Photo by Jonas Svarstad

Track by Track: Hôy la

Norwegian producer and singer Ingri Høyland, aka Hôy la, presents her debut EP X Heads – a merging of sharp minimalistic electronic beats and punk personality. With a fascination for Japanese design and Norwegian architecture, Hôy la’s art forms a bond between both worlds with the help of stylised visuals focusing on human interaction within various strenuous surroundings. From the distorted but pleasantly pastel-hued ‘Please’ to the bizarre world of taxidermy in ‘Saturday’, there is a welcomed sense of vulnerability found in the EP. “X Heads represents my most tremendous terrors and desires,” she explains, “It’s quite difficult to explain, but all the different songs play with unique experiences and woolgathering. Now that they are being released together as an EP, they represent something new. Together they show how fluctuating we can be as humans, me and my generation in particular.” Hôy la takes us through X Heads in detail with our first Track by Track feature.

“I’m so sad that women around me including myself feel shame due to thoughts, feelings and desires. Feminism is about equal rights, but it is also about women being able to worship all aspects of their gender and sexuality. I love all the ghostly and industrial samples in this track, they are scary and brutal which is the only honest way to represent a feeling like shame.”

“Whereas ’Shame’ is a topic, Purple is a space. I wanted to invite the listener into one of those dark and disoriented spaces where they could meet me or see themselves. X Heads is generally about my most tremendous fears and desires, and I think Purple is about not knowing when the dreamscape is strangling you or actually giving you life. Maybe it’s both.”

“‘Please’, is a track made up by samples from a Chinese folksong from 1972 and a recording from an old piano from my childhood home. I used five months with a lot of persistent emails and phone calls to the record label In Malaysia to get the rights to the sample. I think that process says a lot about my general approach to making X Heads – just saying fuck it, and following my immediate instincts on what sounds I like and how I wanted to do things. Also making the video for Please was a big thing for me, I had been realizing these aesthetics for years and finally I got to do them! Please was in many ways, my first step as a musician and artist.”

“‘Roses’ represents some of my ugliest thoughts and feelings but is musically (ironically maybe) a little bit softer than the other tracks on the EP, it is more stripped down leaving only drums, vocals and bass. But this track always explodes when we play it live, because it is so emotional for me. And it usually feels like I am throwing up my insides.”

“The track and the video are very special to me. Back in October, I set up a small Japan tour and I wanted to do make two videos. I met up with the performance artist, Chika Matsuda and all I knew about her at first was that she was working with dead animals. As we got to know her she turned out to be the warmest and most inspiring person I have ever met. She showed us around her village, her home and told us about her country, desires and dreams. And her story just fitted so well with the track, that we decided to make the video solely with her. Saturday is about me, people around me and my generation in general, spending so much time lingering on what makes us happy, our passions and values, that we end up struggling with life and being unhappy. That’s why I called the EP X Heads – because we are.”

Photo by Petra Kleis

“I think the best way to understand and experience the tracks on X Heads is through a live show. There are so many emotions in the tracks that I don’t even dear to explain, or even open up for with words, but when I play it’s all there. I’ve done my best to describe, but hopefully, I’ll be playing some shows in Germany soon.”

Stream, download, share X Heads