Music possesses a captivating magic that goes beyond its fundamental purpose of enjoyment. It has a rare ability to form profound connections and mend broken spirits in inexplicable ways. Today, we venture into the mesmerizing world of Hruday, the dynamic and young artist hailing from the vibrant streets of Navi Mumbai, as he unveils the raw emotions and the thought behind his newly-launched album, ‘Finding True Love in a Brothel.’
As a passionate singer, rapper, and producer, Hruday fearlessly defies genres and boundaries, effortlessly blending the richness of his classical roots with the unbridled energy of the Indian hip-hop scene that courses through his neighborhood. His artistic journey has been nothing short of a cosmic odyssey, with an unwavering commitment to spreading his sound far beyond earthly horizons. With each soulful note he crafts, Hruday seeks to create a profound sonic legacy that resonates deeply with fans worldwide. His latest album stands as a testament to his musical prowess and serves as a mesmerizing example of his boundless creativity.
In an exclusive interview with Raptrill, Hruday lays bare his soul, providing profound insights into the conception and inspiration behind ‘Finding True Love in a Brothel.’ Delving into the stories that have shaped this transformative musical journey, he sheds light on the collaborative efforts of fellow artists and friends who joined him on this incredible project.
From celebrating past accomplishments to unveiling thrilling revelations of upcoming projects, this conversation promises an intimate exploration of an artist destined for greatness. Brace yourself for a journey into the world of raw emotions, unfiltered passion, and an unwavering commitment to the art of music as Hruday invites you to step into the universe of ‘Finding True Love in a Brothel.’
This conversation was edited and condensed for clarity.
Hruday Interview: On Creating ‘Finding True Love In A Brothel’
1. Was the new record in the works for a while, or did you start it in 2023?
“So basically, I’ve been conceptualizing this album for the past year and a half. During this time, I’ve been working on it alongside other projects like the Harman album. However, the initial idea for this album came after I released my mixtape, ‘Living in Denial,’ on July 30, 2021. This album can be seen as a spiritual successor to that mixtape. But, as life unfolded, I experienced some personal events that had a profound impact on me, leading me to develop a new vision. These life experiences inspired me to create this concept album.
In fact, if you look back, one of the singles, ‘05:10,’ has already been released in late 2021. It was a work in progress for this album. As an artist, I primarily identify myself as an album person, and I tend to release singles only in collaboration situations. I prefer the cohesiveness and depth that albums offer. This being my third album, it holds immense importance for me as it is my biggest and most ambitious project to date.
But to be honest, most of the intensive work, including mixing, mastering, finalizing tracks, and selecting the final tracklist, was done in the last 4 to 5 months. However, when it comes to conceptualizing the album and creating the songs from initial demos to the final versions, that process has been ongoing for one and a half years.”
2. Can you elaborate on the thoughts behind the album and share its inspiration? Additionally, could you walk us through the concept or storyline behind the project?
“Well, my main goal was to create a full-fledged pop album, but my journey started with hip-hop. As a classically trained musician for nine years, I wanted to experiment and blend my classical background with hip-hop and bring that fusion into pop music. This album serves as a Pop, R&B testament for me, and that was the central concept I wanted to achieve.
In terms of inspirations, I have a deep connection with Hindustani classical music, the Ragas, and the Thaats present in it. However, my exploration of international hip-hop music has also been influential. Artists like Kanye West have been one of my biggest inspirations. I’m also a fan of concept albums and have listened to a lot of Pink Floyd and Prince, both of whom I admire. Actually, it’s hard to decide whether I’m a bigger MJ fan or a Prince fan. Of course, I do have a bias towards MJ over there.
In more recent times, Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd have inspired me. And as a Pop, R&B artist, even Anderson .Paak has inspired me a lot. My musical taste is quite diverse, and I also find inspiration from various Indian artists, especially those in the Delhi hip-hop scene like DRV, Boyblanck, Qaab and the new wave artists in Delhi, they’re all amazing. In fact, I would like to say that there’s a phase in my life when DRV’s music kind of saved me. Also, the Goa Trap Culture from down south has been an inspiration.
Talking about the concept of the album, It consists of 13 tracks, divided into 3 sections: the first 6 tracks, the interlude, and the next 6 tracks. The album revolves around a character experiencing heartbreak, starting on a broken and depressed note. It’s somewhat linked to my previous project, ‘Living in Denial,’ and the story picks up from there. The basic concept can be summarized as coming out of hardships and moving on from love. Sonically, the album also takes the listeners back in time, transitioning from a depressed mood to a sense of liberation.
The closing track, ‘Dooba Dooba,’ is a celebratory pop banger. However, beneath the surface of happiness, there’s an underlying sense of dread as the character fears falling in love again and facing potential heartbreak. The album’s sonic progression is notable, with the first half featuring more organic elements and samples, while the second half becomes more synth-heavy and artificial, mirroring the character’s journey of trying to come out of the heartbreak and pretending to be okay, but not entirely sure if it’s genuine.
I would suggest listeners to experience the album both front to back and back to front, as it presents two different stories from different perspectives. As for the artwork, the album art is crucial to the concept. It features a painting called ‘Rolla’ from the 1800s by Henri Gervex. The painting symbolizes the difficulty of finding true love, with its metaphorical representation of a world resembling a brothel, where true love is scarce. The painting itself carries significance as the artist, Henri Gervex, faced criticism and banishment from society for promoting nudity and obsceneness, but after his death, this painting gained recognition.”
3. Can you tell us a bit about the musicians who joined you on the album?
“Yes, of course. The features play a significant role in moving the story forward because I treat each feature as a supporting character in the narrative. Most of the features are from my crew, the ‘NBS (New Bombay Syndicate),’ based in New Bombay. There are five of us: me, Hruday, Saatsoteen, Aneesh, Yung Sheesh, and Harman. Additionally, there are two female features, Leanne and Nishi, who are both amazing vocalists and my friends. Leanne sings in the interlude, while Nishi performs on the second last track, ‘Behal.’ I believe they have done an exceptional job on the album.
And for me, albums are like cinematic experiences, similar to movies. Thus, all the features should seamlessly fit into the narrative. It should not feel forced or underwhelming. The main motivation behind including these features was to enhance the storytelling, and I think each feature brings something unique to the table. I’ve made sure to highlight the best aspects of each collaborator, as I know them inside out from our collective work on producing, mixing, mastering, and recording. I carefully placed each person in the track where their sound perfectly complements the specific song. That was the idea behind having these features.”
4. It’s amazing that you were able to include people you knew and those within your circle, bringing a sense of familiarity to the project. However, you also incorporated elements that are underrepresented in DHH, such as using Bollywood songs. What was the thought process behind this decision?
“First of all, Bollywood music has always been relevant and inspiring to artists. Some people may deny it, but Bollywood has been a prominent influence. Because hip-hop in India has been prominent for the past 10 to 15 years, before that it was all Bollywood. And it has shaped the music scene and has had an impact on every artist in some way.
As a film buff, I have a keen eye for specific samples that evoke nostalgia and bring back memories associated with those songs or films. I intentionally chose particular samples for specific songs to convey a different message. For instance, in the song ‘Hareya,’ I used a sample from the title track of the film ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’ to connect with the movie’s plot in a subtle way. Throughout the album, I have used various samples to convey the story on the production end.”
5. Apart from Bollywood samples, you have blended numerous sounds and genres on this album. How did you decide which sounds you wanted to incorporate?
“So as I said, I aimed for a pop album; it’s more like an alternative R&B, Pop album, giving me the freedom to experiment with different genres and sub-genres. It has been a considerable amount of time working on this album, and for each song, I wanted to explore a different genre that’s connected yet distinct from the others. This approach aligns with the overall theme of the album, which takes listeners on a journey through time. It starts with trap music and goes back to genres like synth wave and disco, representing retro eras. The interlude is an orchestral ballad, deliberately breaking the flow, and it’s from the point of view of the female character.
So yes, I have experimented with various genres to create a cohesive yet diverse album that pays homage to different musical styles and influences.”
6. Which are your favorite tracks or songs from the album?
“Behaal, Rainbow, Tore Nain, and the Interlude have been in heavy rotation for me these days. They each hold a special place in my heart and represent different aspects of my artistic journey.”
7. What are those first few hours like after the album comes out when people are reaching out to you, and you’re seeing all these posts on social media?
“To be honest, it’s a bit strange, but I moved on from the celebratory phase of my album about two weeks ago. While numbers matter, and I’m glad to see that we’ve reached around 42K streams (to be precise, 43K streams) right now, but I’ve already shifted my focus to other creative endeavors. Besides music, I’m also an actor and director, so I have other projects in the works. While it’s amazing to see the love and positive response from people enjoying the songs, for me, the process of creating music has always been more fulfilling than the end result.
Nonetheless, I am incredibly grateful that people are enjoying the album, and their appreciation motivates me to continue working on music for the upcoming years.”
8. FTLIAB is indeed a very well-executed project both sonically and conceptually. Now, are there any upcoming projects or collaborations that you have in the pipeline?
“The album serves as an entry point for new audiences to explore my past music, and I encourage them to go back and listen to my previous tapes and songs.
As for the future, I have planned other projects that will be released this year. While I can’t specify the exact number or dates, I’m hoping for another album and some singles, but I don’t want to rush the process. I believe in letting creativity flow organically, ensuring that the upcoming work is authentic and true to my vision.
Additionally, there are exciting collaborations in the pipeline. I have already worked with 2facebleed, Boyblanck, Vasudev, Kritagya, aardicy, Goa Trap Culture, and there are some big surprises coming—possibly this year or even in the following year. I’m looking forward to building something new after this project. Let’s hope for the best in the future.”