- Zilka Grogan
A chat with Hydrangea
Earlier this month, French producer Hydrangea delivered us a mix that she described as a musical trip for a forest walk, crafting an inner journey that remains deeply connected with the surrounding nature. In this follow-up interview, Hydrangea tells us about her inspiration for the mix, producing music from her home in a wine region in southern France, and what 2018 has in store.
You’ve said this mix is designed to be a musical trip for one of your walks in the forest. How did you put it together? Was there a particular moment that inspired you?
Quite simply, during these walks I can reconnect with myself. These moments are pure meditation. That’s the same feeling as when you look at a beautiful landscape or a sunset, when the mind stops, where no more thoughts come to differ. Well, that’s what I try to share when I talk about an inner journey.
Then, the inspiration follows. These moments of well-being remain etched somewhere in the memory. Sometimes it’s just a matter of thinking about them, to be able to feel them back whenever it’s needed. I’m one of those who find inspiration by closing the eyes and letting the pictures scroll continuously.
You’re a relative newcomer to electronic music, getting started in 2014. How did the music catch your attention?
Since my earliest childhood, I’ve been pushed towards the music. My grandmother already cradled me with classical music, which certainly awakened my senses. Everything is always bigger with music. The senses develop, the eyes look deeper and it remains an inexplicable fact for me as it’s so magical.
For example, I started answering to these questions more or less in silence. But something was definitely missing. So once I’ve put on some wonderful music, the ideas all arrive much more and jostle. I’m not able to say anything about this fact, except that it’s something above ourselves and immeasurable.
Much of your work – as reflected in your name – is embedded in nature. Tell us about the area where you live and work. How has your natural environment influenced and inspired your work as a DJ and producer?
For those who follow me, it’s no longer a secret that nature is for me the most beautiful thing on Earth. Despite the passage of time, she’s still here, true to herself and in all her splendor.
So, I’m located in a small corner in the west of France, more precisely in a wine region. I have also my favorite place to produce at home. Always sitting at this table where, by turning my head to the right or to the left, I can look at my two pretty flowering gardens full of life.
I’ve not always been so in love with nature, I would even say that previously I paid no attention to her. But during difficult times of my life, she helped me a lot. And since then, she fascinates me more and more. She is now part of me as she inspires me that much and makes me grow everyday.
However, the places that inspire me the most are the mountains. I dream of living in them.
Deep and hypnotic Italian techno has also been a big source of inspiration. Are there any artists you particularly admire?
Indeed, and especially the album from Voices From The Lake on Prologue. This album changed my life, really. I can easily say that it’s my favorite album. It was like a huge turning step for me and the starting point for another path that brought me up to here.
The first time I listened to it, I remember I was stunned by the beauty of each of these tracks. It’s as if they’ve managed to transcribe musically things that I could never express before, like the sounds of dreams.
Even today, I listen to it very often and it always gives me so many shivers. I think they know it, but I really want to thank them for this gift from heaven.
Your output is quite impressive: since 2015, you’ve released an album on Annulled Records and a second self-released album, plus EPs on Accents Records and Two&Two Records, and contributed to a compilation from Silent Season. How do you maintain such a busy production schedule?
Ah, that’s strange because I think the opposite. I find myself too unproductive and would always like to create more. I always want to produce but sometimes I just can’t. Unfortunately we can’t control the inspiration and sometimes it’s important to think about taking some breaks as I’m doing right now. Just to make the point and move in the right direction. Everything in its time, as I often say.
Do you consider yourself more of a producer than a DJ? Do you have a preference for one or the other?
Producer for sure, that’s where I started. It’s also what I prefer as it allows me to fully express what I feel in any circumstances. But I must say that I appreciate more and more the role of DJ, through my shyness, to be in contact with the public brings an incredible energy. That’s really one of the most beautiful feelings.
In addition to your music, you also work as a graphic designer and photographer under the alias Horty Shooter, managing the artworks for different music releases and graphic art projects. Where might we have seen your other work as an artist?
I stopped working as graphic designer since I discovered the wonderful thing of making music. For now, I’m just taking care of the covers for Inveins that I run with my mate Elena Iusco. Otherwise I’ve another passion for about 10 years now – photography – which is as strong as that of music since I take pictures almost every day.
When I can’t produce and need new inspirations, I take my camera around my neck and go for a walk, observe and capture the surroundings. All while listening to music, obviously. For me these two passions complement each others, I couldn’t continue without having one of them.
If you wanna take a look, I’ve just created a new Instagram profile where I share some of my favorite shots I took: @aegnahyrd.
As you wrap up 2017, what’s on the cards for you in the new year? Any upcoming projects we should keep an eye out for?
Sure, there are many projects coming up for next year and the years to come.
I’d like to look into building a live set but for that, I take the time I need. In that way it reflects me as much as possible. For the rest, we will see in due time according to the course of events 🙂