In a metropolis city like London one can find a lot of talent. Under the spotlight we have the very promising 21-year-old producer and multi-instrumentalist Louie Hemus AKA Hemai (hee-migh).
Born and bred in the UK’s second capital Birmingham, Hemai grew up around jazz culture, music and live musicians, taking influence from the likes of Herbie Hancock, The Gilberto’s and D’Angelo to modern day acts like Zero7 and Corinne Bailey Rae.
Thanks to Tru Thoughts we were able to find out more about him and his place in the thriving UK jazz and electronic scene.
Hey Louie! So glad I have the chance to spare some of your time. What is the first thing that you want to share with our readers? Just anything that pops to your mind.
Yo! Of course! It’s always a pleasure to give a little insight to myself and the music…first thing that pops in my head…well I presume whoever's tuning in to this may have delved into the tunes so eternal love to you for even having interest into the space!
You are at the beginning of a great adventure, building your music career. Now, let’s rewind a bit and go back in time. Tell us about how it all started – how did Hemai occur?
Thank you so much! It defo feels like a blossoming journey to me but it’s beautiful to see it is being recognised from others. Hemai was birthed through my love of songwriting and music making, passively through an early age and actively was born when I started making beats in my early teens. When I was a youngen, my guitar teacher used to come round and we would just improvise and jam, and then he’d dip! The biggest lesson I have learnt. To just be, and make music. Nothing exterior, but having the freedom to be able to just create. It was so moving. Big ups Carl! This is where my songwriting began, and then Hemai was created through beatmaking which then evolved into the field of composing and arranging songs. I think that's where the electronic-tinge and programming in the tunes must come from.
When a remix of a song turns out to be a big deal, I can’t help but wonder – why did this artist decide to work on exactly this record? Being recognized by BBC Introducing, your remix of Oscar Jerome’s “Gravitate” is indeed something special. What was is that made you choose this song and how did the whole process go?
That’s lovely cheers! This was actually proposed to me by someone who I worked very closely with who I became in touch with when I released Eyes, Closed. Always big love to this guy. But Oscar was and is the man in my listening library at the time so i’m not gonna lie I was buzzed! And of course, deeply humbled. The tune Gravitate is a huge banger so I didn’t want to completely butcher it. Luckily in my headspace it turned out decent and Oscar and the team dug it which meant the world. Big love. The process unfolded within a couple of months, very very naturally to be honest. I think having a lot of the insane musicality in there already helped sparked my innovative side to sort of switch up the vibe but retaining the foundations, whilst sticking to the Hemai roots. It’s like a gift receiving stems for a tune like that!And how about “Eyes, Closed” EP. What’s the main focus there, is there a hidden message?With all the music, my message within the heart of them is to always spread love. If someone is on a low, I hope and wish that the music will uplift the energy, even if it’s only a little bit. That is my only formula in music. Luckily the collaborators naturally get the message also, lyrics aren’t even discussed. They just come through so beautifully, I believe it’s that gravitational pull which just aligns the two worlds into one.
You are currently part of the Tru Thoughts family. How does it feel, is there a significant difference for you аs an artist?
It’s truly beautiful. Truly humbling. It feels so right. The team there are just so involved and faithful in the journey. I was always quite reluctant to let people be apart of the music as I had a fear that it would cloud the creativity but mate was I wrong. It’s just a load of people coming together appreciating art with intent to spread it to the ears of wonderful people like yourselves! Big ups TT!
Sooo, “Relight” – your latest single as well as your Tru Thoughts debut. It’s so diverse, on so many levels, tell us all of the exciting details about this project:)
Yes! Well thank you so much again! Has to be my fave tune released to date. So so much in it for me it would be a chore for you to read through it all haha so I’ll keep it short and sweet! For the music nerds, it consisted of a 22GB logic project of about 400-500 layers/channels. A little slice of mine and my brother Sam’s, Jamal’s, Laura’s and Woddy soul in each and every single one of them components. It’s a big controversy in the production world you know small or large productions, too little or too large projects. But I think if we just express, minimal or complex, there is no right or wrong. Just emotion in sound!
Working with your brother on this one – not only instrumentally, but as well as the artwork. How did that go?
I love my brother dearly so it’s always such an effortless energy whilst creating both the music and the art. It just seeps out of us when we’re together. No forceful thoughts but just the sheer beauty of letting the present do it’s job!
Any specific future plans, anything new ongoing?
There’s a couple of surprises up the old sleeve thanks for asking! Always trying to exercise the innovation within me, so always stuff wiggling about in the archive to be released into the world!
Thank you very much for letting us get to know you and your work better! Some final closing thoughts?
Thank YOU very much! I appreciate the interest whole-heartedly... It might be worth keeping the ears open over the next couple of months! Who knows!? Big love!