Merging ethereal vocals with atmospheric arrangements, HEBE is a rare gem in 2017. The artist – hailing from Amsterdam in The Netherlands – has been creating stunning electro-pop creations in her current solo incarnation since 2014 but is a veteran singer-songwriter, deciding to take her craft seriously when she began to have singing lessons at the age of twelve. The time since then has been more than well spent, resulting in HEBE having a sound wise beyond her years; take one listen to ‘Tell Me’ to understand what we mean.
However, latest single ‘Take Him Down’ – which is released today – dismisses her aforementioned work, so much so that it could be considered a reinvention, shaking up her formula for punchy electro-pop and sounding all the more jubilant for it. If soulful vocals and big choruses are your thing, then don’t miss out! Captivated as we sure you are too, we thought we’d do the right thing and get to know HEBE that little bit better. Read on to discover more…
Hey! For those who haven’t listened to you yet, how would you describe your sound?
If people ask me this question I always say: Filmic Electro-Pop. It has elements of film music, powerful electro beats, melancholic melody lines and a warm vocal/harmony sound. Important inspirations for me have been Rhye, Lapsley and Van Morrison. I think you can hear these influences in my music as well.
How did you come to get into music?
I already loved singing and performing at a young age. I always did small performances for my family and friends with music from Spice Girls and Britney Spears. When I started taking vocal lessons at the age of twelve, I knew pretty soon that I wanted to go to a Conservatory and build my life around music and singing. I started writing songs with the piano when I was 13, I could sit for hours writing lyrics and making melodies with the piano (I could only play six chords I think at that time). When I was 16 I started a soul band with four boys I met at the music school. Rehearsing every week, playing covers but also our own music. After high school, I got accepted at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and graduated in 2014. So already quite a while in music.
Your new track ‘Take Him Down’, tell us a bit about it? What inspired it, what’s it about?
Everybody wants to know whom it’s about, whom I would like to take down. A lot of names already passed, so I’ve heard Trump, ex-boyfriends, Geert Wilders and others. This song is actually about all of them, but also none of them (or I must say not really someone in particular).
‘Take Him Down’ is about rage, about not following the rules, about taking back control. This song describes the anger I can feel when somebody is playing you like a puppet when somebody hurts you and walks away with a smile. I think everyone will recognise this feeling in a different setting; this can happen in a friendship, relationship, in politics and in work. This song is about taking control, feeling powerful and not being told what to do anymore, but deciding for yourself.
What went into the decision making process to make this track a single?
I think a single should be clear in its message. Differently from my single ‘Tell Me’, which was about keeping our emotions to ourselves, keep smiling, ‘Take Him Down’ is in your face. Letting go of your anger and to no longer restrain what’s inside. I wanted these two completely different worlds after each other, so the message is emphasised and thrown into the world like emotions do, they can’t hold back.
You have a video for it coming out on the 27th June (watch below), what can we expect from this?
The single is going to be released the 23rd of June on Spotify and iTunes. The video of ‘Take Him Down’ had to be the opposite of the video for ‘Tell Me’. ‘Tell Me’ is aesthetically very beautiful with this snowy forest and for this song, it fitted better that you could not really see my face, but see me most of the times from the back. ‘Take Him Down’, on the other hand, should be in your face, no layers or effects, maybe even a little bit freaky, but very natural and real. I call it The Raw Monologue.
Were you involved much with the creative process of it? How important do you feel it is to be involved?
I initialize everything and also want to stay involved in the entire process. The visual aspect of my music is very important. I’m very lucky to work with really talented people, that understand and know what my music needs. I have a lot of ideas, but I’m not a professional with film or shooting a video, so finding a group of people that are specialised in this, but also understand what the music needs is really important. Reinout Steenhuizen is the director of the video for ‘Tell Me’, we spent a lot of evenings together working on the story and visualisation of the video, besides from directing the video he also filmed it. He really knows what works well on camera and how to create a setting that has a beautiful sphere.
The video for ‘Take Him Down’ is filmed by Pablo van Wetten, the video and the way we worked towards filming this video was completely different. This video is less about beautiful shots and more about the story I tell with my voice and eyes. We just started and completed it in one day of filming and two meetings.
You’ve been playing a few sold out shows, how have they been? Have you been pleased with the reaction to your music?
I love playing on a big stage where the sound is perfect and the people are absorbed into the music. If I feel that vibe during a show, I know that my band and I are doing a great job. People have been so kind to me, I have had wonderful responses to my first single and to the shows we’ve played this far on TV and in concert halls. So I feel very blessed and I’m really looking forward to playing more shows. We play in a three formation: I’m on keys and vocals, Rogier on electro-drums and Lito on synth bass. I’m looking forward to playing more often with these boys!
Being based in Amsterdam, how do you find the music scene there? Do you think this has influenced your music/creative process at all?
There are a lot of great musicians here in Amsterdam and we have a very rich scene of music festivals, clubs and cafes. So that’s great, I find on the other hand a big difference with playing in Germany for example, that people listen and are more focused during a concert. In Amsterdam, people drink a beer and tend to talk during a concert, for music concert that doesn’t really work I think, so I try to check the setting and what kind of place it is before I agree on playing somewhere. I did the conservatory in Amsterdam, so of course, the music scene here inspired me, and I check out a lot of new stuff from my friends here in The Netherlands. But if I’m honest my true inspirations and influences are (at the moment) not from the Netherlands, but who knows!
Do you have any other upcoming live shows? Any other festival plans?
I am going to play In Germany (Wuppertal and Koln) and at De Parade (a big theatre festival from June till August with live music) in Utrecht and Amsterdam this summer, I love this festival, so I’m really looking forward to it. September is going to be the kick-off of my album tour, so between 14th of September and 21st of November, I will be playing throughout the entire Netherlands with Popronde.
What/who else influences/inspirations would you say play a part in the creation of your music?
Music is in everything I think when something happens in my personal life, it can lead to a song. When something happens in the world, politics, news, society. All things that have an effect on me (positive or negative) are translated into music because that’s a big part of me in expressing what I see and feel.
What’s next for HEBE?
For now sharing more music and video’s of my upcoming album, hopefully inspiring and touching people and of course, play a lot of shows this fall.
And let’s dream big, hopefully in the summer of 2018 a lot of (international) festivals and my own club tour around Europe. Stay tuned!
HEBE’s single ‘Take Him Down’ is available now.