We caught up with London-based, Australian-born musician Hopium as he puts the finishing touches to his newest EP. The singer/songwriter/producer’s signature sound blends melancholy lyricism with an entrancing digital soul, a formula that resonates with people regardless of which side of the Pacific you’re on. We asked Hopium if he’d been seduced by London’s streetwear scene and how far he’s come from the sleepy suburbs of Melbourne.
Thanks for talking to us, you’ve had a bit of whirlwind year, going from putting out tracks independently to signing with a major label. Can you give us a rundown of your journey as an artist so far?
When I was in Australia I worked full time and music was always something I did on weekends. When I had my music sampled by some big American artists, I thought: fuck it, I want to do this full time. I was petrified but I packed up and bought a one-way ticket. I travelled through the US doing sessions with anyone I could and ended up in the UK after a year. I signed a publishing deal; then made my EP and in December last year signed with Warner. I'm excited to get more of a platform now and hopefully make some music that moves people.
You’ve worked with some great producers like Snakehips and Levi Lennox, what can we expect from your upcoming EP?
Actually my next EP I produced entirely with my friend and producer Benj Miller. It's pretty break-up themed, or at least around the ideas of loss, loneliness and rebuilding.
Your tracks mix emotive and personal lyrics with an intrinsically digital sound, was that intentional? Do you think it’s an important balance to maintain?
In terms of the lyrics, I believe in vulnerability as strength. However, although the words are always drawn from real life. I'm usually creating a character or story that's the more extreme version of what I've experienced or seen. As for the production, they're just the sounds I like right now.
Growing up what did you record collection look like, are there any artists you think have had a big impact on your music?
I always loved The Beatles. As an emotional teenager, I loved The Smiths, Kate Bush, The Cure. Then I got really into Kanye.
You’re an Australian native, what’s some of your suitcase essentials whenever you cross the pond to stay in London?
I am Australian but I live in London! My wardrobe has definitely got more English since being here. More tracksuits and puffers lol.
You’re from Melbourne, how does a typical day there differ to how you spend your time in London?
I've only been back to Melbourne twice since leaving 2 years ago. But it's obviously so different when I'm back. I'm among all my old friends in the places I knew.
Looking at your Instagram, it looks like you’ve got a bit of a penchant for retro sportswear - we’ve seen you rocking Air Max and vintage tracksuits. What are some of your favourite pieces/brands?
I love my Air Max, I also have the Kappa/Gosha collab which you probably saw. I also try and wear my adidas snap pants but then I don't get let into any clubs....
What does this month's sneaker rotation look like?
I've been wearing my Bata Heritage sneakers a lot. I also have some golden Air Max.
Have you got anything excited lined up for the summer? Can we catch you at any festivals?
This summer I want to travel as much as I can! Ideally while I make music. Maybe to LA. I have Field Day tickets and might go to a festival on a lake outside of Berlin.
Hopium's new song, Sunglasses is out now