Luke Steele and Jarrad Rogers are taking the musical world to another dimension with their exciting new collaboration H3000. The two met by happenstance, a divine intervention from the melodic gods, and have worked together to produce their forthcoming self-titled debut album due for release on September 17. To describe H3000 would be like trying to describe the way a constellation forms in space — it is cosmic, visceral, ignites the senses. Combining a blend of sounds and influences to create something totally unique, this dynamic duo is designing a space for themselves that is entirely their own.
H3000 has successfully released a series of singles over the last few months, including Running and Human Heart, both of which perfectly encapsulate the appeal of this talented pair. The two wanted to create music that explored the human condition in the modern world, and everything from their promotional photos to their brilliant music videos serve as a building block for this foundation.
House of Solo Magazine had the chance to speak with H3000 about the intention behind this collaboration, how they found their sound, and what it’s like to work with Andrew van der Westhuyzen and the Collider team to construct a music video that brings their world to life.
Both of you have well-established music careers and have individually found success in your previous endeavors, but I was wondering if you could tell us more about how the creation of H3000 came about?
We met at Henson Studios in LA. That place has everything! Adventure, excitement, and stories…a lot of stories! After that dzay Jarrad began filtering tracks to me and we sort of just started throwing things at it. The process was all pretty effortless. I don’t remember much, which is always a good sign.
As you were in the process of building this musical partnership, were you always in agreement with one another about the direction you wanted to take H3000? Did you know from the offset that you wanted the music to sound a specific way, or was that something that unfolded gradually?
The direction is the direction and you can’t stop that. The power of music is quite the enigma. You begin, and if the waves keep breaking you keep riding them. It’s that simple and that complicated in one.
Your debut album is slated for release on September 17, 2021. What can you tell us about the construction of this album? I’m so intrigued by the blend of sounds and influences you’ve put together—how do you know, as you’re working on each individual song, when you’ve arrived at the right version?
We both have our influences and sounds we love but it’s only when the music is flowing when you get to step those things into the right light. I think you know it’s done when you feel satisfied listening through other people’s ears. You’ve explored the places it can live and you’ve found home.
In addition to encompassing these totally one-of-a-kind instrumentals blended with synthetic overtones, the songs have such captivating lyrics. Did the two of you write the lyrics together? I know from previous research that Luke had written Running about a personal tragedy, but I was curious as to whether the remainder of the songs were a collaboration of writing.
The lyrics became my domain but we both connected on the themes of it all. The issues of the songs are deep, but I tried to construct them in a way [where] they were relatable and not too heavy for people.
Speaking of the emotional and personal nature of the lyrics for Running, I was wondering if Luke could tell us more about the experience of writing from such a vulnerable place. Did you find it cathartic?
I always find writing cathartic and especially [with] songs like Running. It’s a vessel to let go of things. Sometimes in life you feel cornered, like you are powerless, trying to sing underwater. You talk to people, but people have lost patience. They see Grace as a business model or Empathy as an icon of promotion. Music is the pure art, it’s a gift to be able to express the deep issues of the heart.
The visuals you’ve created thus far have been absolutely incredible. For Running, I read that the video was built with gaming software Unreal Engine. Can you take us through the process of building this futuristic world? What were your first thoughts when you saw what Andrew van der Westhuyzen and the Collider team came up with?
Andrew is incredible. He’s a rare artist. I’ve worked with a lot and he is definitely one of a kind. He is very specific with the design, its dimension, the intention and its feeling as it crosses over you.
You’ve teased even more visuals that will contribute to the world of H3000 you’re creating, which should be available soon on Twitch. What made you choose this platform for your upcoming releases?
I guess platforms are everything these days, they are the vehicles. The car the music industry was driving for many years has broken down, burnt out, and sent to the wreckers. I suppose it’s exciting but also a little daunting. Some of the things people are doing to get their music heard has crossed some lines I never knew existed.
Jarrad has produced for some notable artists in the past, including Lana Del Rey and Rita Ora to name a few. Do you two have a dream collaborator you’d love to feature on a song?
Lana would be amazing, her voice is like a delicacy. Some Hyper Japanese Avatars would be cool. Miku still hasn’t returned our calls.
Now that things around the world are returning to a new semblance of normalcy, do you have any plans to tour over the next year or so?
To be honest I’m still struggling to understand what is happening, let alone tour. America played the pandemic like a videogame. Varying levels of doom and gloom with very little reward. I’m still trying to figure out what level I am on. Touring…I’m not sure right now.
Do you each have a dream venue you’d love to play one day?
My dream venue was always the Hollywood Bowl and a few years ago I not only got to play it but I sold it out. It was a dream come true for me. The first time I went there I saw Al Green and it was life changing. On stage there was this energy that was very electric but extremely calm and strong in one. It’s hard to explain, but it was deep. Maybe ghosts of the past… Lennon, Sinatra, all just hanging there drinking scotch enjoying the show.
I always like to end my interviews with one fun question, so: If you two were to create an H3000 graphic novel, what would you want the story to be about and which illustrator would you want to work on the project?
I think it would be a wild journey beyond the screen into another dimension. The next Chapter, the unknown. The artist would have to be Katshurio Otomo.