ZHU’s Live-Band, Hello Yes, Return with ‘Lost Signal’ EP [Interview]

Music

Hello Yes was born on the road while guitarist Mitch Bell and saxophonist Aaron Leibowitz were touring with electronic artist ZHU, with whom they are currently packing stadiums with in support of Swedish House Mafia. The sound is novel, conjuring Mitch’s smokey, yet sophisticated guitar and Aaron’s gut-jerking saxophone into compositions that could be described as indie groove meets electro club.

Now, they’re out with their newest EP on GravitasLost Signal.

This new EP brings in groovy house vibes blended with their signature guitar/sax elements for a perfect combination. After their debut live show at Lightning in a Bottle, fans have been eager to get their hands on these unreleased dancefloor anthems, and Hello Yes is ready to share these with the world.

Listen below and keep scrolling for our interview with the duo.

As far as I can remember, it’s not that common for the band of an artist to later on form their own group. How and when did the idea for Hello Yes first take shape?

Ya, I think you’re right. Bands like The Wailers or The Heartbreakers formed as a result of Bob Marley and Tom Petty starting and being a part of their respective bands. However, the Eagles were born from being the backing band for Linda Ronstadt. So, ya… Hello Yes formed in the downtime between festivals and tours with Zhu around January 2018. We were already collaborating on music with Zhu, so the creative energy naturally flowed into some of our own ideas.

Your sound is clearly influenced by ZHU, but never sounds like it’s imitating him. How did you navigate that line between inspiration and imitation?

We’ve learned a lot about electronic music and the scene by simply being around Z. He’s a true master at what he is doing. His style is unique, and it would be pretty obvious if we tried to copy his sound. Our experiences with him have helped shape what Hello Yes currently is, but we also have years of experience and influences outside of electronic music. We love connecting all of these pieces of information and inspiration that resonate into a sound that is “Hello Yes.”

With so much of your music using live instruments, did you find it hard to record/write/produce on the road or was most of that saved for when you had downtime?

Songs like “Out Of My Mind” and “Never Trusted Me” started as ideas while on the road. One was in Tennessee, and the other was in Montana. We recorded a bunch of voice memos melody ideas and then finished them back home later. We started “The Lesson” from scratch and pretty much finished in Ronny’s LA garage studio. “Peace Of Mind” started as a laptop beat on a flight to Denver, then we worked out the sax and vocal ideas at my house in Oklahoma. Other times, I’ll send Ronny a guitar loop to mess with, or Ronny will send me a demo to arrange and add sounds to. Ultimately, the best ideas rise to the top, and we mess around with them until we feel like they are complete.

How did you end up going with Gravitas for the release of your Lost Signal EP?

Lost Signal will be our 2nd EP release with Gravitas. Grav has been in the bass space for a minute now with artists like Clozee and Beats Antique. They really get the culture behind the sound more than most and have been a great first partner. It’s so important, especially early on, to have a partner that believes in what you are doing and sees the bigger vision for it so they are able to help nudge it the right direction, which they have been able to do.

Do you foresee a time when Hello Yes opens for ZHU on tour, or you guys tour on your own apart from ZHU? You’ve already collaborated with artists like THEY, Tame Impala, and Jason Mraz.

We love touring with everyone on the Zhu team and are excited for future tours. Everyone on his team is a class act. As Hello Yes, we’d love to play shows in any capacity and are working to build that part of our world. So keep an eye out for us in 2023! And yeah, if Kevin Parker ever wants us to jump on tour with Tame Impala…we are ready to go 🙂

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