We had the opportunity to chat to HRTLSS — a Cambridge, UK-based emerging artist who’s emo R&B, Trap, Hip-Hop and Rock sound is inspired by the likes of The Weeknd, Chase Atlantic, Drake and the late XXXTENTACTION.
Over the years we’ve expanded the sounds we feature on our platform, however most of our day one followers know DiscoverNü was inspired by and begun because of the alternative/dark R&B vibes we discovered on SoundCloud and YouTube. Earlier releases by the likes of THEY., Darci, 6LACK, Always Never, K. Forest, anders, K-SI Yang and more played an integral role in our formation.
Despite the success of UK Drill, Afrobeats and Grime, there is a niche market for alternative/dark R&B here in the UK— especially in London and some parts around the rest of the country. Artists such as Taliwhoah, Eli Moon, Geovarn, RENÉ, Tadafi, Talitha and even recent find grysn.oir have proved that the UK has what it takes to develop a successful star too, however that style or sound is unfortunately overlooked. Cambridge-based HRTLSS is another artist on the rise, we feel he has a slight advantage, as he plans to combine sounds from other genres such as emo, trap, indie and rock to create his own unique alt-R&B sound. As the emo rap, alt-rap and cloud rap sounds continue to grow worldwide, HRTLSS is quite possibly the most likeliest candidate to really put this sound on the map here in the UK.
Read our conversation below.
Hello HRTLSS, how are you doing?
I’m good guys! Great to be talking to you.
Great to be talking to you too! What have you been up to?
Well I just released my fourth single ‘Poor Control’ and it’s well received so far!
Nice!How was your lockdown?
Enlightening *laughs*. At first stressful but then I realised I had all this music to just focus on releasing anyway so!
Did you learn anything about yourself?
Absolutely. I realised I was over working myself outside of music and life is too short to be a sheep aka letting society tell us we have to do things a certain way, settle down at a certain age, be part of the system etc! It made me realise at the click of a finger suddenly everyone’s in the same shoes, every one was kinda equal for a short while. That hit home for me. Made me realise I’m here once, I gotta make the most of my life. And I don’t go a second without picturing myself singing my songs to thousands of people chanting the words back at me. So I gotta just focus on making that happen to get what I want out of life. Less rat race, more music, more travelling, enjoying life!
Sounds like it was a blessing in disguise for you.Your sound is still rare over here in the UK, but massive in Canada, the US etc. What challenges do you face getting your music heard here?
It drives me to be the first to make it a thing over here to be frank. I say if you’re gonna dream, dream big. No one has done what The Weeknd has done over here. He re-invented the alt-R&B sound. Now I wanna do the same but I wanna do it for the emo heads that used to bump My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. I want to blend the genres. Networking with you guys has been eye opening for me because it made me realise there IS music companies promoting online and at concerts for artists like myself and others. I believe this alt-R&B world will be much much bigger in the UK in the next few years so it’s a great time to be laying my foundations.
Do you think alternative/dark R&B could be appreciated as much as genres such as drill, afrobeats, pop over here?
Absolutely. But who knows! I get why those genres are huge here, there very culturally relevant. Alternative/Dark R&B is just taking a little longer to kick off but UK are always a little behind *laughs*.
Furthermore, how did you get into that genre?
I was the guitarist and vocalist in a screamo band who did big things at a very young age. But when it collapsed (my fault for leaving the band), I struggled finding anything that inspired me! So I quit on even listening to music for many years. Couldn’t stand most pop music or radio stuff. Then I heard The Weeknd and it gave me a similar feeling as the old emo days, really hits those feels! So I picked up the guitar and began writing again being inspired by him and others alike.
These things happen for a reason.What artists inspired your sound?
Classics I’d say Michael Jackson, George Michael vocally. But what’s hot right now that I get inspo from! That would be Chase Atlantic, my friend Huntar, PartyNextDoor, Travis Scott, Bring Me The Horizon, XXXTENTACION.
You’ve just dropped your new single “Poor Control”, talk me through the creative process.
So ‘Poor Control’ began with the haunting synth / piano part and the beat. My producer and co writer who I work with on all my stuff showed me the beat. And I lay down this melody on the mic, but purely just humming and singing random words. And when we felt we had the right melody we then began writing the lyrics. And I knew it has to be about the subject I wrote about, it just has that dark ominous vibe to it!
What message are you trying to convey on the track?
So it’s from the perspective of an abuser In a relationship. It’s close to my heart and I wanted to highlight that abuse is never okay. I wanted to write from the abusers perspective because I thought it would be an original approach to the awful situation some people deal with. In fact a scary amount in this country alone.
What else do you have planned?
I have so much music to come it’s crazy. I’m gonna keep releasing, progressing and refining my sound. Growing the fan base and just start gigging / touring much like I did with my childhood band and get back to the life I’m best at!