Monday 13 February 2012

Hyro Da Hero // Interview & Review

“Once in awhile, an artist steps up who doesn’t quite follow the cycle. He doesn’t pay heed to “what’s cool.” He doesn’t give a shit about “Who’s hot.” He doesn’t follow the zeitgeist but, rather, the zeitgeist follows him.” 
Hyro da Hero's biography

Meet Hyro Da Hero- the Houston born rapper who’s doing things his own way. His debut album Birth, School, Work, Death sound has been described as "like Nas fronting Rage Against the Machine"; the metal MC is modernising hip-hop as you know it.
Est.1987 caught up with Hyro Da Hero ahead of his headline show at Leeds Cockpit to talk all things touring, getting his message out there, oh and Cadbury’s chocolate!

Heya! How’s the tour been going so far?
Amazing! I’m having fun. It’s my first headline tour ever; I’m having a great time and it’s a great feeling. It’s [the support bands] Astroid Boys and Marmozets first time touring too and it’s tripping me out; I’ve got my backstage pass with my name on it and I see them walking around with it all proud, rocking it on their chest. It’s an amazing feeling and I’m digging it, it’s awesome.

What can we expect from your live show- do you always have the same band out on the road with you?
Hyro Da Hero on stage at Leeds
Well, one of my band played on the record, Daniel, but then I have J. Clarke from Pretty Girls Make Graves, Josh, Daniel’s friend from Seattle, Kelli Scott from Failure, he’s drumming with me on here. It’s an amazing thing; we get here on stage and it’s pure craziness and insane energy. See, if you don’t put your energy out there, then the fans don’t feel it and get bored easily. And, even if there’s a crowd that might not even be too crazy, I’ll go crazy because that’s just what I do. It’s really different from me chilling; when I’m onstage I’m a different person.

You’re from America- do you see a difference in audience when you come over here to play?
We were just talking about that earlier. The only difference is like London and LA that might be more “cool people” crowd and they just sit and listen, and New York is the same. You go to another place and they just go butt wild and crazy, they mosh and do it all and I love that feeling. The UK crowd go crazy and I always have a good time when I’m here.

How are you finding being in the UK- Are you used to the cold weather yet?
The cold weather is a whole other story! I’m from Houston, Texas- we don’t got snow and all of that stuff. I love it because I get to style, put on my jacket and layers; I love that whole vibe. I can chill, put on my cool clothes, but it’s freezing on my fingers and my toes; I never knew my feet could get frozen.

After the UK you’re heading to Australia to play some festivals. Are you looking forward to it and do you like being out on the road?
Hyro Da Hero
I’ve never been to Australia, it’s going to be a trip, and of course the sun out there so that’s more my vibe and I can get out there and get warmed up. I’m going to be on a main stage too so that’s a lot for me, as a rapper. I never thought in my life that I would be doing this. Like, I just went to Scotland the other day! I’ve been to Scotland three times; I never thought I would go to Scotland! I was just rapping the rap and now it’s something bigger than I thought.

Now people are rapping it back at you.
Yeah, now that’s a trip to see people rap the words; older people, younger people, the music’s reaching anyone and everyone. That’s all I want to do is get my message out there.

You’re from Houston but moved to LA. What was the scene like growing up- was it Houston that inspired?
Yeah LA is totally different, you got different styles. In Houston music is more of our culture, it’s the clothes, our cars; a chilled kind of culture and that’s what I grew up on. It was a lot of materialism stuff but I got to roll with my people, I love that stuff. Right now, hip hop took on a Houston form where you got ASAP Rocky and Drake, they got the whole Houston vibe going and as long as you give props back to the city then it’s all good. Houston had that vibe and then I came out to LA and it’s more battle rap and MC this and that and underground music. It’s totally different for me, I don’t really get down with hardcore rap like that, but I still love it. I mix all of those elements in my music, because in mine, the music has to be good. There has to be a bounce to it and good rhythm to it and my lyrics have to spit, so real MC’s can respect it.

You have quite a unique style- did you find that voice straight away?
I always wanted to send a message. I always said that if I’m going to make a song then it has to have a message in it because there’s no point in making a song without a message. I look up to 2Pac and all his music was his emotions and he went through a lot of s**t. I mean, I’ve been through s**t but I don’t know if I’ve been through what he went through. Whatever you’re going through then put your emotions in and I think that’s missing in hip-hop at the moment; everybody is too cool for school. You don’t really hear rappers scream but I’ll be screaming, I don’t give a f**k.

Leeds Cockpit 
Before rapping you were really into basketball- could this have been something you would’ve done if you hadn’t got into music?
I would’ve seen myself in basketball. I always wanted to be a basketball player, but my little brother had that talent and he plays for The University of New Mexico; he’s a college basketball player doing real good out there. Me, I could never really listen to a coach, I couldn’t listen to anyone tell me what to do all the time. Every time the coach was screaming at me I’d scream back and then I’d be sitting on the bench and then can’t play the game. So, I play street basketball and all that. Rap, I just felt it, I like talking and putting my message out there so it helped me a lot. So, I see myself doing this and if it wasn’t this I’d be a doctor or lawyer maybe.

Your album “Birth, School, Work, Death” was produced by Ross Robinson who’s worked with the likes of At The Drive In and Korn. What was it like being able to work with him?
It was crazy, he digs into you and gets your mind flowing. One thing he does is ask crazy questions that have no answer; he puts you on the spot. He gets your mind flowing because you’re searching for answers and it opens you up. He has a great way of producing and making sure you get a certain sound to give it that live feeling. That’s why the CD has so much energy, I wanted to make sure it’s loud and in your face. It’s not set to a counter, the temp is swinging back and forth to give you the fulfilling sound. We made six songs in one day, it’s pure energy and everyone was so talented. I had Paul from At The Drive In, Mark and Cody from Blood Brothers, Daniel from Idiot Pilot and them getting in the room together making music was amazing and made me lift my game up.

I saw that you apparently like tea and chocolate? So, what do you think of our British tea and chocolate?  
Lots! I’m drinking British tea all the time; all day every day especially because of my voice. Then I’ve been mixing it with the chocolate, what’s it called again, the purple one? Cadburys. Oh my goodness, that’s so good, it is so good! I’ve been trying to get my fitness going on but that might be my messed up part right there. Tea, chocolate, Jack and coke, that’s my diet and I’m good.

What else do you have planned for 2012?
Australia and think I’m heading out to Japan and I’ve got The Warped Tour in America and then I’m going on tour with this band Mindless Self Induglence in March. I’m a busy man but I like to be busy. I love being on the road.

And here's what happened when Hyro Da Hero took to the stage...

Hyro Da Hero
Hyro Da Hero is a man that definitely talks the talk, but how will his live show fair against the backdrop of the crowd here at Leeds Cockpit? His opening certainly is empowering enough, using the famous Charlie Chaplin speech from the 40s film The Great Dictator. The heavy guitar riffs kick in and Hyro Da Hero’s vocals capture album track “Ghetto Ambiance”.The performance is tight and together; main man Hyro and his band working in sync, yet nothing seems rehearsed or staged in their set. Both the band and Hyro instigate an intense energy as they take to the stage, forcing the crowd to surge towards the stage.
Hyro Da Hero at Leeds Cockpit

Hyro plays off the crowd; “Put your middle fingers up” he demands and as the crowd comply he bursts into “Fuck You (Say It To Your Face)”. Tracks such as “Beam Me Up”, taken from the acclaimed album “Birth, School, Work, Death” are played alongside Hyro’s previous mixtape tracks, such as the catchy “Dirty South Rock”.

Post-hardcore screams are blended with heavy riffs and witty rhymes.  The set definitely wouldn’t have that same excitement and rawness to it without the full backing band and DJ, but it is Hyro’s charisma and self belief that drives the set.
Hyro Da Hero is in his element up there on stage and the additional energy that the band brings only adds testament to the success of the metal/hip-hop fusion.