Published on November 12th, 2019 | by Guest Editor0
Electro Euro Pop …Leo Hook a INdepth Interview
Leo Hook is a Electronic Pop Musician from Belarus, he is one of the few Eastern European musicians to break through to the West, which is a shame as some of the best muisc comes out of that region~ The only big excpetion is when EuroVision is going on and all of Europe is exposed to the diverse plethora of music out there, sadly those in the USA seldom get to hear any of it. His take on music is best put as Electro Euro Pop!
Not much for too many words, Leo is right to the point when it comes to his music journey and life. Best put by himself :
1965 -was born, 1971 – enter a music school, fell in love, 1972 enter school, fell in love, 1982 finished school and entered university, fell in love, 1983 – started army, 1985 retired from the army, fell in love, 1990 get marriage, 1991 get my first son, 1993 just fell in love, 1998 I went into Bahrain, 2000 – I met my second and, I hope, the last wife, fell in love, 2003 get my second son, 2007 – stop working in Bahrain, 2010 released my first album, 2012 again went to Bahrain, 2015 left Bahrain, 2019 I started distribution on TuneCore and collaboration with Al Geiner~PR, nowadays – still alive, in love, working, happy!
With new music right around the corner make sure to follow him on social media for updates
What first got you into music?
It was our old TV set. I was around 3 years old. Every time I saw someone playing an instrument, I grabbed my similar toy and started playing. I didn’t have a good musical hearing yet. It happened later, at the age of five, when my parents bought a cheap vinyl player with amazing musical tales especially for me. Some songs of that era I remember till now.
Who inspired you to make music?
I would say new technologies and fresh feelings. When new passion is coming, a creative person just can’t keep quiet. All emotions reflux into the creation, whatever it is music, art or something else. And new technologies just help to a modern creator to do everything alone.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
I can say this is a kind of combination of simplicity and intelligence in music and lyrics. At least I hope for that. Definitely, most of my songs about life and people’s relationships even if the characters of the song are animals. Some people think that I have many songs for children. But actually they are for adults who can read between lines and can understand a hidden sense. But children understand them from the children’s point of view. I think I will release such a song soon.
What is your creative process like?
I read many “How To” for DIY musicians. All of them at one of the first point saying: you have to determine what is your genre and subgenre and stay there firmly. This what I can’t. Each song comes different. Usually, I push myself to stay at least in a similar instrument set. When I make an arrangement, I loop a part of the song and listen to it maybe a hundred times. After that, if I’m still happy and still can listen to it, I go to the next part.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Right now I can think about two ladies. Penni Jo Blatterman (https://www.facebook.com/penni.blatterman) and Gail Shelley (https://www.facebook.com/pondplantgirl) helped me a lot with the translation of my songs into English. They are both very talented lyricists and feel the music perfectly. I would like to mention their names. This is in the lyrics field. In the music field, I’d like to collaborate with Bob Katz or Ian Shepherd. Both of them as well as me like dynamic music, and I know they will not destroy a song and the feelings with overloudness. Maybe, if I see people need my music and I have some funds I will contact one of them.
If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?
It’s not an easy question. Maybe I don’t understand it clearly. Well, if “any-any”, then it would be Edvard Grieg with his Peer Gynt. OK, he isn’t an artist but still… To stay with maestro on one stage could be the most memorable event in my music life. If the artist has to be still alive then I’ll choose Jordan Smith and Michael Buble.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
This is a simple one. Do your best to stay alive and enjoy your life. This phrase is the concentration of all our instincts and wishes.
What is the most useless talent you have?
I don’t have any useless talent. I have a talent that I used less than my other talents and abilities. As an example: I can make a very good snap of an ordinary woman. She will be just a goddess. Without photoshop. I can see the beauty of a woman through the lens. I know it can bring good money, but I can’t leave the music… Maybe when I get old.
Do you sing in the shower? What songs?
Nope. In a shower, I usually take a shower.
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
Well, as I said before I would look at the most beautiful creatures in the world through the lens. I mean women, kids, and cats.
Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
For many years I worked as a musician at wedding parties. Then I shifted to Bahrain and worked there as a DJ and musician in different night clubs. My favorite venue a middle-sized night club with a tight sound. And least favorite – an open street with a building’s wall in front of me. Right now I don’t have any upcoming show. Maybe in the future…
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
As always it is a double-sided coin. On the one hand, it opened a lot of opportunities for unsigned artists. For most of us. It is really cool! On the other hand, it makes me master a huge slice of work completely unrelated to the music. Moreover, in this situation, poor music with a good promotion will every time win over the good music with poor promotion. And most good musicians are poor promoters. But generally speaking, I can’t imagine rollback to the non-internet era. The strongest will survive.
What is your favourite song to perform?
Some of my songs I really like to perform. But as I said I was a musician at wedding parties and night clubs. Very often (especially in Bahrain) people asked me to sing something absolutely Russian and the most renowned. It was two songs from a public domain – «Ochi Chyorniye» and the favorable Russian gangsta song «Moorka». Maybe one day I’ll sing it for the camera live. Most of the time I do rearrangement for the song I perform.
Which famous musicians do you admire?
I don’t know if we can use the word “musician” when we talk about Edvard Grieg, Ludwig van Beethoven, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Amadeus Mozart. They are creators I admire. The rest are musicians in a more usual sense of the word. I like to listen to Stephane Grappelli, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzerald and many more, mainly old or very old school.
What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
The situation, described in the song “LOVE” was the most difficult situation in my life. But… what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Once I was told: Leo, do what you like most and be honest in that, even if others don’t accept or understand you. Still, I am thinking about whether it was the best or the worst advice?
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
The unified standard for loudness normalization everywhere, including ALL streamers and ALL FM stations. I would create an algorithm in which good music with poor promotion wins over poor music with good promotion. I would relax copyright for melodies. Just a little bit. I think it can bring a lot of fresh and nice music.
What’s next for you?
Plan minimum – release all my music. Plan maximum – have a long and happy life and die in very old age without pain and surrounded by my children and grandchildren.
How important is the current climate crisis to you and how do you think you could help?
I believe the Earth is a huge alive creature. It breathes, moves from one side to another, and always face some changes. Before the glacial period mammoths and dinosaurs lived where permafrost is now. Behind the Arctic Circle was lush vegetation, the climate on Earth was like in a greenhouse. Then it suddenly became cold. We have adapted to this cold, we will adapt to heat. I think that no matter what we do, we cannot stop climate change. And all the screams around this are for the most part squashing money for the good lives of certain people. But personally, I am ready to accept as a gift an electric car and solar panels. I have already quit smoking and do not pollute the atmosphere with tobacco smoke.
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