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A Conversation Through Chinatown with Musical Duo The Hics

By Ryan Gattaora

Photography by Ryan Gattaora

The Hics are a London based two piece that comprises Roxane Barker and Sam Evans, discovering each other at secondary school. They found their harmony and sound through a synergy of fusing both their unique and individual talents together. By doing so they created a genre of their own, making them a one of a kind duo, a rarity in today's landscape. They released their first single “Lines” in September 2012 and grasped the metaphorical necks of the music elite. This was later followed with the release of Tangled, their first EP, in 2013. The Hics were finding sure footing in the no man’s land of modern music. They stirred their ship through the break waters and set down their anchor for the long stay.

The Hics released a follow up single to their first EP in June 2014. The song “All they know” was a perfect continuation of their original aesthetic if anything toning their style more, making it their own, maturing their craft.

Photography by Ryan Gattaora

This week I had the chance to chat to Sam and Rox in the borough of Soho, Central London.

Asking The Hics how they would define their style? They told me that they love the idea of describing themselves as Alternative, Indie, Soul or A.I.R (Alternative, Indie, RnB).

However, The group find it hard labelling themselves to one coat hook. They believe by doing that you give yourself no room to grow. Rox said they adore just writing the beginnings of songs with just a guitar and voice notes from their mobile phones, then elaborating on them later on.

Now being able to look back at their past releases I wanted to know if their music has changed since the first EP. Rox stated that comparing their previous work to Harmine was good. It showed growth. When they created their first EP Tangled they explored more sound, more instrumentation, they felt more free to become more musically original.

As Sam and Rox both mentioned that Harmine is streamline, minimal, toned down compared. Lending more towards vocials and becoming more vocally sophisticated, watering their ideas and nurturing them. Furthemore, Rox compassionately said how they want to return to their louder and fuller sound which is on Tangled, feeling they have now established their vocal identity.

Sam also said that the way they consume music has changed. Having it all to hand on Spotify means they can explore genres, new artists and bands regularly. Since being in Lockdown they have been inspired by a range of different artists. Making for a melting pot of music, helping them create direction and mastery of their sound.

Photography by Ryan Gattaora

Continuing our walk down the side alleys of ChinaTown, I wanted to know what is currently inspiring The Hics right now. Sam spoke fondly about the Swedish group Little Dragon which has been on rotation along with Obongjayar and Don Toliver. Whereas Rox had been enjoying sixties and seventies soul with new wave saying the Sweet Enoughs have been on repeat.

The Hics are a duo which are constantly inspired by a pantheon of artists and groups. I wanted to see what influenced their latest EP. For Harimine they both agreed that such bands as Little Dragon and FleetWood Mac helped tailor their sound for this release. Later adding that Radiohead’s 2007 album In Rainbows was a huge part of zoning in on that alternative indie sound. With songs like Weird Fishes/ Arpeggi and I Need You. Rox then mentioned how Consideration by Rihanna was constantly on during the writing process.

Having dipped their toes once more, are they wanting to jump back in? After dropping Harmine, I wanted to know if we will hear new music soon from the duo. The pair both stated that new music will hopefully appear by the end of the year. Promising a brighter sound and emphasis on drums and instrumentation. And with live performances and recordings planned they would be able to show more sound off in the future.

Photography by Ryan Gattaora

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