Like most things that make life worth living—the comfort of family, the compassion of friends, the rolling of ocean tides, the pervasiveness of the moon—the essence of music is truly inexplicable.
Songs can remind us of a memory of a person, a place, or a time where we were at ease in our own skin. Why do you listen to music? Why does anyone make music? What attracts someone to a certain song or lyric?
For Anna Müller and Paul Wallner of HVOB (Her Voice Over Boys), the pragmatism behind creating music for the sheer bliss of it is clear. Since their inception in 2012, they have aimed to energetically fuel this art form with nothing but love and perseverance. Anna, who began her music career when she was 15, attests to the long and rigorous journey she took to afford this path. And Paul, claiming he never had a plan B to music production, now upholds this practice by maintaining his firm mentality.
While the crux of the music industry lies behind rose-colored glasses, in reality, “everyday you need to say fuck off to somebody to make your own way. It’s really hard and it’s really exhausting. And if you’re thinking about a plan B, then it won’t work.” In lieu of being destroyed by the industry itself, HVOB have attributed their success to putting their heart and soul into creating reflections of their inner workings. With music, everything else is secondary.
Ask any artist and they will tell you that the music calls to them, entrancing them in a cocoon of an unsullied invention. Analogously, Anna of HVOB sits in her quaint home in Austria with no schedule, no agenda, and no expectations. Once the melodic outlines are set, Paul dawns the skeleton with flesh and life through heavy beats and a captivating bass line. While the duo works mostly asynchronously from one another, the end product is always tweaked slightly in order to keep the sound alive. Creating a piece that is both dynamic and novel has never been an issue of HVOB, as they embrace varying approaches to music creation and progression.
Much like their latest album SILK featuring Winston Marshall from Mumford and Sons, the journey is “never the same”. Winston, having heard the mastermind behind “Azrael” (from HVOB’s sophomore album “Trialog”), solicited a request to collaborate with the duo. While HVOB was initially hesitant to even believe the email, the partnership flourished after just one studio session trip to Vienna. By complementing each other through feminine and masculine vocals, SILK breaks down the barriers of a chorus-refrain arrangement while accentuating the natural progression of sound. As Anna and Paul explain, “it was a very special experience for all of us. We grew as musicians.”
As growth cannot be contained within a single track or stereo, HVOB has shared their magic with the world through shows around Europe, Asia, Africa, and the US. From small intimate club sessions in South Africa to large productions like Burning Man and CRSSD in San Diego, HVOB has recently traversed four continents in just four days. Under such vigorous tour conditions (no sleep and lots of traveling), the connection between artist and fan has never been more imperative. With the addition of a drum set, piano, and several other instruments on stage, the concept behind HVOB is translated into a multi-dimensional showcase. As a result, the ethereal energy that scours the crowd is vibrant, amorphous, and constantly changing.
Anna reflects on a recent show in South Africa where “the fans were singing every line and I nearly got emotional… we perform at least 200 concerts a year, but it never gets boring to me. It gives me the feeling of being on a different world. It catches me every time.” “Music is the most important thing, not the theatrics,” Paul adds, “We must do our own thing and we must do what we want.”
These songs we fill our early mornings and late nights with, we sing in the shower, and we recall memories by are all backed by an unfathomable amount of care and organic deliberation. So while artists like HVOB tell their story through evocative vocals and poignant bass lines, you as fans will forever fill in the spaces between.
HVOB’s SILK tour is now underway with upcoming stops in Turkey, Austria, Switzerland, Paris, Amsterdam, and many more. Check out the full routing below and be sure to follow them on Facebook, SoundCloud, and on their website.