In 2016, those who did not know them yet would discover Hyphen Hyphen on the Victoires de la Musique stage for an explosive performance of the single Just Ned Your Love. The quartet -which has now become a trio following the departure of the drummer Zac -had won the “Artiste révélation scène de l’année” (Best New Live act of the year) category Victoire. A logical coronation for the young 25-yearold French artists, who have become masters of the art of embracing the crowds during intense concerts -Hyphen Hyphen has several hundreds of dates. “We had made a first album for the stage”, recalls the singer Santa.”We were renowned for our concerts.The real challenge of this new album was to become a studio group too.”They succeeded in this with HH; the second chapter of Hyphen Hyphen’s discography was composed, but also entirely produced, by the group. From that point, based in Paris’ 19th arrondissement, the three Nice residents -Santa on vocals, Line on the bass and Adam on the guitar -started by spending long days creating 200 drafts for songs, with a very specific brief in mind. “We had a clear idea of where we wanted to go with this album: we wanted something more violent, more direct, more pop and more unifying, like the American songs that we are constantly listening to. We had a lot of zeal in us. And a desire to win over hearts.”Hyphen Hyphen allowed this zeal, or aggressiveness even, toexplode as HH came about, for a crazy Take My Hand, the formidable first and multi-layered piece, which finishes off in a breathtaking rhythmic labyrinth. From these first attempts, Hyphen Hyphen ended up keeping eleven tracks, each viewed as works in their own right. “We wanted to consider each track independently of the others.Above all, we didn’t want an album with the same sound on each piece.”The only constants, an impetus and a wild strength, are across all the new compositions of the trio. HH isa grand, lively album; one in the form of a slap (and we’re asking for it again); free in the way it draws on all the genes. It draws equally on the groove of RnB (Kiss You, KND) as it does on the immediateness of pop (The Way to Stay, Lonely Baby and itsunstoppable verse or even Higher, grandiose romantic epilogue) and trance from UK House (Be High With Me). A logical eclecticism for a group whose musical hall of fame brings together artists as varied as Kanye West and Chopin, Destiny’s Child and B.B. King. A great album too, in the way it put
together lyrics rich in meaning (Mama Sorry, Last Call and above all Young Leaders, staggering hymn of a generation both lost and free to change the world). Hyphen Hyphen dances for sure, but with its head full of everything which has made up the period: sexual freedom, the quest for intoxication, ennui and feminism (the unstoppable single Like Boysand its fiery clip). “I love to play with paradox” continues Santa. “I am a fan of Marcia Baila by Les Rita Mitsouko: it is a very dance tune, but with very dark lyrics.We have this ambition to create pop with depth; a pop which keeps its spontaneity but which can also be interpreted on several levels.”Although the group took sole responsibility for the production of its album, Hyphen Hyphen was also able to surround itself with the best: HH was recorded in the Parisian studio of the Air musicians (Atlas studio), where the group was able to make the most of a vast choice of synthesisers and the participation of the drummer, Zoé Hochberg. To perfect her voice, now capable of remarkable acrobatics, Santa called on the talent of the American Guy Roche, the regular vocal coach of the greats (Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, etc.). “Guy drove me to my limits.He put me in a kind of trance so that I could deliver the best performance possible.I ended up doing some previously unheard things with my voice.He was able to exploit all my flaws and make them a strength, therefore leaving behind just the power of theperformance.The mixing of the album was entrusted to Maxime Le Guil, already behind albums by Justice, Radiohead and Morrissey, and the mastering was entrusted to Vlado Meller (an impressive CV -from Kanye West to Frank Ocean, by way of Michael Jackson). Strengthened by this star casting and the immense talent of its authors, HH is an album that is at once powerful and uncategorisable, which resembles nothing that is out there in the modern French landscape. Hyphen Hyphen wanted to win over hearts: withthis second chapter, they will pierce them.