Interview: will hyde on with u in mind., mental health and launching his solo project.

Melbourne’s will hyde (stylised lowercase) has officially released his highly anticipated debut EP with you in mind. (out now). The incredibly personal pop release is the first chapter in this 20-year-old’s solo pursuit, featuring hits “easy for u.” and “dark until september.”, all birthed through heartbreak and self-discovery.

hyde’s production background from his past project SŸDE puts him at the forefront of the DIY-pop revolution. Sonically, the EP explores different pop facets, drawing similarities to the work of Dominic Fike, Troye Sivan and Mumford & Sons – a scope that hyde pulls off effortlessly.

With comparisons drawn between big named acts, it comes as no surprise that hyde’s confirmed to be working alongside Creative Director Stefan Kohli, who is the creative mastermind behind Jeremy Zucker, and has previously worked with Mac MillerAriana GrandeLANYLauv, and more.

This EP is merely the beginning of an epic journey. We managed to nab some of this rising star’s time to talk about its release.

will hyde. You debuted your first single a short while back in June and have since released three more tracks in quick succession. You’ve surpassed 1.3 million streams on Spotify across just four songs in four months. And now you have the sheer audacity to drop an epic EP. Are you kidding us?!

yo! that’s me. hello AU review:). well thank u for the hype up!! i appreciate that. yeah, i wanna keep releasing super consistent! i think for me, i define success as being able to continue to make/release new music. after i released “easy for u” back in june (which honestly feels like it could’ve been yesterday or two years ago – it’s all a blur) i realised how cool it was that people could relate & connect with the content in the lyrics. it’s awesome to be able to make something which could help someone & now i think that’s what i wanna keep trying to do with it all.

Despite being in the middle of Melbourne’s lockdown, it sounds like 2020 is turning out to be a somewhat successful year for you!

it has been really good for me in a way honestly. i have been able to be by myself & just make a lot of new music (my favourite part is being able to take my time with it) – it has also been the time i have released everything. it makes remembering when the project started a lot easier, that’s for sure!! i think that if u can make things work during these times, everything else is a walk in the park in the future!

You’ve come from a producer background into a singer-songwriter space. Was it nerve-wracking to put your own voice in your work or have you always been a singer?

i don’t think i’ve ever felt too nervous about doing it actually – i’ve always wanted to be a singer since i was young. when i was like 10 – 15, i just couldn’t bring myself out of my comfort zone to try it. being a producer made me find more confidence in myself as an artist & also realise that music could be a career too. so when i finally stepped into the singing/writing role, it was a lot more natural. i think the biggest change i’ve felt is really backing myself & the words i want to say with my writing. i have my own style of doing it & i’m learning it’s different for everyone.

Talk to us about your journey to this point: was launching a solo project a no-brainer? Or did it take a lot of deliberation?

it was a bit of both!! i was making music for a while before the solo project even became a thing. crossing over to the point where i was like – this is where i have to go – took a minute. i didn’t wanna let people down because i was apart of another project at the time! i just realised, at the end of the day, when i retire & i’m chilling on my porch, it’s gonna be me that i’m left with. so i gotta follow my heart & do things to make myself happy – not others!!! at that point, i realised i just had to do it. then i made sure i was working hard so it could eventuate into something :). lots of sessions, times when it might not have worked out. I’m grateful the people that are with me stuck with me.

Mental health is rightfully top-of-mind at the moment, and we value your openness on the topic. When you’re in a funk, what steps do you take to help feel a bit better? Are there specific songs you like to listen to?

well thank u! it definitely is, i agree. thankfully we have a movement happening where everyone is starting to want real feelings & real talks around anxiety/depression etc. i think it is amazing that there’s a change happening to make social media & the world in general a more conscious place. so, my steps to get out of a funk are: 1) i try to realise that me resisting the funk is causing the funk. if i just say, u know what, being sad is okay – the suffering leaves with it too! 2) i meditate. this is a big one for me. it has saved my life many times. meditation aims to focus the mind – it declutters the thoughts that probably won’t ever happen. 3) i go for a run. this is dope because running/walking stops the part of the brain that causes anxiety. science! woo. 4) i talk to someone. this is pretty important. it’s high up on the list because it takes the weight off. unfortunately i sometimes internalise it & keep my problems to myself. when i do this step, everything gets easier. we’re all on our own journey – i hope this could help someone?

Your EP, with u in mind, covers a variety of pop sub-genres in the space of six songs: “easy for u” is reminiscent of 5 Seconds of Summer meets Troye Sivan – classic pop with solid guitar and quality synths. Meanwhile, “dark until september” is a bit more folky, more Mumford & Sons. “meant to be” is darker, “misfit” is more Lewis Capaldi meets Sam Fischer… but all sit cohesively together and oozes your individuality. It’s refreshing to see such a showcase! Was it difficult deciding which songs made the cut for your EP?

thank u sm lovely humans!! these are all amazing artists & to be compared to them is always a huge compliment, so thank u again. it was difficult particularly because the project had no backbone to really base things off. that makes it hard to really pin down anything – i knew i wanted dark until september to come out, yet sonically the other pieces needed to come together. i think when it feels right, it’s definitely RIGHT. so trusting my gut has been a big thing. my process with cutting songs for body’s of work is usually picking the songs i think are the absolute best. then i put the best songs into a folder & make something with those.:)

You’ve worked with some incredible collaborators already in your career. Who’s one person you were amazed to be in the room with?

i loved being in the room with Matt Corby because he is just a really talented human. he can play everything & i think his mind ticks in a way which is super abstract for the world we live in today. it is always cool to pick people’s brains who have had crazy spotlight on them & learn from their experiences too. i got to work with him & Alex Henriksson (who is another amazing collaborator i have been able to work with). they bounce off each other really well! we were in a jungle! okay i’m rambling now.

Who are you eyeing off to work with next?

i wanna work with BIBI from South Korea, she’s a KPOP star & i wanna do a song with her. also jeremy zucker & chelsea cutler & lany.

For musicians starting out in the music scene, what’s one piece of knowledge you’ve learned about the industry you wish you knew when you started?

oh, this is such a great question!! there’s a lot of things i would say – 1) be nice to everyone (seriously, it’s the only way to last in the industry for a long time & also, just do it because it’s the right thing to do lmao), 2) work ur ass off. work harder than anyone. that’s what i do & it has worked out okay for me so far. u gotta really want it & be hungry for every opportunity. there’s some tough challenges the music industry will surely put u thru, if u want it enough, those won’t ever deter u!! 3) the wisest human in the room is the one that is asking the questions! learn from everyone & anything. collaborate. find ur crew that makes writing feel safe. ask as many questions as u can. every day i am trying to learn something new. 4) have a strong idea of what u wanna bring to the world & why. true satisfaction comes from inside, streams & success never change how u feel internally. so, what about music interests u? what do u love about ur favourite song? is it hooky, honest? lastly, i believe in u, so go kill it. honestly, hard work is all u need. there’s plenty of room in the music industry & a lot of great people – enjoy the process & hopefully i can ask u about ur journey some day in person!!

will hyde, thanks for your time – heartbreak has never sounded so great.

love u humans. this was great, i would love to do another one in the future. thank u for ur time & ur thoughtful questions!! also if ur reading this, keep reading the au review they have some great articles. okay bye love u

will hyde’s with u in mind. EP  is available to stream on all platforms NOW.

Main Image Credit: Joey Knox

Tait McGregor