HEKA are back with their brand new track, Umami.
Released on the 25th of November, HEKA have paired breathy yet powerful vocals alongside strong, seductive instrumentals. The result? A dark synth pop, come alt-rock dream in only three minutes and ten seconds.
As it is their last release of the year, we thought it was time to check back in with our Bristol favourites. Speaking to HUB, on behalf of HEKA, lead singer, Anton, chats about their new track Umami, alongside all things identity and inspiration.
For those who don’t know, Umami (うま味) is a Japanese word which can be translated as “pleasant savoury taste”. So Anton, why did HEKA decide on the title Umami and what was the inspiration for the new track?
I was just singing “Umami” over the top of what we were doing and then I started to think about what it meant to me and how seductive I found the meaning. It made my mouth water so that got me on the path of senses, but the song sounded sinister as-well as seductive so I started to play around with the idea that Umami was reached through some sort of forbidden love.
Is it more of an individual process then, coming up with song lyrics and concepts for HEKA’s music? Not just for Umami, but for your other tracks as well?
When it comes to song concepts and lyrics, that’s one of the only parts of the process that I do on my own. I’m open to writing lyrics collaboratively but for us it’s natural for that part of the process to be done by one person.The instrumentation is purely collaborative. Either myself or Ben will start with an idea that we’ll pass between ourselves until we carve out a mood that we like.
All your tracks seem to have a distinct mood about them, a kind of HEKA-only vibe. Do you think you have a band identity and, if so, how would you define it?
HEKA, to us, is a visual/audio representation of a combination of our influences. We’re all big fans of cinematic worlds and the moods they create. At this stage we’ve treated each song with its own individual identity, each with a video. I believe they all contribute to the bigger identity of what HEKA is & that this picture will become clearer the more music we release.
How did you go about deciding on the identity of HEKA?
It’s not something we consciously sat down and planned out. I feel like it’s inevitable that artists’ influences are represented within their own work but the fact that Ben & I share a lot of mutual interests helps – I believe this fuels the music that we write and the soundscape that comes from that.
So, would you say HEKA’s identity is fluid and dynamic or is it more set in stone the type of sound you want to create?
I see HEKA’s identity changing constantly, this is also something I admire in other artists massively. I like it when artists don’t just play it safe but keep pushing, reinventing themselves and trying things out even if it doesn’t work. It keeps things interesting for us too, repeating the same formula for a song or visual isn’t creatively stimulating.
Speaking of other artists, what three artists inspire your music making?
Bowie first of all because I’m not sure I’d be making music if it wasn’t for listening to him growing up. The Cure because there aren’t many better bands out there – they are so authentic, and Wild Beasts because album after album they amazed me and gave me faith in new music by showing that it can still be original.
Outside of the music industry, do you have any dream collaborations you would like to do?
The big dream would be to collaborate with an animator/director called Genndy Tartakovsky, who’s made shows such as Primal & Samurai Jack. Also collaborating with Ana Lily Amirpour, as she could make us a black and white vampire music video.
Collaboration is a big part of what we do visually. For the Umami video, we’ve collaborated with an animator called David Torre as we felt his visuals represent the mood of the track perfectly.
Do you feel visuals are an important part of telling the story of not just individual songs but HEKA as a whole?
The videos are very important to us, almost as important as the music. The videos almost pave the way for the image of the band.
Once we are back to an offline existence, do you want to gig? Have you already got a gig lined up?
Yes, we can’t wait to get out and gig. We have nothing planned as of yet but hoping early next year we can get out there and play some shows. We’ll keep you posted once we have a date in the diary!
We can’t wait for you guys to be back out there. I only have one more question: As you know, it is a very difficult time for the creative industries right now. Do you have any advice for aspiring bands wanting to break into the music industry?
Just to make music you would want to listen to yourself. Be patient, get it right and then get it out there!
Thank you so much for talking with us Anton. We can’t wait to see what HEKA brings to 2021.
Heka’s new track, Umami is out now and available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud and Youtube.
Keep up to date with important band news and groovy music snippets by following HEKA on Instagram @hekaband.
Ellie Potts is a Third Year Creative and Professional Writing Student and this years Vice-President
Photography provided by HEKA