Hozho Talks About ‘Troubles In Paradise’ and More

Hey Hozho, welcome to EDM Nomad. Can you give us a quick introduction to yourself?

Hello, thanks for the invitation! My real name is Joel Monteiro, I’m 29 years old and I live in Aveiro, Portugal. I’m fascinated by music, the emotions it arouses and the human mind. If you want to know me better, listen to my songs, they will tell you more about me than my words.

Tell us about your new single ‘Troubles In Paradise.’ What was the creative writing process like for this release?

This track was developed from one of the dozens of projects I started in FL Studio but I never finished. One day I was listening to the unfinished projects I had and this one stood out from the others, it had a bassline that I loved. At the time, the name of the project was Troubles In Paradise so I decided to keep that track ID and create a story around that name. Why Troubles In Paradise? Well, one would think that now that I have gigs all over the world, tracks with millions of views and streams on digital platforms, that everything is fine and that I live a good life. But it’s not always like that. We all have everyday problems. This particular track focuses on the problems of a romantic relationship and that’s the main message of the track: “We started with a simple Hi! Why are we making this a complicated Goodbye?”

How did you come to collaborate with artist Laust Höjgaard who created the single artwork? And in your opinion, what themes or messages do you see in the piece?

To be honest, I didn’t know LaustHøjgaard or his work. The label for which I released this single and for which I will release the EP presented the idea of using his painting as an artwork. Initially I was reticent about using a cover art that wasn’t my idea, because for me the artwork is a continuation of the song and I like to have control over its artistic process. But the truth is that I found Laust’s work interesting and confusing, maybe a bit disturbing. Specifically this painting. And I thought that what can be confusing and disturbing for me can also be for my fans and listeners, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it leaves the artwork open to different interpretations. And that’s what art is all about – not to be obvious, to let everyone have their own interpretation.

Your EP titled ‘Troubles In Paradise’ is soon to follow, along with two more tracks, what was the inspiration behind the full EP?

Overall, Troubles In Paradise EP is all about breakup. Each track represents a different stage at the end of a relationship. With my own signature, I want to take the listeners to live the emotions associated with the darkest side of love, through beats and melodies. When everything seems to be going well, problems start to arise (Troubles In Paradise). Then comes the grudge and consequent hurt and damage to the significant other (Paradise Circus). Finally, the realization that no matter how hard we try, the end is inevitable (Wrong).

Which artists would you say have influenced or inspired you?

There are artists, songs and musical genres that inspire me in my creations depending on the time, my mood, or the environment around me. But when I started the project in 2015, my biggest influence was Boris Brejcha. Then I started to explore other sounds and ended up following my path and defining my style. More recently, there are some artists that I especially like and that are an influence on the melodic basis of my songs: Hans Zimmer, Ludovico Einaudi and Gustavo Santaolalla.

We can see that your diary is busy with upcoming shows! What’s the typical vibe of a Hozho set? And where do you look for new music to build out your DJ sets?

Since the songs I play contain a melodic basis (I mean, they are not merely percussive) it’s important that the mix from one track to another in a set is as harmonious as possible, within the same musical note or scale. Each song has a note (let’s say Bm or F#m). Using the Camelot Wheel as a reference, I can tell which track will fit well into the other to make a “clean” mix. The goal is to create a set that can be a journey from start to finish, without necessarily playing just my tracks. There are other rising artists, that I can call friends, who are producing outstanding tracks and I enjoy playing them on my sets as well.

Who is an artist or producer that you’d love to collaborate with on a track in the future?

The artists that inspire me, or inspired in the past, are the same artists with which I would love to collaborate. That said, it would be an honour to collaborate with Boris Brejcha, Hans Zimmer, Ludovico Einaudi or Gustavo Santaolalla.

What’s the meaning behind the mask that you wear?

It’s a plague mask, originally used by doctors at the time of the Black Death in Europe, in the 14th century. A theory says that the plague was caused by evil spirits. To scare the spirits away, the mask was intentionally designed to be creepy. When I perform, I use the mask to scare all the bad energies and problems that people may have, whether on the dance floor or in their lives. The mask I use nowadays is a little modified. You can see that it has blood and scars that represent the difficulties and battles I had to fight to be where I am today.

What are you focused on right now? And where do you hope to be this time next year?

Right now I’m focused on the release strategy for my upcoming EP together with my team. Also, I’m on a world tour as we speak. In the midst of it all, I try to find some time to produce songs for my next album. So as you can see, at this moment “busy” is my middle name. But this is the life I chose, it can be very tiring and stressful but at least I can say that I don’t live a monotonous or routine life, there’s always something new happening, new people, new places… And so I hope to be on another level next year, always following my path and not following the herd. I hope I have the health and strength needed to keep doing what I love. For now, I’m just living the moment.

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One day you'll leave this world behind. So live a life you will remember.


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