Bringing together lush melodies with clean production that will have heads turned with ease, Hugo Bladel presents ‘Feel the Love’. While we bunker down for the winter, the latest from the now Melbourne based songwriter pines for the warmer, blissful days of summer; putting that thumping bass line in the mix with Bladel’s smoking vocals in particular makes ‘Feel the Love’ an instant groover. We have a quick chat to Hugo.
Hey Hugo, thanks for taking the time to chat, how are you and what have you been up to recently?
Hi! No worries, i’m great thanks! I have just signed the lease on a new studio next door to my producer right in the middle of the city in Hobart – so I am very busy going about moving in and setting up my new creative space! Lots of soundproofing and decorating amongst preparing for my tour with my new single and launches next week in Melbourne and Hobart.
Your music; it’s something we don’t hear everyday, combining Aussie hip hop with a slightly more soul, funk sort of stuff What inspired you to make the music you do?
I have always rapped although I’ve never really gone under the title of “rapper” as such. I learnt to freestyle rap with my older brother who is amazing and over the years I developed my skills whilst busking for the drunk crowds on Saturday nights outside the night clubs in Salamanca. In terms of the funk element – I was inspired by Nile Rodgers after seeing his documentary and coincidentally owning a ’78 Nile Rodgers Era Fender Strat – the funk just came naturally! In regards to the soul side of things – I held a residency playing at an RnB/Soul bar in Crown Casino where I would play in Duo’s with Melbourne’s finest soul musicians. All of these influences go together to define my style!
Do you reflect upon personal experiences and issues in your lyrics? Tell us a little bit about your new song, ‘Feel The Love’??
I do – my first single “Both Ways” was about a situation I had with a romantic interest who was travelling through and that brought up a lot of emotion and inspiration to write about. ‘Feel the Love’ is about being able to surrender yourself to a feeling and not being too proud to emotionally invest – something that I struggle with a bit as I travel around a lot is giving myself a chance to fall in love.
Check it out below.
How did you get into making music?
I learnt a few different instruments growing up as mum forced my brothers and I. She didn’t mind what we did, she’d buy us the instrument and pay for lessons but we had to be learning a musical instrument of some sort. My older brother was a big influence and he taught me the basics of music production and since then I fell in love with it after playing guitar and singing for a living for the last 7 years.
Who are some of your main influences?
Tommy Emmanuel was a huge inspiration for me as I developed my skills on the guitar – I learnt heaps of his songs when I was a teen and the technical difficulty really helped me to grow and develop my own style. Other big influences for guitar include John Mayer, Nile Rodgers and Tom Misch. In regards to singing influences I can’t go past D’Angelo and then rapping/hip-hop my main influences would be Brother Ali and early Hilltop Hoods.
There is a vastly growing music community in Tasmania with party in the paddock and such; growing up in Hobart, have you seen this community develop and where do you see it heading?
There are some amazingly talented artists down in Tasmania – as good as anywhere in the world. I think the main issue for Tasmanian artists is the lack of exposure and it’s easy to get a bit disillusioned with the industry when there’s not a lot of opportunity down here. I wouldn’t be in the position I am now without having done a big stint in Melbourne. I can see the music community growing pretty quickly though and there are some artists starting to break through on a national level such as Maddy Jane, Sumner and Luca Brasi. There is definitely enough talent down here and we are heading in the right direction though for sure.
How do you find playing he stages such as falls, in comparison to smaller venues? Do you feel your music better caters one over the other?
It was always a dream for me to play on a main stage at Falls as I have attended almost every year since I was a teenager. It was surreal being up there for the first time and seeing the crowd grow in front of me until there was a full blown moshpit! I believe my music caters well for both – sometimes it’s harder playing for a more intimate crowd as they are judging what you are doing with more attention to detail. On a bigger scale you are really there just to create a fun environment for the crowd and everyone’s energy is more contagious so you just have to put out good vibes.
Where would you like to see your music get you to in the next few years and what can listeners expect?
I would love to reach a million streams on Spotify in the next couple of years – I am releasing an EP just before summer this year with 4 or 5 tracks and I am very excited about these songs I am creating with KOWL my producer. We are discovering our sound and growing more with every session and I am super excited to share the new tracks with you all! The EP will cover the genres we mentioned earlier with Soul, Hip Hop and Disco being the main feature in the different tracks throughout.
Bladel will be launching ‘Feel the Love’ with an unmissable show at The Workers Club in Melbourne. Tickets here.