Hailing from Los Angeles, HVDES is one of the fe badass females taking over the dance music scene. Currently attending Icon Collective, the rising star has captivated audiences at industry events like Space Yacht while constantly hustling behind the scenes in her production. HVDES blends experimental trap and house elements to create tracks that have garnished thousands of plays on Soundcloud. We were able to catch up with HVDES after her set at Wobbleland 2017 for an exclusive interview. Check it out below:
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: How did you prepare for your set, this was one of the bigger events you have played thus far, so what was your thought process in your track selection?
HVDES: Well I played a lot of my new music tonight, just testing the waters which was really dope because I’ve never really played it before. I started out with some House music then I moved more into trap and dubstep. It was definitely a hybrid set and heavier than what I usually do. I had a lot of fun mixing in a lot of my music, and unreleased music from some of my friends, I had a really fucking good time.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Going off of your new music, what can you share with us? Anything you’re super excited about, release dates, or collabs?
HVDES: I don’t have any release dates that I can share quite yet, but I am working on an EP with my friend, and it’s fucking sick and we’re both really excited about it. It’s a brand new sound and brand new style.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: If no one had heard of HVDES before, how would you describe your sound in three words?
HVDES: Weird, Dark, and Wonky.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Being a female in the industry, and you’re one of three on the Wobbleland lineup, what advice do you have for females looking to break into the industry?
HVDES: I think being a female in the scene is extremely powerful if you’re on top of your shit. It’s a challenge in and of it’s self being a female and it’s unique as fuck. If somebody see’s a girl, they’re already going to speculate on if she actually produces her music and if she's legit. I think more girls should get into it, but with that being sad they have to fucking kill it. You can’t just be a face. You need to work, and have the music, and the drive to keep you going. For girls who are just starting, it can be kind of weird, because you are a minority in the scene but you can’t let that stop you from doing what you love. Push past that shit, because eventually people will respect you. But you have to kill it and come correct, and really be on top of your shit. I really do encourage more females to do it, and that they shouldn’t be intimidated because it’s all guys out here. Being a girl is special, you just have to work.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Did you start out playing an instrument or what got you into producing and where you are now?
HVDES: I got into playing piano when I was younger. I was classically trained and played for about 11 to 12 years growing up and into high school. Then, I went to rehab and that’s when I was exposed to so many other kinds of music. I found my love for production and EDM and went from there. With EDM, I don’t have to be a professional piano player, I can translate any instrument, and I just fell in love with it.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You are at Icon Collective right now, and you are graduating in just a few weeks, do you have any upcoming plans set in stone?
HVDES: I’m just going to be working on finishing things, and building a big catalog of my own music. I want a backlog of music, so I can focus on the visual part of my brand and the whole aesthetic of it. I’m not going to release anything immediately after Icon, probably sometime this year, but as of now I’m really just working on building my brand, myself and my music.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: We also heard from the grapevine that you are an artist in the visual aspect, is that something you want to proceed with for building your brand?
HVDES: Yeah, actually when I first got into producing I was dating this guy who was a graphic designer and he would do art for me. It[the art] was dope but I could never completely vibe with it because it wasn’t 100% completely me. So, I’m kind of thinking of doing my own artwork because I have a very specific vision of what I want my art to atheistically look like. I’ll probably team up with a graphic designer do it with them, because I can do the painting and the drawing part, but I definitely don’t know how to use Photoshop and Illustrator. But it’s something that I eventually want to learn and do all my own artwork.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You’ve been playing at Space Yacht a lot, do you think being in LA and being in that scene helps with your sound and build a network?
HVDES: Absolutely. I think LA is the place to be if you’re trying to make it in an any entertainment industry and it’s the epicenter for everything. I love what Space Yacht has done for me as and for so many artists. They support everyone from people with a hundred followers to people with a hundred thousands followers. It’s such a dope community and the people are incredible and I am endlessly thankful for them for believing in me and having faith in my music and my project.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Tell us about the track that you’re singing on?
HVDES: Yeah, I’m working on a track with my friends and I’m doing the lead vocals and it’s the first time I’ve actually ever been happy with my vocals on a track. I’m really fucking stoked to put it out and show everyone.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Did you do any vocal training, or is it all natural?
HVDES: Well my dads a singer, and a long time ago he was getting me voice lessons. I did choir in middle school and high school, so a little bit, but not really. I definitely know how to sing, but I’m of course not a professional singer by any means.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What age did you start actually producing EDM?
HVDES: Well I started in 2014, and I am 20 now so I was about 17 when I started producing.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What is your DAW(Digital, Audio, Workstation) of choice?
HVDES: Definitely Ableton, I have an Ableton tattoo on me.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: That’s tight, how long do you think that it took you to create something that you actually thought was good enough to share with people?
HVDES: Fuck, I still don’t make music that I think is good enough to share with people. But as far as I knew I wanted to actually play and share, I would say it’s a growing process. At the time, I was making music that I wanted to share and wanted to put out because I thought it was dope as fuck, but now that I look back on it, it’s garbage. I’ve always been very eager to share my music and not embarrassed about it, even when it was not in a place where it could compete with other artists. I think now I’m getting more comfortable with my production and what I can do, and what I can put out. But I would say a year or two before I actually really felt comfortable sharing.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: And looking back at that, do you regret releasing tracks so early or do you think it helped?
HVDES: This is actually something that I really talk with people a lot. I didn’t know anything about branding or marketing when I first put a track out. So I would just put a track out, it got a certain amount of plays, I sent it to a couple of labels, then got some emails back saying it wasn’t good enough to be signed. After that, I took the track down from my Soundcloud and I was feeling really lost, so I decided to make another track. And it blew up and got a ton of plays on Soundcloud in a couple of months, and I knew then I needed to follow it up, and put out more music. Then after releasing a couple of tracks, I realized that I wanted to take a step back, and just work produce music at a level I know I can produce at. I think it helped in terms of social media and building a presence for myself in the industry but if I could go back and re-do it, I would launch the project later than I did. I don’t regret putting any music out before it was ready because it did help me in a lot of ways, but I think if I could go back, I would probably do it.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What is something that you’re currently working on, or your most recent ‘aha’ moment in learning production.
HVDES: I’ve been working on a lot of sound design lately. I was making House music, and that’s a lot simpler in terms of some sound design compared to the trap or dubstep I listen to. So, I’ve been really working with that and my mix downs. I’m really trying to make my music sonically perfect.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What are your favorite VST’s(Virtual Studio Technology)?
I like serum obviously, and I use FM8, and Massive, and I just got this new plugin it’s called a Manipulator by Infected Mushroom. It’s like a vocoder, and it has all of this vocal manipulator shit complied into one plug-in. You can put it on anything from a vocal to a snare, and it does all of this insane shit. And I just got Nectar, it’s by iZotope, it’s a harmonizer, and I think it’s a vocoder too, but I haven’t really gone deep into it. There’s another synth that’s actually really under-rated it’s called Expand, and it’s amazing, go check it out.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: If you could throw your own festival and pick three of your own headliners who would they be?
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Favorite food?
HVDES: Pizza, I know it’s so basic of me to say, but I fucking love pizza. Pepperoni pizza though.