Get To Know Hablot Brown [Interview]

Ian Hansen

Hablot Brown is a band that you can’t box in. They have their distinct blend of R&B and pop, but give it their own Hablot Brown spice. John and Austin Brown are twins and met Linus Hablot in college and formed the band and are now set to release their self-titled album on August 5th. Get to know Hablot Brown below:

You guys have had a consistent year with quality releases, take me through the sonic direction you guys are taking this year?

Austin: These are our first couple releases in two years. When we are thinking about the music as a whole and what it feels like and everything, the last EP was very introspective and serious. When we were going into Covid writing this album that is coming out in August, we wanted to just stray from that. We were in a different head space then. These first four singles, in our minds, were the best four corners of the album that we could have showcased what we have been working on the last two years. We wanted to showcase the different varieties. It’s a good indicator of what is to come on the project.  

Linus: We wanted to go in a lighter direction.

Austin: Our last single before the album, “Electric,” is another unexplored vibe from us. I think everything we do has that Hablot Brown pivot foot. This feels like Hablot. We try to step outside the box whenever we can and make it feel different but still feel like us. “Deep In The Night” had that poppier feel with that Hablot Brown pivot foot, and “Electric” is a completely new vibe. It is exciting seeing them all roll out and seeing how people react to these vibes.

When you guys formed this band, how have you guys developed your sound to where it is now?

Linus: We have been out here in Los Angeles for four years and we spent the first three years developing the sound together in the same space. Since then, we have our own lives and people we work with. We come together and share these new experiences and new ideas from other people. I feel like a lot of the sound growing is us growing as individuals.

Austin: The first three years, we were living together in L.A., and it was this incubation, where it’s like, “What happens when you put three like-minded creative individuals in one space with unlimited time to make music. We were just cooking, and it was just very natural. Let’s just make whatever feels right. Since Covid, we have all moved into our respective places in the city and were able to find inspiration without one another which was cool. So we would come together in the process of making the album and I’d be like, “Dude, look at all of this stuff that I found that I didn’t get to show you three weeks ago.” John and I are twin brothers so he and I have been growing at the exact same pace creatively. That was the first three years for Hablot, getting inspired by the same stuff at the same time. Now, Linus will come over after three weeks with a playlist full of inspiration.

How did the band form in the first place?

Linus: At a Berkeley pre-college program in Boston. In 2015, we were all there for the summer, and we all met there. We went our separate ways, but a year later, I had to leave Singapore where I grew up and spent a week at their place in Massachusetts, and we made our first record.

What is a typical studio session for you guys?

John: Since Covid, we have our new spot so we have the ability to utilize our full live room which has been great for this album. We have had the ability to record drums which is great and have a space to create. We have a full upright piano in there now so sometimes Linus will get in the studio and start something on the piano or we will start with drums.

Austin: I feel like before Covid, the routine was very routine. “Let’s get in the studio and do what we’ve been doing.” Since Covid, it opened the floodgates of no routine, no expectations, no concept, and let’s just make noise the way people traditionally make music. We have the ability now to record as a band. Recording in a live room at a studio is tough.

Linus: It has changed a lot over the last couple of years though. As you get to know one another and gain more trust and confidence in everyone’s ideas, it changes the way you cook. I feel like now there is so much trust and respect. We can just do our idea and throw it on the track.

Austin: Our first year in L.A., we all had our respective jobs in a studio session. John was the guy who had the rhythm section locked in. He would be shouting out rhythms, and Linus was making these lyrics and melodies, and I was off tracking guitars and bass and doing the production stuff. Now, Linus is a full blown keys player. John plays guitar. Everyone can do whatever, which is a way more liberating way of making music.

Going back to the new album coming, what do you want your fans to grasp from it?

Austin: Sonically, I want people to hear it and be like, “There is still more to uncover.” We can still add on to these inspirations that we all know and love. You can take things and still make it new. There is no glass ceiling when it comes to sonic creativity. You can always change what people are expecting from you. With the technology that we have now, you can record drums, guitar, bass, and vocals just like The Beatles did 50 years ago, but then you can take it into Ableton and just flip it and do otherworldly things. That’s definitely something I want listeners to notice. It’s similar to what we know, but it is still different, modern, and unique to them.

Linus: Lyrically, I feel like it is a place of openness and enjoyment. I feel like in the past, the lyrics had the intention of being introspective and creating this mental dialogue. I want it to be a good time, but some of the songs are still quite sad or emotional. I feel like I naturally write emotional stuff. We have seen how it translates live, and we want people to have a good time. We will still have meaningful stuff in the background, but we want people to vibe to it.

How excited are you guys to get back on the road and connect with your fans in person for the tour?

Austin: We have already performed songs from this upcoming album three or four times now. Playing this new music for people, we are already seeing how people are reacting. We played a little showcase in Los Angeles over the weekend, and the first couple of singles, people are singing them. It is translating live, and people are enjoying it. I can’t wait to see it on a broader scale.

Linus: You really get to see where we shine when it is live for sure. I think listeners that see us live versus listeners that haven’t, definitely have a different experience.

Austin: That is home base. We are all so comfortable on our instruments, and I feel like that is where it all boils down to. Seeing a band where everyone is on the same page is awesome.

What’s next for you guys? After this tour and album, where do you guys see yourselves in 3-5 years?

Linus: A couple more records and a couple more tours.

Austin: It is really just about the music. There is no game plan. Let’s just keep making music that we love. Hopefully that takes us where we want to be. Where we want to be is just being able to make this music perpetually and keep rocking out.

Linus: I want to keep making more and better music.

What do you guys do to escape and find inspiration? What do you do in your free time?

Austin: It’s funny when the hobby is music. Golf has been a nice release. I need an outdoor activity. John and I love golfing.

Linus: Tennis is great, but also seeing other live bands is great too. Whenever I see other people live, it’s like, “Okay, I need to go home and figure it out.”

Who’s the best golfer between you guys?

Austin: We all have our strengths.

John: I think Austin plays the most.

Final question, what is a message to young creatives to motivate them?

Austin: There are no rules. The only person that can tell you that you can’t do something is yourself.

Linus: Everything you think you won’t enjoy creatively… I’ve enjoyed so many situations I never thought I’d enjoy. You just have to let things come to you.

John: Move at your pace. There are people that will be moving at their pace. You shouldn’t hurt yourself over that.

Austin: Do it your way. That is what is going to make your thing special. Especially in L.A., where everyone is doing the same thing your way.

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