hiio Interview (2014)

Together with Felguk and Moska, HiiO is leading the wave of a new generation of South American producers. The duo of Nico Hamuy and Ortzy have been working together for just about two years, and thanks to their quality releases and active touring schedule they are becoming one of the rising talents to watch on the international scene. If you haven?t heard their music, take a listen to ?Rock and Roll,? ?I?ll Be There,? ?Waiting for the Night,? and ?Something about You,? and you will see why they are ones to watch for.

RS: How did the two of you meet up?
Ortzy: He used to live in Buenos Aries and I used to live in Colombia. We were introduced to each other by a mutual friend and officially met over Skype. We decided to start working some parties together and here we are a year later.

RS: Before that you were both producers in your own rights, was it a challenge to go from being a solo to a duo?
Ortzy: Yes, definitely. Sometimes it is hard to make our different styles of music fit. I used to produce a lot of house and now it?s more electro and progressive house which is a challenge.

RS: Nico, what kind of style did you do before HIIO?
Nico: More progressive; and he did more housey stuff but everything goes together pretty well now.

RS: You guys live in Argentina now, how is the club music scene there?
Nico: It is amazing, one of the best crowds in the world. Every single DJ loves to come to Argentina and play for the crowds, they go insane.

RS: Now remember I am a dumb American, but I recently spoke to Mosko from Colombia and he said that most of the people there are listening to pop and reggaeton in the clubs. Are you saying that in Argentina people are into the whole EDM scene?
Nico: I don?t know if everyone is in to EDM but it is quite different from Colombia.

RS: You guys have been releasing a new song every almost every month, how do you keep up that kind of production schedule?
Ortzy: We only focus on making music; I think that it is the most important thing when you are a producer – to be making new tracks all the time. We try to do at least one track a month, we travel a lot, but thank god we have our mobile studio and we can make tracks anywhere. Sometimes it takes longer than a month to be released because of the record label’s schedule, not us. We try to make one track a month.

RS: What kind of kind of software do you use?
Ortzy: We work with Ableton. We have a lot of plugins but Nexus is our favorite, we use speakers from Mackie and work on a Mac.
Nico: It?s not a big set up, it is very simple.

RS: Strictly Rhythm is such a legendary heritage label, how did it feel when they picked your track ?I?ll Be There??
Nico: They are definitely one of the best labels, we feel great!

RS: When you work with vocalists like Max C or Abigail Bailey do you bring them in the studio or do you trade tracks back and forth?
Ortzy: It was back and forth because Abigail lives in London and Max C lives here in the States. Everything is by eMails and Skype; we just send things back and forth and run ideas off each other.

RS: It seems like a lot of South American producers are on the rise, I am grouping you all together with Felguk and Moska. Why do you think the South American producers are coming up right now?
Nico: I don?t know, I can?t really say why that is.
Ortzy: I think it is because of social media, everything is so connected right now so you have the chance to work with DJs across the world using your laptop or Skype. It?s really cool that you can live in Argentina, Colombia, or Brazil and make contact with DJs and record labels across the world. It hasn?t always been like that and I think that?s the key.

RS: If I listen to your Elements radio show is that close to what you play in your club sets? What is the difference?
Nico: Yes, and we also play tracks that we love and some new stuff on there. Some of the tracks we don?t play but they are just good sounds for the radio show.
Ortzy: All of the tracks that we play live we include on the radio show, but like Nico said some tracks are not the style for our live shows but we like to show our fans cool music that is not necessarily electro or progressive house. Sometimes we include tech house tracks and other genres from different artists to try something different.

RS: How much of your live show is your own production?
Ortzy: About 30 percent, in two hours we play 5 or 6 tracks.
Nico: We play a lot of our bootlegs but sometimes we play other people’s productions. It really depends on the gig, if we are at a festival we choose tracks that fit for the festival and that same thing goes for the clubs.

RS: If you could work with any producer as a collab which producer would you want to work with?
Ortzy: Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano.
Nico: Yes, they are some of my favorite DJs. Steve Angelo is my favorite but there are so many good DJs out there. We love to do collaborations and love mixing our style with someone else?s. Right now we are doing some really cool collaborations with some DJS that are not our style but we fit the styles together.

RS: Can you say some of the people you are working with?
Nico: We are working on a new one with Chuckie, we have one with Albert Neve who is the Spanish DJ that did a remix with David Guetta, Abel Ramos who is a Spanish DJ as well, and we have a new collaboration with Jonathan Dish who is a Dutch DJ that is really talented.

RS: If people want to follow you what is the best way?
Ortzy: facebook.com/HIIOmusic, instagram.com/hiiomusic?,twitter.com/HIIOmusic and soundcloud.com/hiio.
Nico: You guys can send us messages, comments and tweets; we love to interact with our fans.

RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Nico: Get ready!
Ortzy: Yes, get ready for us; the next year will be big!
Nico: Yeah this year has just started and we are working on some really cool projects with music, gigs, management and booking agencies. We have a lot of stuff ahead of us and we are growing fast. Thank you so much to our fans, we love them and it?s all about them. They show us so much love and it is very special for us.
Ortzy: We are here because of our fans and everything that we do is because of our fans!

Interview conducted March 2014 during Miami Music Week.

Notable Dance Podcast #024

Empire of the Sun – DNA (Alex Metric)
Tensnake ft Fiora – See Right Through
Bondax – Giving It All (Friend Within)
Devoluton – Admire
Cold Blank – Louder than Bombs (Chrizz Luvly)
HIIO & John Dish – Rock & Roll (Original)
John Dahlback – Amedei
Foxes – Youth (Danny Howard)
Chase & Status ft Moko – Count on Me (Original)
2 Unlimited – Get Ready (Steve Aoki)
Dehasse – Carnival De San Rafael
Sean & Bobo – CS (original)
Henrik B, Niklas Gustavsson, Peter Johansson – Echoes
Gabriel & Dresden ft Neil Ormandy – Tomorrow Comes
Ghost Beach – Miracle (Nathan C)
Stonebridge and Caroline Damore – Live Life

SONG OF THE DAY: HIIO & John Dish – “Rock & Roll”

There is a certain big room electro sound that has been overly-prominent lately. A sound or sample becomes de rigueur and suddenly every track on the beatport 100 seems to be using it (see Daleri’s “Mashleg” for an extreme example). What sets a producer apart is a new sound, vibe, or influence which brings a fresh taste to their track. South American duo HIIO have been on a rampage this year with a slew of club tracks featuring quality vocalists and elements of soul and gospel for a different take on big room electro. For their new track “Rock and Roll,” they’ve teamed with rising producer John Dish and added an element of ’90s dance music that has yet to be explored in the current flashback meme – euphoric sounds a la Rollo/Faithless. If you listen closely to the synth line you will hear the big room sounds inspired by the early epic classics like “Insomina” and “Salva Mea.” What this has to do with the sampled vocal, I am not sure – but the contrast makes “Rock and Roll” stand out from the majority of tracks being churned out by the pack of EDM producers on an hourly basis.

Image Courtesy of CR2 Records.