Hozho is a Portuguese DJ/producer baring all in new EP ‘Troubles In Paradise’ which features a trilogy of tracks, each spanning a plethora of emotions and a meticulous approach to production emblazoned with Hozho’s signature sonic style; Melodark.
Donning his plague doctor mask, Hozho is also embarking on a current world tour, taking his Melodark grooves to the masses and even making his recent debut behind the decks of Germany’s Bootshaus alongside Stella Bossi.
We sat down with Hozho to get to know the man behind the mask a little better and discuss his latest body of work.
WWD: Hi Hozho, thanks for joining us. Let’s take it back to the start, what are your earliest memories of music?
Thank you for the invite. I was born in 1993. My older brother (9 years older) played an important role in my musical influences. Ever since I was a child, I used to listen to what he listened in the next room on an old stereo. So, in the late 90s and early 00s I grew up listening essentially to Nü Metal bands like Limp Bizkit, Korn, Linkin Park and System of a Down. To this day, these bands are still an inspiration to me and it’s a genre I love to listen to when I’m not in the studio.
WWD: Congratulations on your recent single ‘Troubles In Paradise,’ what was the inspiration behind the track and how did it come to be?
This track was developed from one of the dozens of projects I started in FL Studio but I never finished. One day I was listening to the unfinished projects I had and this one stood out from the others, it had a bassline that I loved. At the time, the name of the project was Troubles In Paradise so I decided to keep that track ID and create a story around that name.
Why Troubles In Paradise? Well, one would think that now that I have gigs all over the world, tracks with millions of views and streams on global platforms, that everything is fine and that I live a good life. And I do, but it’s not always like that. We all have everyday problems. This particular track focuses on the problems of a romantic relationship and that’s the main message of the track: “We started with a simple Hi! Why are we making this a complicated Goodbye?”
WWD: The single artwork sees you pair up with artist Laust Höjgaard. How did you first discover Højgaard’s work? And what was it about his style that inspired you?
To be totally honest, at first, I didn’t know of Laust Höjgaard or his work. The label for which I released this single and EP presented the idea of using his painting as an artwork. Initially, I was reticent about using a cover art that wasn’t my idea, because for me the artwork is a continuation of the song and I like to have control over the artistic process. But the truth is that I found Laust’s work interesting and confusing, maybe a bit disturbing. Specifically, this painting. And I thought that what can be confusing and disturbing for me can also translate for my fans and listeners, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it leaves the artwork open to different interpretations by each individual. And that’s what art is all about – not to be obvious, to let everyone have their own interpretation.
WWD: What has the response been like from crowds when you’ve performed ‘Troubles In Paradise’ live?
Amazing! There’s not much more to say. Anyone reading this can go check out my Instagram videos where I play this track in some past shows. I think a video is worth a thousand words.
WWD: You describe your sound as Melodark, what are the characteristics of this style? And which one of your tracks do you think best captures this?
All the tracks I produce capture the essence of Melodark. You see, for me Melodark represents more than just a musical genre. It has become an artistic movement with an emotional, motivational and overcoming message. I can describe it as a lifestyle and a philosophy. Musically speaking, Melodark can be identified by the symbiotic contrast between the melodies (melo) and the darkness surrounding the synths and basslines (dark), mostly based on a minimal techno beat, but not always. For example, one of the tracks of the EP ‘Wrong’ is very different from the essence of minimal techno, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a Melodark track, according to my vision.
WWD: We know you keep your identity masked behind the decks, but can you tell us something about yourself that we might not expect?
I think a curious fact about me is that despise producing electronic music, I don’t listen to electronic music too much. I like listening to other stuff because that’s where I like to get inspiration and bring some of those genres to what I do, in order to make my songs even more unique. So, it’s more likely for you to see me at a Hans Zimmer concert than on the dancefloor at Awakenings or Tomorrowland.
WWD: If you could go back-to-back with any DJ in the world, who would you choose?
I would choose my good friend and talented producer Black Hertz. Even though we’ve known each other for years and started our projects around the same time, we never had the chance to play b2b. A lot of people are waiting for this moment, but I know it will happen soon.
WWD: ‘Troubles In Paradise’ was the first installment from your 3-track EP under the same title which dropped on 16th September. For anyone who hasn’t listened to the EP yet, what can they expect?
My fans and listeners can expect a sequel of Troubles In Paradise. Musically speaking, the second track of the EP called ‘Paradise Circus’ will follow a similar record as the first track. This is a song inspired by the original track of Massive Attack and it has been approved by the crowd during my shows when I play it.
The third and last track of the EP ‘Wrong’ is different in all aspects. It’s a more experimental track, with piano sounds, orchestral elements and the amazing vocals of Odarka, a talented singer from Ukraine. It’s a song inspired by movie soundtracks, something I’ve always loved and that I wanted to try on this track. There’s a beat in the second part of the song, something that could be more related to my usual musical style but still… different! I can’t quite call how my fans will react to this specific song, but I feel like it was something I needed to create. We’ve also directed a music video for ‘Wrong.’
Overall, Troubles In Paradise EP is all about breakup. Each track represents a different stage at the end of a relationship. When everything seems to be going well, problems start to arise, ‘Troubles In Paradise.’ Then comes the grudge and consequent hurt and damage to the significant other, ‘Paradise Circus’. Finally, the realization that no matter how hard we try, the end is inevitable, ‘Wrong.’
WWD: How did you plan to celebrate the EP release?
The best way to celebrate is to play the tracks of the EP during my shows, feel the audience reaction and have fun. But I don’t think it should be a reason for a big celebration. Obviously, I expect a good reception from my fans and if the EP turns out to be a success, then I want to congratulate all the members of my team who helped the EP reach a higher level.
WWD: Along with the EP, what have you got planned for the rest of 2022?
In 2022, I plan to release my second solo album titled ‘Psychological Issues,’ and record my fourth DJ Mix. A collaboration with my friend and artist Droplex will also be released, a single track called Sitting In This Cage. Apart from the releases, I expect to continue my world tour until the end of the year, with around 30 shows across the globe.