Q&A with Hilang Child
Hilang Child is a half-Welsh, half-Indonesian singer, songwriter and soundscapist originally from South London though recently relocating to Brighton. Praised highly by the likes of BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and BBC 6’s Lauren Laverne, plus championed by The Line of Best Fit, Stereogum, Q Magazine and more, Hilang Child crafts expansive atmospheres with acoustic and electronic elements in piano-led, multi-layered songs.
His debut album ‘Years’ was released in August 2018 on Bella Union and as well as UK headline shows and festivals, live performances in support of the album included stops at SXSW (Texas, USA), Iceland Airwaves (Reykjavik, Iceland) and Archipelago Festival (Jakarta, Indonesia). Collaborators on ‘Years’ included producer-artist Kwes (Loyle Carner, Solange, Micachu etc), who helped on the mix and added touches to help complete the album. Hilang Child’s second album is currently in the works, while a collection of reworked songs brought together under the title ‘Stripped.Rebuilt EP’ was released in May 2019 on Bella Union.
What was the first record you bought:
I’m of the CD generation, so in that sense the first CD album I bought was definitely Hot Shot by Shaggy. Got my first proper record player when I was a teenager and the first actual vinyl record I bought was an old Fats Domino record.
Where in the world would you like to play that you have not already?
Japan. Bucket list stuff.
Who was the first band/artist you ever saw live?
I remember being taken to a gig in Crystal Palace Park when I was a toddler, it might have been M People? The main thing I remember is that I was wearing a bright yellow t-shirt that was attracting loads of flies.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Turning off my phone.
Who are your favourite writers?
I’m a huge Tolkien nerd. Loving Kate Tempest’s writings at the moment too. I was never a big reader when I was younger so am only really now starting to discover the classics, been going through Orwell and Huxley recently.
Who are your favourite painters?
My granddad. He did amazing watercolours and lino cuts. For some of my early demos CDs I used his work as the cover art. Also Arthur Rackham.
If you could collaborate with any other artists, living or dead, who would you choose?
Oh man there’s so many. Kendrick, Jonsi and Bjork come to mind.
What are you listening to at the moment?
The last show I saw before lockdown began was Orlando Weeks in Brighton, it was absolutely phenomenal. I hadn’t really listened much to the Maccabees and didn’t know of the association, so I wasn’t really clued up on any of the music. But since then I’ve had his Gritterman soundtrack on repeat. Also been listening through loads of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s NTS Radio mixes during this lockdown, they’ve really helped calm the mind.
Where’s your favourite place to go on holiday?
I go to Indonesia every few years to visit my family and I feel very lucky to be able to do so. The family is dotted all over the country so we do a lot of travelling around visiting everyone – Yogyakarta is my favourite city there. So chill and so beautiful.
Best advice you can give to emerging talent?
Don’t base the things you do on what you think people want to hear or see. Just do you. Be resolute in what you want and don’t settle for anything inadequate, creative or otherwise, just because you felt too bad to say no. Be proud of what you do. Challenge yourself and go out of your comfort zone, but remember that going out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to feel uncomfortable. Absorb as much art and music as you can. Don’t ever compare yourself to others. If something is not someone’s cup of tea, it doesn’t mean it’s shit. Don’t get carried away with praise. Listen to advice but don’t let someone else’s opinions stop you doing what you feel is right. Keep going.