[Interview] Hotel Garuda Talks Relationship With Manilla Killa, Creative Process, New Tour

We got a chance to interview Hotel Garuda and learned how he tackles collaboration, creative blocks, his 2019 tour, more details about his wildly fun song, "One Reason", and experience working with long-time friend, Manila Killa.
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Kiah Victoria, Hotel Garuda, and Imad Royal

Kiah Victoria, Hotel Garuda, and Imad Royal

CK: How has it felt having Hotel Garuda be a solo act now? I understand you did a lot of the production while Manila Killa/Chris was finishing school, but reflecting now, do you prefer working solo or collaborating with fellow artists?

HG: It’s very different ! And while I did perform much of the touring while Manila Killa was finishing school, the early music of Hotel Garuda was very much carried by Chris’s production prowess. Chris and I have the kind of relationship where we both feel comfortable learning from each other as well as teaching each other -- so my creative process in music has always been collaborative at heart. There are elements of the process that I prefer carrying out by myself, and now that HG is a solo act I have been working on entire songs by myself. However, I will always love collaborating with other artists because they tend to introduce the unexpected, and that’s what I live for. 

CK: "One Reason" is such a catchy, fun, and emotional song. Did you have any special motivation behind making the track? 

HG: It feels like the energy from the session with Imad and Kiah carried over into the music well, and I’m glad people can pick up on it like that. At its core the song is deeply emotional, but the sounds we use and the style of production remove it from sounding sad, instead making it sound hopeful. I have tremendous respect for Imad and Kiah’s songwriting abilities and I’m glad the rest of the track allows them to shine brightly.

CK: What does your workflow look like and how do you deal with distractions or creative blocks in your work?

HG: I tend to work slowly when i work by myself, and creative blocks can be daunting and depressing. I have to try hard to remind myself that it’s okay to not make an amazing, incredible track every day, but most of all I just try to make whatever comes out of my brain first, and then to go back and make sense of it later. I’ve used Ableton since the beginning, and while I feel like I’ve reached a point in my abilities where I can confidently produce whole songs. I am still learning new things on a daily basis. Out of the 100 random ideas I would make over two months, maybe one or two would turn into full songs, which is a hard pill to swallow at first. Over time, though, I came to realize that the first step is trying to make something at all, and if you can put yourself in a headspace to start ideas, finishing them becomes less daunting. Moving on to finishing ideas is the hard part, but realizing the importance of following through on my ideas really helped me push on with it.

CK: What can fans and new listeners expect from you next year and on your tour? Is there a specific aspect you're most pumped about?

HG: I'll be playing out some of my new material as well as showcasing an array of house, disco and club music that i really enjoy and think my fans would enjoy too. I’m really excited that i get to play 2 hour sets, not because it’s a technical feat or anything like that, just that it gives me more time than usual to make the whole experience worthwhile.

CK: Can you tell us what it was like working with Manila Killa, as someone who is also a close friend, I can imagine disagreements or different perspectives coming up during the process.

HG: I’m of the opinion that creative disagreements and different perspectives make for more interesting art. Throughout our time together, Chris and I prided ourselves on being able to put the music first and to do what was best for the song at the time. I’m happy that we remain close friends and that we can still share music and works in progress with each other without fear of reproach. Obviously, no two people share the exact same taste in music so there have been times when we found ourselves at odds with whatever was going on in our music, but having known each other since we were both 12 years old, we were always comfortable laughing off the disagreements and pushing forward. 

There you have it. Hotel Garuda shared a great deal that I think brings helpful insight into how he works as an artist, approaches collaboration with other artists, and what we can expect from him in the new year. Grab tickets here, you won't want to miss it.

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