Halou is just one of those bands that seem to instantly bewitch anyone who hears them. While listening to Halou’s music, I’ve had friends and co-workers ask me what I was listening to, or better yet, ask if they can borrow the CD. I exchanged a couple of e-mails with Rebecca Coseboom, Halou’s vocalist, asking her about their new album, their new label, among other things.
Halou’s been around for some time now, in a few different forms. What’s the current lineup, and how did it come about? What were Halou’s origins?
Halou is Ryan, Mikael, and myself. We were all in a band called Anymore together with some other folks. While recording an album for anymore, Ryan and I began recording songs for a side-project that we called Halou. Mikael loved the songs we were recording and helped engineer and mix some of them for We Only Love You. He became one of us for Wiser and I think his influence can be clearly heard.
It’s been a few years since your first album (We Only Love You) came out, and it seemed like you’d been working on Wiser forever. What caused the delay?
We had no label to put it out for us!
How did the recording for Wiser differ from that of We Only Love You? Were there any conscious decisions about what you wanted to do differently with the new album?
By the time we were ready to record Wiser, our equipment had vastly improved. Another thing that changed is that we began recording demos of each song before finalizing the versions. The music is more spacious, I think, because instead of adding more noise to the demo versions, we reverse-engineered them, stripping elements away.
Wiser’s sound is definitely very lush and polished. How was it recorded? What kind of equipment do you use?
For the actual recording, we used Pro Tools and a G4. As I recall, Ryan’s favorite noise-making elements on the album were a Triton and his Nord II.
How did your deal with Nettwerk come about? What happened with Bedazzled? Was the transition from one label to the other difficult?
Bedazzled went out of business so we set to looking for another label. We sent a package to Nettwerk and a few months later, they listened to it and wanted to hear more. It was gratifying because of all the labels who expressed interest, Nettwerk was the label I (and I think we) was most interested in.
Unlike some electronic acts that seem to thrive on the artificial nature of electronic music, Halou has a very warm, human feel to it. Is that something you try to consciously develop in the songs?
No, we’re just like that.
You seem to do a fair amount of live shows, which also seems kind of strange for an electronic-based act. How does playing in a live environment affect your music?
I don’t know how the music is affected. I imagine it sounds fuller. I’d like to think that we’re the type of band where you see us live and from then on you hear the album in a different context. I think it personalizes the songs a bit more.
What are some of the challenges of recreating your music in concert?
The challenges are all technical in nature. We usually know what we want the end result to be, but how do we interpret that with live performance? How do we break up this loop so Mikael can play it live? How can we change this violin part to be played instead by a cello?
What has been your worst experience as Halou? Your best?
I think it is wonderful when we show up to a new town and the club is full. It’s sad when that doesn’t happen.
What are your upcoming plans, with the new album out now? Touring? Working on a follow-up?
We are in the process of recording our next album (yet unnamed). We have limited the number of dates we are playing over the next few months so that we can finish recording in a timely manner.
What is the thing that excites you most about the music you make?
The idea that someone out there is listening to it.