Whatever It Is: An Interview with Hello Forever

When art pop collective Hello Forever began creating their debut album, Whatever It Is, they wanted the final product to be, well, whatever it is.

They have a wide range of influences that span from doo-wop and jazz to skiffle and R&B. On top of that, they add elaborate arrangements to create songs that turn the deepest of frowns into a radiating smile. But how do they find the best fit for these influences to create a song they’re collectively happy with?

“It’s not really a selective process of discernment for us,” they said. “We try our best not to make any decisions about the music, and just let it write itself. We are enculturated by the music we love to listen to, and the music that people around us listen to. It all comes in and we don’t really want to set restraints on how it comes out.”

As far as where these songs came out, they recorded wherever, whenever and however they could. In a span of 200 days they created music in various bedrooms and borrowed studios until they had the final product. They called the process “magical”, but would ultimately love to have a home studio in their native Topanga, CA.

“...There is a special clarity out here in nature,” they said.

Since they wanted the album to be whatever it is, they really found a chance to just let the music flow and see where it took them. They didn’t want to overthink it or get into such a headspace that it prevented them from creating the best album they could make.

“This can be a challenge,” they said. “The ego is desperate and insecure and vain. Sometimes our smallness wants to get in the way and try to control things and make ourselves important. Or we get scared of making mistakes and suffering. It is a daily practice, which we experience both through art making and outside of it — to allow what is to be, whatever it is.”

That being said, they want listeners to take away whatever meaning they can find within it. Whether it’s truth, clarity, fun, joy, inquiry, resolution, friendship, grief… if an emotion stems from listening to their music, they’ve accomplished exactly what they wanted out of these songs.

Hello Forever’s Whatever It Is is out February 21, 2020.