Will Hyde, a 21 year old artist from Melbourne, releases his stunning and heartfelt debut EP with u in mind today. His first EP as a solo artist, previously part of the hit house duo SŸDE, this body of work channels Hyde’s deeper feelings as his voice soars over pop-infused beats. The switch in genre was a natural one for Hyde, the vehicle of pop allowing his message of comfort and camaraderie to reach more people than house alone allowed. The emotion is continually visceral, Hyde lays it all out, and in doing so invites the listener to do the same. We caught up with Will to chat about becoming a solo artist, how his mental health has been faring over lockdown and what affect entering the music scene at 15 had on his adolescence. The resulting interview is disarmingly and beautifully frank, showcasing that when it comes to baring his soul, there’s nothing this artist Will Hyde.
Hey Will, how are you? How has your day been so far?
Yoo humans!!! I’m doing good, thank you. My day has been productive, I meditated, filmed some video stuff, had a very deep conversation with a friend of mine about our mental health at the moment and watched the David Attenborough documentary (very alarming). What about you? <3
Yeah good thanks! Not as productive as yours I don’t think! So where are you at the moment? What’s your lockdown experience been like?
I’m back home in Melbourne, Australia at the moment, with my family! My lockdown experience has been very interesting. I’ ve grown a lot, realised a lot of attachments I have and I’ve also been able to make a lot of music. Fortunately, I have a studio set up here, so I’ve been able to make music for most of the period. Mental wise, I’ve had some days where I feel very anxious, on edge. For the most part, meditation has kept me level and I’ve found a lot of inner peace. I have started journaling, which has been very good for me – I feel I can say more on paper, sometimes I avoid facing the harder emotions, like fear and anger, but writing it down really takes the weight off. I also walk a lot more, go on runs and spend time reading.
So this isn’t your first foray into music, having been part of the successful house duo SŸDE. Talk me through your journey from SŸDE to Will Hyde.
Foray, I like that word. i’m gonna start using that, thank you ;). Well, SŸDE was an awesome experience for me, I think I got to use it as a training ground for a lot of my music making process, production and just general experience being in the industry. It felt nice to be around people who also did what I loved. I think where I started to see an end for my time in SŸDE was when I didn’t really feel like it represented who I was as a person and an artist. A big part of me maturing was realising I didn’t have to make music to please other people. I was making music that I knew people would like, whether it be my managers or just people who had heard our other stuff. So, I really started to feel a shift in who I wanted to be as an artist. That unfortunately just didn’t align with the vision of the group as a whole, which is just how life goes some times. It was definitely difficult to let go of something that I had spent time working on for so long, it really led me down the path of – “why am i doing this?”. This project, the Will Hyde project, feels like me stepping into maturity and contentment as an artist. I’m ready to make music that is true to who I am as a person. That’s exciting for me. It’s refreshing because with everything I do, I can just be myself.
How does it compare releasing music solo rather than as part of a duo?
Honestly, releasing solo music is just a lot easier. Naturally, it’s just me that I have to deal with when it comes to decisions, so I find that everything is faster and more natural. There isn’t any conversation when it comes to finishing a record, I just do what I think would work best, then go from there! In that way, I think it’s the best thing and something I’m always grateful for. Control.
with u in mind is a 6 track EP. What story does the EP tell as a whole?
Yeah! with u in mind is quite scattered sonically. I think the first half of the EP shows the sides of me that wanna be energetic and eclectic then ends on the parts of me that wanna cry in the shower, alone. In that way, I think it’s honest. In terms of the writing, it deals with uncertainty, abandonment, moving on, new love and finding independence. It definitely sums up my time trying to find myself amongst a lot of turbulent feelings and situations. When you leave school, at least for me, it’s hard to think of the amount of moving on you will have to do from relationships that were once so stable. It’s a new world and a much bigger one too, so getting used to the coming and going of certain moments has become a lot easier to weather for me. At the start, that process was hard to get used to. I found it hard to let go.
What’s your favourite track on the EP and what does it mean to you?
I love ‘dark until september.’ I come back to it here and there as a diary entry for a time in my life that I’m proud I made it out of. When everything gets turned upside down, which happens at one point or another in everyone’s world, it’s hard to know who to turn to and how to get back up. This is that honest song for me. It doesn’t have a resolution, which is nice for me personally. Sometimes it’s the best to just be like – “i’m trying”, you know?
So you entered into the music industry when you were just 15. What effect did this have on your adolescence?
These are really thoughtful questions, thank you for inspiring me to explore myself! Honestly, being in the industry from a young age has changed me in every way. First of all, it made me realise I needed to overcome my social anxiety. I had struggled with that when I was younger and only found out about it later, staying inside my comfort box was something that I just wasn’t able to do in music. So, to cope, I went to therapy and really worked on my confidence and fears. This has made all the extra stuff around music so much easier for me. Working in music includes being a model, actor, performer and more. It’s really the combination of all entertainment in one thing. So, I really had to work on myself to get to the point of doing all these things. Now I’m used to being outside my comfort zone. It has also made me mature when it comes to business, handling money (I have learned this is so important lol), people skills etc. I am surrounded by people who are a lot older than me, so naturally I also tend to grow up a lot! My view on people and who I want around me has also changed. Music offers the opportunity to watch amazing talent have amazing success, however you also see how success can play out in negative ways if you don’t surround yourself with a stable network. I’ve been able to watch that with friends and just artists in general. It’s good for growing up.
You’ve said that you’ve always known you wanted to do pop, despite spending a long time making house music. What is it about the pop genre that speaks to you so much?
Yeah for sure! I’ve always loved pop music. I used to listen to Britney Spears and The Black Eyed Peas as a young kid, (‘Shut Up’ was such a banger I thought I was the dopest lil kid listening to it). There’s something beautiful about making songs that are relatable and also easy for a lot of people to understand. Pop music is good like that. It is becoming a genre that is real and easy enough to digest so the kids can learn from it and know they’re not alone. That’s really what music is all about, helping as many people as possible. for me, I say why not make pop music :)?
How do the two genres relate to each other for you? How different is it to play live? How does the atmosphere change?
I always love the mix between electronic music and acoustic instrumentation (guitars, real piano etc). I think there’s a line where they can co exist in a natural way. I think this project carries that a little and in some way you could say it is a similar base to what I did with SŸDE. There’s something nice about having big dynamic changes and being able to have a chorus that really hits. I haven’t played a live show for this project yet, however in my heart, I think it will be quite introspective and a safe space for people to come and cry with me. So I think it will be very different to the shows I played as a part of SŸDE.
Your songs have a mix of upbeat vibes and then some pretty emotional lyrics. Why did you choose this juxtaposition and is writing a cathartic exercise for you?
Thank you :). I think there’s something really nice about having the instrumental going one way and the vocals swinging the other. I like the fact that it creates an extra layer of depth to the song. People can feel it for the first time and then when they listen again they might be able to hone in on the production or the vocals. Hopefully it provides humans something more to bite into. Writing for me is usually quite a flowing exercise. I usually write songs in a really short amount of time, like 20 minutes or so. For me, if it’s not coming out really quickly, I like to change it up. I don’t wanna fine tune things or over think it! So, I guess that writing is a self care thing for my soul to keep myself free. I usually like to make peace with the things I write about before I write them so I can present an unbiased view on the story!
You say that you want people to relate to your lyrics, which is something you didn’t have when you were personally struggling. Is this still the case or have you found music that resonates with you?
Yes, I would love that!! i definitely have found some cool artists that feel really themselves and honest. Sasha Sloan, Jeremy Zucker, LANY & Chelsea Cutler are all really great examples of real people making real music. They are pretty honest about everything. Hopefully, I can help drive this movement that is already happening and help more people feel like there’s someone else like them going through a similar thing and that they aren’t alone. A lot of that comes through on social media too, so it’s nice to follow emotionally sensitive people that are sharing their feelings. The more we can change the landscape of social media for a place of honesty and integrity instead of a perfect image, the better! 🙂
Moving into Autumn, what’s your favorite season and why?
So funny you mention that, I was saying the other night to my family that I always forget the order of the seasons. Thank you for reminding me ;). I love summer and winter. Summer is a time for being with friends and at the beach. I love going for walks at night when it’s hot, there’s something really soothing about it for me. Winter time is also inspiring for me too, with the rain collecting on my roof and heater on, I think it’s time to grab my acoustic guitar!!
What’s next for Will Hyde? What are your hopes and predictions for the coming months?
I hope I can feel content and at peace with whatever is happening in my world. I think continuing down the path I’m going down would be great – I am meeting so many kind humans through releasing this music. I have an angel circle, it’s a community of humans where we share our feelings and try to help each other become better – I wanna keep building that, that feels fulfilling for me at the moment. Being able to be a part of other people’s journey’s is now one of my favourite parts of doing music! I hope that I keep making music, I’m finishing my next body of work and I am dropping merch too. I think towards the end of the year I’ll probably get ready for touring. Hopefully the world gets safe soon. However, I’m pretty content just making music for the moment.