Hunz is one of the familiar names involved in the demoscene of the 1990s. He grew up in Brisbane, Australia and began working on tracker music in his early teens. He is noted for being one of the first trackers to make the unconventional move of adding vocals to the compositions.
February 2009 housed 28 days. That’s 672 hours for potential productivity, but far less when working around employment and social commitments. This time constraint makes the conditions surrounding the release of Hunz’s second album all the more remarkable. “Thoughts That Move” was conceived, written, performed and produced by Brisbane independent electronic artist Hunz (http://hunz.com.au/) throughout the month of February 2009. It’s Hunz’s contribution to a worldwide contest known as the RPM Challenge (http://rpmchallenge.com/), which saw over 2,200 bands commit to releasing an album of original music within those 28 days. Those 672 hours. These ten tracks find Hunz tightening his grip on a peerless pop sound that hints at dark electronica undertones, while never misplacing his outstanding melodic sensibilities. In a similar manner to Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails ffering the GarageBand source files used to compose his music, Hunz is simultaneously releasing “Thoughts That Move” in the Renoise format that contains the core components of each electronic composition.
“Thoughts That Move” is the sound of Hunz evolving the themes explored on his 2008 debut, “When Victims Fight”. First single “You Said Hello” skillfully contrasts sinister verses with an uplifting chorus, while “Car In The Meadow” will be accompanied by an intriguing animated video later in 2009. On stage, Hunz collaborates with bassist Phil Evans and drummer Richie Young on his devoted journey to the frail heart of pop music.
That month was a gift from my wife. With out her understanding and permission I couldn’t have done it. She cooked for me, worked around me and made sure my sugar levels were up (i get cranky when things get low … lol). I am so grateful to her. I was able to take a few days off work toward the end and MMD really took away the fiddling around of final mixing, which often takes the longest. I just had to make sure the tunes were complete and mixed well on a 1st pass and then I just trusted MMD would make the tones more perfect. He did an remarkable job.
Here is a run down of a basic day. I would wake up around 5:30am. Run through the rushes of the night before. Make some quick changes and get ready for work. I would have those melodies in my head. When I got home anything that happened to stick during the day I would write into the tune again and then start a new one from scratch. Repeat x 10.
It is like a marathon of tune writing and I must say those old school 1hr, 1day or 1week #trax comps really helped me out for this.
1/ I never did find anything that rhymes with purple. I heard a crew use Steve urkle with purple but it was a stretch.
2/ I have found that ever since society is loving computer game sounds and logically now the 80’s era it bought back a passion I never knew I had. I’ve always loved the demo/computer game sound and I am so excited by when I play with my band the crowd sings along with me and hears that love I have for bad synth sounds and demo scene melodies. I thank Ratatat, Boards of Canada, royksopp, Fever ray, Air, Imogen heap and Pivot for this new love. The past is like a deep well and there is so much water to draw from and so many #trax people and scene friends to thank for that water being there. So I feel nostalgic about the past and happy about where it is going to all go.
Who are your main vocalist inspirations? Were you thinking of any particular vocal styles during the Thoughts That Move sessions?
What’s your one dream feature request for Renoise that would make a project like Thoughts That Move easier?
What’s on the horizon for future Hunz projects?
I’ll stop there to let some others ask some questions.
1/ I love listening to female artists and the artists I had fresh in my mind were. Kate Bush, Imogen Heap, Martina Topley-Bird and Santogold. I was thinking about how Kate Bush layers vocal hits and then how Martina Topley-Bird uses a lot of jazz like tones in her voice.
2/I think a better “vocal take” setup. So if you punch in to record it makes a mark on that track so you know where to trigger the sample once you are done. Hope that makes sense and maybe it does it … lol. Syncing to the start of the pattern is fine but I found I missed a lot of “S” roll ins which I had to put back in on a separate pass. Everything else I would want is just because I’m use to doing it another way and I’m happy to learn
3/ Hunz is working on the visual side this year. I have a few projects in the works and when they hit it’ll have a lot of blogging and how too’s when it all goes out. Then I’m writing with the band this time and working with producers. I’m going to do my 1st studio album where we use renoise and a live band and record it all together. Should be fun times! I think I’ll also release some more renoise tracks that are like old scene releases. Which means, releasing everything .xrns .mp3 and using no plug ins (like thoughts that move). It’ll be less where “hunz” is heading and just old scene style stuff.
I’ve been looking at doing vocals in renoise… but its turning out to be quite hard…
Maybe you could shed some light on what processes you take through recording, do you have the song written and then just fit vox over the top. Is there anything special you do? I guess its probably quite simple but would love to hear from someone who actually does it himself…
1/ I do miss it a little but I get to play at least once a month with “hunz” so it works out just fine.
2/ The previous band I was in I did about 25% of the song writing. I think that’s a great thing though because that is how we got our sound
3/ I start track’n back on the Amiga really early in the 90’s. The demo’s that were coming out in the scene really inspired me. I just wanted to be in a group so I started learning music and graphics to see if anyone wanted my mad skills. Didn’t really work out like that … lol. I then got into pc tracking due to landing some computer game music work for EA and then just loved FastTracker and kept that going. I loved how Tricky worked on lo-fi equipment and people were blown away so I then kind of made a commitment to stay tracking and compete with “PRO” sounds. Fast forward and you have something like Renoise and everything just feels right!
4/ Babies huh? For you. Yes.
ps: Honestly a few years back I heard your tracks on renoise and you with a few others really inspired me to get back into it. So yes, I stole something from you .
1/ I did have difficulty doing some of them. I have a drive full of tunes that never made it on time but that’s the way it works. I have all the intentions in the world to enter http://www.sdcompo.com/ and hope I can one month
2/ Usually I pull apart a loop I like. Mess with it tonally and reconstruct it how I want. Add bass to it and then build the rest around it. Recently I’ve been singing in everything and then writing a tune from that. I am learning how to simplify and make melodies count.
3/ a) Time ends up finding you when I write music. I usually just feel like it and it happens to be on a night when I’m free. I never try and force it, it just happens.
There will always be times when a Melody greets you and your miles away from some kinda recording device BUT if it’s an amazing melody then it’ll come back when it counts.
c) That’s tricky. I think my head works in a way where it remembers things and I can play a melody in my head and hear everything working with it and I can mute parts as it plays out and then add things to it and so on. So when I listen to something in the morning IF it’s good it’ll stay with me and when I’m at work it might pop back into my head with some other melodies accompanying it. If they stick around until I get home then they were meant to be there. Sounds kinda crazy when I write it down but it something that just happens.
Hunz, I really admire your arrangements and song-structures. They sound well thought-out and I often find every song stands on itself. How do you write your music in the sense of, what is the primary aspect you want to express? Uhm, sense I make not… rephraze: on what element(s) do you ‘build’ a song? I’m really curious about your approach to music in general, what aspects are ‘speaking’ to you sonically and why you ‘exploit’ them. You have a unique sound that speaks to me in atmospheres in a very intense matter. Truly amazing work!
Sorry about late replies. I’ve had a massive week at work which will continue for a few more days BUT I’m totally fine with a mirror. I didn’t know the link was down so when I get time I’ll place it on my site. Next week I’ll reply back to the other posts. Thanks Zed!
Hunz, do you need hosting? I can give you 5 GB .no hosting for free… just send me a blipp blopp. Other than that I think you are absolutely amazing. Your music is so good that words will not do - both new and old.
Thank you everyone for waiting. My mega project that sucked my life away is over and life is back to normal.
I’ll talk about the way I did “thoughts that move” because it sheds more light on how I wrote it in renoise. I would construct the Bass and drums and then pad it out with some synth notes that would help give shape to the track. When notes started forming in a way I liked I would start humming other melodies out a loud. I would then open up a fresh chn and place a verb or delay on this track and then record it while I had the track on a loop (this would be synced to track start). I wouldn’t sing any lyrics yet and would just let sounds come out and work hard on getting the inflection and emotion right. Once that was layered down I would add to this with counter melodies and so on. I would listen back to it all. Cull what I didn’t like and usually isolate things I did and see if I could put new bass/synth notes with it to take it to another place. This way the progression feels natural without being forced. Once that was complete I would then listen back to the shapes of the words and see if any REAL english words sit into those shapes. If they did I would let those lead words dictate the subject matter of the song. It’s kinda an organic respectful way of listening back to the tune.
As for Equipment I’m using RME fireface with a Rhodes NT2 mic. Nothing flash but enough to get my vocal frequencies recorded. If you solo the vocals you can hear traffic in the background as I live close to a busy road. I even think at some points my cat meows and my chicken, who crows, can be heard. I love it when life is captured in electronic recordings it helps bring soul into it all.
1/ oh man, I have like, well, a lot of tracks that just sit on my drive. I load them up and I think the vibe is great and then it stops. I start writing and nothing natural falls out and I get frustrated. I save it and move on. I think deadlines are the only way I’ll finish them and that’s if I want too. I USUALLY save off patterns and if I have another track that I can’t get working I try and cram them together. I did that with an old song called “guess.xm” it was left overs from “volume.xm” and I don’t think the outcome was bad but it didn’t have that um, natural vibe going for it. I also try Co-oping the tunes. I don’t really know how I would go about finishing them but perhaps if I challenged myself to not release anything new and just complete what was old then it would get done. Mmm. Maybe that might be the next album. Thanks BYTE-Smasher.
2/ Lyrics always come after for me and are shaped by the guide track that I just sing in raw. Recently I’ve changed my setup so I can simplify the outcome of the tunes but I haven’t mastered that yet.
It is hard to dissect what you do but at the moment I tend to work on the back bone of a song and then listen to see what it inspires. That “back bone” for me is the drums and bass. Once I have that down I listen to it on a loop and am trying to hear if any harmonic freq / notes are coming out of the “back bone”. If you listen to a loop over and over again you’ll hear it speak to you (sometimes it doesnt … lol) If it does that I create the sound I heard and place that note into the piece where the freq is and listen to what it does. Usually it sits well and I build up around it until it peaks.
I hope that helps, I can try and dissect it a bit more but that is the start and all I really do through out the whole thing. Your own bias (style) comes out because you resonate with certain notes and your ear tends to hear what it likes.