What are your names? Hoozmo and Indy James
What is the band’s name? Sound Photographers
How did you come up with the band’s name?[Indy] Our two greatest talents are music and photography. Hooz has a gift for writing great arrangements and I’ve been a photographer for 10 years. The name “Sound Photographers” came about one day with the idea that both a great song and a great photograph can make you feel something profound. We were hanging out with some artists who we met at a show and working on new music. The name stuck.
What is your genre of music?[Hooz & Indy] Our genre is alt-hop. Think hard beats and real instruments.
Give us a little bio about you.Hoozmo and Indy James, who make up the alt-hop duo Sound Photographers, met at a show in 2017 and have been thriving in the Philly independent music scene ever since. Influences like Talking Heads and Outkast inform their creative process and lay the psychological groundwork for the overarching theme of hope that resonates in their music.
What made you go into music?[Indy] Music was my therapy growing up. I’d come home from school every day and sit down at the piano. It just felt so good to sing my heart out. I’ve struggled throughout my life with depression and anxiety and music has always been there for me. When I met Hooz, our energies matched up and making music together felt like the most natural thing in the world. [Hooz] Music always spoke to me in ways that nothing else did. Wherever I went I heard it. If there was no music in the room that I was in, I’d create arrangements in my head until I had a full song that I’d hum and sing repeatedly, tweaking it while creating it. Once I noticed this happened in any and every room I was in, I began writing and recording my ideas.
Who are your influences? [Indy] Shadows would not exist without The Eurythmics. Annie Lennox is a huge inspiration of mine, and Sweet Dreams (the album) is my go to car singalong. It’s such powerful music. The artists that I can’t stop listening to right now are WILLOW and Gus Dapperton. They each have their sound, and you can hear who they are. I like really emotional music, songs that are all about the feels. When I listen to a song and think to myself “I know something about this artist now, they’ve shared a part of themselves.” That’s what defines great music to me.
[Hooz] A large influence for the music in this particular song comes from Gorillaz & Dungeon Family. I can have Demon Days and Even in Darkness on repeat easily. The combination of the instrument arrangements are spectacular and the features are top notch. I enjoy artists who blend sounds in unusual ways. My love for instruments came before my love for Hip-Hop, so I like when you can really hear a musician speak through their sound. On the Hip-Hop end Andre 3000, Big Boi & MF Doom are at the top of my list of inspirations when writing lyrics.
Are you signed with a label? [Hooz and Indy] Not yet! We want to be Sony artists.
You released your new single ‘Shadows’, tell us more about the single. [Hooz and Indy] Shadows is an anthem for all the side hustle artists. It’s for everyone who after a long tiring day can’t wait to get home and get creative. Creative flow recharges us, it feeds our souls, it smothers fear. We took an organic approach to this one. The song is about investing time and love into becoming the best version of you.
What is the meaning behind the single? We wait until the shadows are high and skies are clearWe run into the water to wash ourselves of fear
[Indy] I wrote these lyrics after coming out the other side of a particularly nasty wave of depression. The feeling I had was relief, like a deep breath. The song is about doing what you need to do for yourself so that you can be at your best.
[Hooz] The song is reflective of the times and this past year. The sacrifice we’ve had to make for safety, and how necessary it is to put love back in this world and enjoy your self.
What was the writing and recording process like? [Indy] We took an organic approach to this one. Once the music was laid down, I hopped into the booth and recorded on loop for 17 minutes. We played it back and realized that the interlocking layers were the key element for this song. When Jess Cook entered the building, a rare talent by the way, she locked into the vibe and added a whole new element to the song.
[Hooz] The bassline came naturally, as did the instruments that followed. A second bassline was added for variety and kept the song moving. While Indy was in the booth, she laid down a fantastic hook that locked into the bassline and create the message for the lyrics. The mix of Indy James and Jess Cook’s vocals were incredible. I couldn’t get enough so we let it rock for the third section where they really flex their skill.
Describe the track in two words. [Hooz & Indy] Self love
Will we see a music video for any of the track? [Hooz & Indy] Maybe! If not for this song then definitely for our upcoming project.
Will we see an EP or Album and if so what can we expect from it? [Indy] Yes absolutely. We have an EP on deck for 2021. I wrote half the songs and Hooz wrote the other half. One of our greatest strengths as a duo is the way our different music making styles compliment each other. The project sounds beautiful right now, it’s got great range. Expect highs and lows and a little surprise at the end.
Do you have any online shows coming up? [Hooz & Indy] Not right now.
What else can we expect in 2020 and Early 2021?[Hooz & Indy] More singles and our upcoming EP!
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any up coming artists? [Hooz and Indy] Yes! Our next song Sunburn features Monie Gxxz and Jess Cook. Find them on Instagram: @moniegxzz and @jessicagcookmusic
Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? And who would they have to contact? [Hooz & Indy] We love working with like minded artists. Anyone who’s interested can DM me on instagram @sound_photographers or TheeSoundPhotographers@gmail.com
Do you play any instruments? [Hooz] Bass, Piano, Guitar, Drums, Vocals. [Indy] Piano, Guitar, Vocals.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?[Indy] I write my best lyrics while I’m still reeling from an emotional experience. [Hooz] My best lyrics come after experiencing stressful situations.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?[Hooz and Indy] We plan to open a studio space where Indy will produce fabulous photography for Sound Photographers and our artists (andanyone else who might be interested). We imagine building a simple acoustic booth so that the space could double as a recording studio.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?[Indy] I’m working on photography projects. I take creative calls, design mood boards, retouch images and shoot in my home studio. Since lockdown started, I’ve been working on some more still life based projects rather than portraits, but I still mask up every once in a while for a shoot.
[Hooz] When I’m not doing music… I’m thinking about music.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene? [Indy] When I heard Psycho Killer on Stop Making Sense it inspired me to be free with my voice.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given? [Indy] Never outshine the master
[Hooz] You find your best self when you look for it
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist? [Indy] The less you dilute your vision with white noise from other people, the clearer your authentic self shines through.
[Hooz] Love what you do. Have a clear goal and the right team.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?[Indy] Just do it
[Hooz] Make it happen
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit? [Hooz & Indy] The Wissahickon Brewery is a chill spot to have a couple beers outside. It’s been a godsend for us through quarantine.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget? [Indy] 1. I always step out to warm up and take a moment for myself before I go on stage. Taking that time makes a huge difference for my nerves. Shoulders back, abs tight, chin down. Be aware of my facial expression! Breathe. Relax and have fun!
[Hooz] Don’t communicate with stressful people the day of a gig. Take the day to get in your vibe Talk to the people that support you. Do the things that focus you. Know that “You got it”
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you? IG: @hoozmo@indy_jamess