Sometimes you stumble upon songs online that you just can’t stop listening to. This happened to us in March when we first heard “Dark Days” of HUGOwho’s debut EP “I Am Not Hugo”. The description on his SoundCloud profile was different to anyone else’s: “I am not Hugo. We all are. Hugo is the reflection of the desired present. The person you want to be. The inner self that is too scared to come to the surface. The utopia society says doesn’t exist. We come together through music, through fashion and through the magical world of art. Hugo’s goal is to offer a shelter of individuality, rebellion and freedom. Hugo’s purpose is to achieve a blank unity where every being can be themselves and live a positive, inspiring and fulfilling life. I am not Hugo. We all are.”
With this in mind, HUGOwho could not fit more for a Hope Through Music interview. On top, he just released his new single “Holding On” which we would love for you to listen here. Now, please enjoy our little chat with HUGOwho:
Hi Hugo! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. How are you today?
Hey there, I’m doing very fine, thank you. I’m just in Switzerland visiting family and friends.
You say “I am not Hugo. We all are. Hugo is the reflection of the desired present”. Would you mind telling us when Hugo first surfaced for you?
Music to me was always the most natural way to connect with people and with my emotions. Hugo was always here. It’s the desire to live life in a way that speaks to your soul.
Looking at the world right now, I think we all need Hugo more than ever and art offers the possibility to reflect how people feel in times like these. Do you remember the first memory that is connected to music?
My first memory that connected me with music was definitely Elvis Presley, as my parents always listened to him in the car while driving. I remember all my 3 siblings singing to it. It probably sounded horrible for my parents. but after a few years of listening to the same Elvis songs over and over again we couldn’t help ourselves, so we just sang with him for hours, even though we didn’t even understand what he was singing about lol.
You live in London, but you are from Zurich. Did moving to London, being the city it is, influence you and your art in any way?
Definitely, that’s why I moved there in the first place. I felt stuck living in Switzerland, even though I travelled a lot these past 4 years doing sessions and stuff. I felt like I need to break out of my comfort zone in order to inspire myself again.
London is very fast living, everyone is very self-absorbed, everyone and everything is exchangeable when it comes to sex or love. Everyone is struggling and circling around themselves in order to survive. That was hard at first but It definitely gave me my drive back. I struggled a lot being lonely, not finding my tribe. Since I am quiet an open soul, and do consider myself quiet easy to connect with, I kind of failed, and still am failing living in London. I have the urge to connect with people in deeper meanings, I’m bad in doing small talks, and that’s how I felt most of the time, to live in a small talk bubble, where there is no room for emotions, weakness or heart-feelings. But I made peace with it and in a way it helped me creating “Another” my 2. EP and gave me more time to reflect on myself as well.
You released your first EP “I Am not Hugo” in 2014 and with it came quite some success. In a world in which social media presence is more important than living in the here and now. How do you work with the pressure that comes along with being an artist and being also a social expert?
I’m so far away of being a social expert. I just want to create and maybe something I create will connect with someone. That would be nice.
The mission of our website is bringing people together with the power of music and letting them share a story to a song that is connected to something special in their life as a song that helped someone might be able to help someone else too. Is there a specific song that helped you and would you mind sharing the story?
I love that. yea! I think, for me, the artist what touched and inspired me the most was definitely Anthony and the Johnsons, nowadays better known as Anohni.
There was this song called: “Hope there’s someone” I remember hearing that, 10 or more years ago, and it encouraged me so much, not just lyric wise, It opened up a whole new emotional universe. It was like I saw the sea for the first time in my life and realized there’s so much more. Probably cried for the first time in ages, because i felt every single letter, I literally found someone who set my heart free! in this beautiful song. It separated my fear from going through music with my emotions, As I never felt as a “good” singer. But that’s where I realized it’s not about that at all; it’s about creating something so raw and truthful, so whether people like it or not, nobody can take it from you anymore, because it’s your own truth, you let it go and it will live forever in that moment.
Do you use other artistic expressions next to music and in your opinion, what makes music so unique?
Well, I always knew I’m an artist, I probably tried everything to find the right medium or output to share my energy and art with the world. I started painting when I was around 4 I think, and dancing around 7.
I grew up very privileged, in a beautiful environment with super supportive family. They saw from a very early age that I was different. And supported me and my creativity from the very first beginning until now, I feel very blessed having them.
Even though it was hard in Switzerland, because you get put on a path from a very early age, doing something useful, what fits in society, to blend in ideally in order to get good status and money. I never could relay to that. I always saw the bigger picture and it was clear for me to do something I can feel happy about and grow every day from it.
That’s where it lead me through studying fine arts, dance and drama, and finally to music. So definitely tried a lot of other artistic expressions, but everything I learned flows into my music and vision around it. Next to the music I create a lot by myself, from the very first sketch of the artwork to the final edit of the videos. on my way it also helped me find other people from other artistic fields to connect and create with. I felt very fortunate to work with Markus Rico a visual artist from London who helped me create the visual aspect of “Another” for example. That’s what Hugo was all about at the first place; to build a community of creative minds, to inspire each other and create something unique and powerful.
It seems like one the one side there are people who say music saved my life while on the other, people deny that music itself has not the ability to save someone. Would you mind sharing your own opinion on this?
Well, I don’t see why this shouldn’t be the case. I think there are loads of things what saves or inspires us in dark moments. The beautiful thing with music is, its universal language. I do think music has the power to heal. But since everything and everyone is individual there are other things who might work better for each one. Like a book, love, nature or just a tiny little moment you felt connected to the universe, where you felt everything’s going to be alright. That’s what we should hold on to and be more aware of; The unique individual positive little things that makes us alive.
Before we come to an end. Is there anything you would like to say to people who are struggling at the moment?
Just focus on the positive, don’t be afraid of being truthful to yourself and always keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s how you get to the bottom of everything. Time is just another energy, and everything can heal in time and will make sense in the end if you keep on going forward. Dismiss everything that doesn’t speak to your soul!