A little while ago I fell in love with the dreamlike sounds of the Belgian duo Hydrogen Sea composed by Birsen Uçar & PJ Seaux. Acoustic elements blend beautifully with electronic waves, creating a cosmic universe of their own. Birsen’s bewitching whisper-like voice is airy and eerie alike. Fluid, intense and dark. PJ’s perfect mastery of instruments and electronica adds layers of captivating sounds. Confessed influences of Massive Attack & Little Dragon and a strong reminiscence of Blue Foundation’s mysterious voice. Their EP “Court the Dark” is astounding and their live take on Massive Attack’s Paradise Circus brutally chilling.
I met the two for a little INTERVIEW so you can get to know them a bit more intimately:
A: I READ YOU CHOSE HYDROGEN SEA BECAUSE HYDROGEN IS THE MOST ABUNDANT ELEMENT IN THE UNIVERSE. WHERE DOES YOUR FASCINATION FOR THE LIGHTEST OF ELEMENTS COME FROM?
Birsen: I was always fascinated by the space, the planets, the cosmos. So I found that image about hydrogen very beautiful.
A: HYDROGEN PRODUCES WATER WHEN BURNED. IN GREEK IT MEANS “THE WATER FORMER”. IF YOU ADD THE “SEA” COMPONENT, YOUR NAME IS VERY AQUATIC. DOES WATER HAVE AN INFLUENCE IN YOUR MUSIC?
PJ: I love water, I have always lived by the water, next to a canal, where I would go fishing. But water doesn’t have a really conscious influence on our music.
A: YOU HAVE BEEN TOGETHER FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS NOW. YOU LAUNCHED YOUR EP ALMOST A YEAR AGO… HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING?
PJ: We’ve been together as a band for two and a half years. We uploaded our first song on 25 October 2012 and launched the EP on 17 April 2014. One year later, we’ll be playing in Ancienne Belgique. Four of our songs are on the radio. We really didn’t have many expectations. We just wanted to share our music with some people. And here we are, still playing.
A: YOUR EP IS CALLED “COURT THE DARK”. DO YOU THINK THAT A MUSIC’S DEPTH IS SOMEHOW RELATED TO A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF DARKNESS?
Birsen: I love the literal and inner darkness. I don’t like happy music, actually.
PJ: Minor chords inspire me the most… even with the classics. Except maybe with Vivaldi.
A : Y O U ‘ V E B E E N T O U R I N G W I T H G A B R I E L R I O S F O R A W H I L E . W H A T D I D Y O U T A K E W I T H Y O U ?
PJ: People weren’t coming to see us, so we had nothing to lose. It was like a lab to try things out and see how people reacted. But we were mainly grateful we could be there, we didn’t want to be in anybody’s way.
A: BIRSEN, YOU SAY YOU LIKE LYRICS TO TELL STORIES. WHAT EMOTIONS, WHAT STATE OF MIND GETS YOU MOST INSPIRED?
Birsen: I’m not a very happy person. So when I’m feeling bad about myself or the world, music usually helps me unwind, connect with people who feel the same. It’s like my therapy, if you wish.
A: WHAT WAS THE WEIRDEST CREATIVE PROCESS FOR A SONG YOU COMPOSED?
PJ: I never remember how songs come up. But I always have the problem that I work on too many at the same time. And it’s very hard for me to say: ok, I’m done with this song, it’s ready.
A: PJ, IN ONE OF YOUR INTERVIEWS YOU SAY MUSIC IS LIKE A SNAPSHOT. WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
PJ: When you record a song, you take a snapshot of what you were feeling at that very moment. When you keep on playing, it becomes something different…
A: SO… BRUSSELSPROUTS… HOW DO YOU EAT YOURS?
Birsen: The way my mum makes them. With bacon and mash.
PJ: I have invented an illness that prevents me from eating them…
Sprouters, do check out this band. They’ll be playing on 17 April at Ancienne Belgique. You can get your tickets here. And in the meantime, listen to their EP here: