Photography // Hs. – press.
Words by Mariana V. Honorato
We had the opportunity to interview the rising duo hs., just after the release of their latest single, Slip and Slide, a successful mix between pop and dance that talks about the complexity of relationships. Read the full interview to find out more about Justin Bjur and Alex Shane and get inspired by their plans for the future and their views on their partnership and works.
What’s the story behind your new track “Slip and slide”?
Justin – It’s kind of a story about relationships: it’s about wanting to have the best relationship one can have and the subtle complexity that connects people. The magic and beauty in that was what I was feeling when I wrote it.
Alex – For sure, and Ultimately the stories we tell are about the messy middle of human connection and the way we grow through the discomfort.
Listen to Slip and Slide while reading the interview:
Your alt-pop style mixes strong melodies and melancholic and evolving beats, resulting in a very particular musical experience. What do you expect your listeners to feel with your music?
Justin – I haven’t given it much thought, to be honest… but I suppose that the songwriting process is more about how I feel about the music. I work to feel a connection to the song, and once it has meaning to me, I trust that it will have meaning for the right person.
Alex – “I’m always trying to convey a sense of my most authentic self as well as the most authentic representation of the music I love. I am trying to express my own yearning for clarity and my hopes are that anyone that engages with our music is encouraged to do the same.
How does your creative process work?
Justin – One of us starts with an idea (melody/ rough draft/ instrumental loop) we’ve been vibing’ on and if we both feel energized by it we start sharing it back and forth and shaping it up. Often I’m sitting at the production seat and Alex is shooting off melody ideas. I can get a little crazy and spend unhealthy amounts of hours working on getting the feeling right. Since we work remotely I often will be sending Alex updates on production stuff and he will be giving feedback to help get the track refined. When we have something good it usually takes a couple of weeks to finish something up to mostly done.
How did you decide to create the hs. project together?
Alex – I was living in Portland and Justin moved into the spare room of the house I was moving out of. Justin started sharing some of the music he was working on and I was hooked. I was doing my own sad boi songwriter thing for a while and I had some songs I was really proud of but wasn’t doing much with them haha. Having grown up together we had mutual respect for each other’s projects over the years, so we clicked musically very quickly. After a few months of writing every weekend, it just became self-evident that we were starting a project together. It wasn’t a conscious decision to form a group we just materialized.
Justin – I’d been working as a producer and songwriter for a few years before working with Alex. I was in a duo with a soul singer called Adam Knight. I was responsible for all the production and would often have a big hand in the songwriting. When I moved to Portland and started working with Alex on the weekends, we had really great chemistry that had us writing a lot of material at high consistency. When we started writing Over It our first release I knew that we had something special and I felt like we needed to have a release under its own project name. We both were not sure if the new project was going to stick but we knew we had a song we were proud of so we made sure both our names were tied to it.
Photography // Hs. – press.
What’s the best part of being a duo and having a musical partner by your side?
Alex – For me, it sounds cliche, but I think Justin helps bring the best out of me and I help bring the best out of him. With the music we are putting out now I feel like we are really stepping into our own and we’re at a point where our creative flow is locked and are putting forth our best sound to date.
Justin – It’s great to have someone that you can bounce ideas off of. you know that saying two heads are better than one. I personally like to say two heads are better than one, especially the right ones.
What are your biggest references and inspirations in the music industry?
Both – Collectively we share a love for artists who create music they are passionate about, even if that means putting their art at risk of failure. Often time has a way of rewarding those individuals with the stuff that we call timeless music. Were fans of those artists.
Some artists we dig: Justin: Neil Young, Prince, Bob Dylan, Ray Lamontagne, Joni Mitchell, Iron and Wine, Bon Iver. Alex: Circa Survive, Kacey Musgraves, Rüfüs Du Sol, Lord Huron, John Paul White, Chet Faker
Can you share with us your plans and dreams for the future?
Take over the fu****’ world. Hahaha seriously we both just want to be making music for a full time living and ideally, it connects with a bunch of wonderful people from all of the world. 🙂