Special Interview: Hugh Klein

Neo-soul out of Melbourne, Hugh Klein catches up with Brian Peel at THEAUSSIEWORD.COM

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

Started this wonderful journey writing for Film and Media – which I still work in now – Have moved through many sides of the music industry for years now- spent my formative years in studios as a producer/engineer – on touring and events – performing in multiple groups – mixing and composing all the way through. 

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

Really, what’s most important to me is having something to say – for me – production/composition and performing I feel is where I can best deliver that message. That’s the heart of it for me. I don’t really consider coining ‘great music’, as long as the intent is there, I’ll vibe.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

Before the world went mad, I was certainly in a place where I wanted to be focusing heavily on performing and touring – had to shelf that idea for a minute haha – though I still feel that’s going to be my main focus moving forward – working with a trio – live formats – sections of symphony orchestras.. all that nice nice.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

Along with the ‘No Plans, No Rules Album release, I’ve been dying to form this main trio and take this record live – I wouldn’t expect replications of the record though certainly some lush jam’s with themes and movements lived in the album.

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

‘Lead The Way’ is intended as a gesture of romance, affection, desire – building on the theme of the album which explores feelings of the rebirth of intimacy, pleasure and desire. Best played down low. I Generally avert from placing my sounds into a box – the album is like myself – eclectic – maybe chaotic? (Laughs) Moving from Jazz, classical/orchestral to RNB, soul feels..

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

Mostly feels. Growth and lessons that excite me. I certainly went through expansive phases of writing overly emotive music – I noticed I was fairly good at it – I remember playing to crowds of people crying – I  was moved – though that pushed me into a pocket of leaning on composing and performing sounds that evoke a little more elevation. I’ve always been damn privileged to work in stunning studio set ups – I’m almost never in there –  this album was mostly written on the floor.  

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 


Success, what is the secret to it?

I think success is too unique to the beholder to comment generally. I’d say, It’s entirely up to you.

For myself – It would have to be tied profoundly into connection. 

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Very tough question. Likely working with countless artists over in London at Red Bull Studios – I didn’t know it at the time but I was getting all the technical knowledge and understanding out of the way – once I gripped that – I then started to focus on music and composition as a medium to deliver a message. Not solely focusing on the trap of how that message is said. That was the largest distinction for me.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

J.Rakz – good-gracious that man has an incredible ability to perform live – I’m consistently inspired by his drive to complete projects – perform with eclectic groups – write across genres. What a man. That said, I’m mostly inspired by female vocalists – they just got that magic thang baby – Eliza, Ari Lennox, Little Simz, Lucy Pearl, Pip Millet-  all on repetitions rn.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

Just this album baby – No Plans, No Rules.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself in a few years?

This is true. I’m feeling I’ll fall more into the orchestral composition side of things in the future – I’ve always had a draw there and had to constantly refocus myself – for now my focus is on touring, becoming a better performer and just feeling that all out for now. 

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

Release days are the TOP baby. Remarkable energy these days. 

Let’s think – least favourite? Likely those seasons you have of not being deep into the music – it happens to us all – your interests scatter – your music taste turns to sh*t, your performing ability goes out the window. That’s life. You have to have the lows to have the highs. But you always come back – it’s always there.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Right now, I cannot miss a mention of Tentendo – just dropping raw heat. Komang is by far my all-time favourite vocalist I’ve ever worked with – ( that’s ahead of Seinabo Sey I may add ) – we have a drippin’ tune ‘Crisp’ out in May. – Special mention to C.FRIM who is responsible for my legs not working correctly this week after Pitch Music Festival.

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

I’m going to be honest here – the whole tiktok/content side of the music industry has recently been giving me the IKK – That said, different strokes hey? I’m comfortable in my lane and just sticking to the process and practice side of the artform. Listen up – as long as you make raw art there will ALWAYS be someone to consume it – whether it’s now, 5 years from now, in Japan, in Croatia? You really don’t have a say. Though that’s a comforting thought when you consider it. Focus on the intention, focus on the message.  

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

Lekker Collective (Label) have done the hard work pushing this record – all thanks to Donna and co. – I want to tour this album – in many different formats – so let’s see where this record lands and I’ll be there, sitting on a rusty guitar amp in sunglasses and a singlet sangin’ ma sweet heart out. 

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

I do. Komang is the only feature on the coming album – I wanted to reveal my own voice on this record first – though I expect to want to team up with more powerful vocalists in the future. Lets just put the feelers out there –  a manifestation perhaps – Jorja Smith – REFORM 702!!!?? haha – Cartoons – Celeste – Would have loved to work with Ennio Morricone (Italian film composer) though sadly he passed recently. Real love to Ennio.

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Stop watching production tutorials on youtube. Seriously – the less focus you have on the technical side of production and songwriting – the more deliberate you will be as an artist. Music ain’t about multiband compressors and auto filter automation – focus on what you want to say, no one could care less how you’re sayin’ it. Soundcloud demo’s proved that.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

Words coming in on these sounds so far have been REAL. So to that I say, all love. Thank you deeply for feelin’ it with me. Always open for a line on IG – find my sweet self there @Hughkleinn

Any last words?

You go your way, I go your way too. (Quote ,LC)

Thanks for the time Brian xx

Website: https://lekkercollective.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hughkleinn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hughkleinn 

Instagram: @Hughkleinn