In Conversation with Hoger

Following the success of his previous two singles, Hoger has released his incredible new single “Show Me How To Love”. The track deeply delves into the way that different perceptions of how to love can cause confusion and unnecessary heartache. Through interweaving an entrancing melody with his commanding vocal presence, Hoger manages to enthral in a seemingly effortlessly fashion.

However, behind the seamless nature of his music, he masks the hard work he’s put into his career. Battling societal expectations and common barriers that all artists have to push through, alongside his solo career, Hoger has been a songwriter for the likes of Yellow Claw, Cher Lloyds and Naaz. Additionally, in 2018, together with Sony ATV, he founded his own publishing company called Red Papula where he supports and develops songwriters /
producers.

We catch up with Hoger to chat about his latest single, journey so far & a lot more.

You’ve just released your brand-new single “Show Me How To Love”, how did the track come to be?

It was weird actually. Me and my beloved producer “Tev Woods” have been making a lot of music together lately (he was also responsible for my previous single). And one day we were just sitting in the studio and talking, because I had 0 inspiration and nothing came out of me. We were talking about anything you can possibly think of, such as: life itself, relationships (both romantic and friendly or family), stuff that’s bothering us etc. It was an emotional conversation where after we spoke about the hurtful feeling of loving someone someway and not receiving the same love back. These feelings, thoughts and lyrics we’re strengthened while we were laying down the skeleton of the production and gibberishing vocals.

The song is co-created (helped) by Kevin Muñoz, Aïrto Edmundo, Milan Pestel, my talented signee Renske te Buck and my beloved little sister Naaz. 

Why did it feel like it was the perfect track to be your first release of the year?

To be honest, I don’t really think about that. I try to create music based on the vibe that I’m in at that moment/period. Believe it or not, it took us almost 8 weeks to finish this song. It was just such a tense and emotional rollercoaster ride and we are so extremely strict on ourselves that we re-wrote and cut a lot of stuff before we got where we are with the song today. I genuinely feel like I should be able to release small bits and pieces of myself and my emotions during the year, no matter the time/month or season. If it feels right, it’s probably right. I’m currently in the mood/vibe of SMHTL and I finally feel okay with sharing these emotions with others.

What are you hoping people will take away from your new single?

That it’s okay to have these types of feelings and that communication is key. We’re only human in the end. Talk to your loved ones about what’s bothering you. Your perception of things could be way different than the other person’s perception/intention. Nobody is perfect and no relationship is too. That’s what makes it beautiful. Everybody has their own way of showing love and affection. There is no universal code of conduct to adhere to. Therefore it’s sometimes just as easy as it is extremely difficult to love someone, because we expect to be loved the same way.

Just because someone does not love you the way you want them to, does not mean that they don’t love you as much.

What advice do you have for any person planning to become a musician?

This is solely my personal opinion: Do it for the right reasons and for the right reasons only. Don’t plan to become a musician because you want to become rich and famous. That’s all an illusion. Heck, winning the lottery is probably easier haha. Lots of people really underestimate the work musicians have to put in and the sh*t they have to go through. Lots of people think we just sit at home or hang in the studio and make music, but in reality, we put in 60+ hours a week, have occasional mental breakdowns and a lot of ups & downs together with loneliness. Me and some of my musician friends have had lots of moments where we just want to throw in the towel and give up, but then we calm down, take a step back and remember why we do what we do: to express.. to help and inspire those in need.. those who are in the same position I was just a few years ago. Not being allowed to make music (the only way I know HOW to express myself).

So please only plan to become a musician for the right reasons. For the love of art, music, expressing yourself and inspiring/helping others and to transfer a specific feeling to your listeners. If your intentions are good: frikking go for it and don’t let ANYBODY stop you or try to keep you small.

What’s the most important thing for you regarding your music?

To be authentic, to create, to express and be my complete self and be fully invested + involved during the entire process. I want to show the world me: Hoger. Especially now in these difficult times with the pandemic. Lots of things that I’m used to be doing are off the table (for the time being). The only thing I can still do in full motion is to make music. And with this whole pandemic, it was especially hard to create a music video. So, we stuck to a team of 3 people: myself, the DOP and the gaffer. In the end, I had to co-direct the video and edit the first draft, because we couldn’t involve too many people. For this reason, I am extra proud to release this song and show the world what we’ve done.

How do you typically start writing a song? And, has your songwriting process changed over time?

Usually, the first hour of a session is to chat with everybody in the room. We talk about basically anything and sometimes an idea comes out of that conversation. We kind of set the mood unintentionally by doing this and then we start playing some chords on either a guitar or a piano. When we have a basic skeleton of a “production”, we usually just press record and sing a lot of gibberish. Think of like 5-10 full takes. After hopefully having some cool melodies, we basically cut and paste bits and pieces of melodies throughout the song. So this melody could be a verse, that melody could be a pre and that one could be a hook and so on. When we’re all happy with how it sounds,THEN we start the actual writing process after which we record all the vocals.

Usually, we let it sit for a while and then we focus on the production which we build around the vocals to create the final idea or demo. In some cases, it’s a quick process and in other cases, it takes ages lol. It’s all part of the process!  I’m just lucky to have so many talented friends. In this song’s case, we sent the demo to Milan so he could record some drums and percussion and we sent the vocals to Aïrto so he could record the vocoder part with a real vocoder. My sister Naaz put in the finishing touch with the Middle-Eastern vibe bridge part. 

Your visuals are always so striking. I’d love to hear about how they come to life.

Thank you so much! That’s so nice to hear! Well.. I am a HUGE movie freak. I’ve probably seen more movies then I’ve heard music lol and I’ve always wanted to be an actor growing up. So with that in mind, I always try to create a song as if it’s a soundtrack to a (short) movie. I need to be able to feel as if this song that I’m making could be used for a Netflix show or movie haha. Aside from that: I personally hate performing in a music video. It just takes away the magic for me and it makes me uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong though. I perform in front of my mirror all the time, but when it comes to music videos, I just want them to be short movies. The visuals need to accentuate the song, the lyrics and the story I’m trying to tell.

Therefore I put a lot of time and effort into the process of making a video. Plus: maybe one day a director will see one of my videos and will make one my dreams of being an actor come true haha.

Finally, with the current climate in mind, what are you binge-watching right now?

Great question! Me and my lady actually binge-watch a few shows at the moment: “La Casa De Papel”, “Friends”, “The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air” and I personally am deep into the “The Last Dance” documentary. I just love La Casa De Papel. It’s cinematography is just beautiful. This alongside the intense dialogues and tension. It’s a work of art!

Friends is basically my favourite show/sitcom of all time. I’ve probably watched it back-to-back 7 times already and I still watch it as if it’s the first time. I still laugh, I still cry and I still want to keep watching it! It’s the best show and if I ever have kids, they will grow up watching Friends.

The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air is my second favourite show/sitcom. It’s just so good! The storytelling, the humour, the realness. It’s still relevant in 2020 and that’s what both makes me happy and angers me.

The Last Dance is just too inspirational. Michael Jordan is such an icon and I looked up to him. Especially after this documentary. The number of setbacks, triumphs followed by new obstacles and setbacks is tremendous. He basically shows how hard work and dedication (aside from talent) can get you extremely close to your goals. No excuses, keep grinding and never give up. Beautiful documentary.

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