Hydra Fashion Week discuss songs catching them off guard

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Hydra Fashion Week discuss songs catching them off guard

Hydra Fashion Week
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

We were lucky enough to chat to Charlie Teitelbaum of Hydra Fashion Week about their approach to making, building, recording and producing music.

Hydra Fashion Week provide a unique take what they describe as “jazzy-hyper-punk”. Recommended for, well… just about everyone, “Total Freefall” was the first single from the album Serpent Season One which is out now.

Charlie, congrats on the release of “Total Freefall”! Hydra Fashion Week’s music blends together so many layers and influences, where do songs start?

Songs tend to catch you off guard, and you never quite predict where they came from. My main inspiration for songs though, is other songs! Usually another piece of music will get me so worked up and obsessed, I dive into it and try to capture its essence and bring it into my world. Hydra world.

This one in particular was a Beyonce or Migos song I was obsessed with. It came pretty naturally, taking a piece of the flow and melody from the song, and combining it with something else. I would sing a version of that into my phone recordings, and kept working at it and expanding it, just me + a guitar.

I rely heavily on the Voice Memo and Notes apps. I would say they might be the most important pieces of gear in my creative workflow. I currently have 3,825 notes in my notes app–and counting. Yikes!!

How have you arrived at this sound?

We call our brand of music “jazzy-hyper-punk” …

For this particular song, I wanted to marry the aesthetics of American pop/rap/hyper-pop music with a Melbourne jangle/indie rock type beat in a really obvious way. It’s about combining the global and the local.  I’ve definitely been influenced by sooo many great bands in the local scene over the years, but I did feel like there is an insular “inward-looking” nature to the sound of a lot of this music, and I wanted to expand that. Maybe a bit ambitious and delusional, but I put two things together that usually wouldn’t. It’s almost speculative fiction… like what if Charli XCX sang a Twerps song?

What inspired you to write a song about creation and writing itself? Did you start out with the intention for it to be as meta as it ended up?

Haha, no I don’t usually tend to get so meta, but I am an overstimulated millennial and cannot help but look at things from every angle. It just sort of happened, and what was on my mind when I was writing it.

What was the recording process of “Total Freefall” like?

The recording of this one was pretty seamless, we have a lot of songs that have sections for improvisation, and that can get a bit more chaotic. But I always wanted this one to be more tight, and everyone had it pretty locked in from the start.

We first recorded the main rhythmic parts as a band, and then once that was done, me and Matt (guitarist) came in and added all our extra layers.

Is there a clear delineation between the end of songwriting, the start of producing and recording? Maybe the workflow all blends together?

For me, it definitely blends together, as I feel producing is a big part of my songwriting. In a sense, the auto-tune is as important an instrument as the guitar is for a song like this. For this album I did a lot of post-production work (along with producer and mixer Ahm) choosing and cutting up takes we recorded as a band, which can bring new ideas to light in the arrangement.

Having said that, the song already had a strong identity from the whole band playing it live a lot before recording.

How do you think your education, a Bachelor in Fine Arts, influences the music you make? Do you find yourself sticking to the ‘conventions’ of music more or breaking them?

I’m not really sure to be honest. One of the most memorable parts of a degree like that is being exposed to as much weird and strange art as possible. So I think it definitely pushed me into thinking in a very concept-first way, as a contemporary artist would, rather than a musician creating intuitively through sound. This is sometimes a bad thing, and I have to peel that part of me back and find the balance between concept and intuition. 

Hydra Fashion Week Charlie

Thanks for your time! Surely you’d have a story or two to tell about the making of “Total Freefall”?

While the recording of the song was pretty straight-forward, the shooting of the music video was certainly a hectic, fun and intense experience. 

So many people got involved last minute to make it what it was. We called up all the freaks we knew (and were available) for one scorching Tuesday afternoon, and got Brayden (the director) to follow us around playing our song and performing hijinks and weird shit in public. By the end of the day I was sunburnt in the strangest spots.

We were lucky enough to have the very-talented Kritikon Khamsawat design and hand-make some of the clothes for us, and performers from performance/art collective dand920 come do some cool stuff in front of the camera. It felt a very full circle moment to be surrounded by friends and fellow artists when singing the words “All the people I’ve known, all the words I’ve wrote out”. It wasn’t planned that way, but it turns out that sense of community is a big part of “Total Freefall”’s story.

The new Hydra Fashion Week album Serpent Season One is available everywhere now.