The Director's Cut: Hugo Samba - Wah - Magnetic Magazine

The Director's Cut: Hugo Samba - Wah

Go behind the scenes of Hugo Samba's debut album
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Coming across new music from an unknown artist is one of the great joys of being in the music journalism business. We get tons of submissions every day, but every now and then one of them outshines the rest. Such is the case for French artist Hugo Samba, who sent over his debut album that instantly caught out attention. 'Wah' sits somewhere between blues and electronic music; a swirling mix of delicate heat and sensual groove. 

The journey for Hugo began at an early age, falling in love with blues music and music production. He would spend days composing new music, venturing to tie his love for  Blues, and Electronic music in a harmonious knot. The plurality of music genres in his album is a loyal reflection of his emotions. Some of the tracks in Wah were written when Hugo was just a teenager. He grew up in the sun-drenched south of France, and you can almost feel the rays bursting out of his tracks. When he moved to Paris, he finished his album, drawing inspiration in the city, and the rest speaks for itself. 

Hugo Samba - Wah

Hugo Samba - Wah

How to listen: There are a couple of ways to proceed. First, you can listen to the whole album, which you will find below, and then read the notes. Or, read the notes as you listen to each track. This will completely change your perspective on the whole release itself and bring you closer to the artist and their work.

Words by Hugo Samba

Hugo Samba

Hugo Samba

Wah Introduction

As the title says, this track embodies the door to my universe. It introduces my blues, Hendrix’ wah-wah pedal influence my passion for Electronic music.

I first wrote this tune when I was a teenager, between two games of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. By the way, the intro song of the game, by Michael Hunter, inspired me a lot when I composed Wah Introduction. I think I wanted to play this badass bassline and add a blues explosive guitar solo.

This track ended up in a folder of my hardware, lost in my thousand uncompleted drafts. I came across it a few months ago and decided to remake it, purifying it from all the weird samples I put when I was just a youngster.

The guitar solo at the end of the track perfectly defines the sound of my fingers on my loyal Stratocaster: tough expressiveness flirting with sensuality. An instrument is a second voice. When I play guitar, I always try to find the best way to convey my feelings; maybe that’s the reason why I often use my humanizing Cry Baby so my Fender comes alive.

fender
Hugo playing his Fender Strat

Hugo playing his Fender Strat

Goudes Feeling

I produced this track in Marseille, my hometown, in my father’s studio. Les Goudes is an awesome place in Marseille. It’s near Les Calanques, it inspires me a lot. We can hear in this track the atmosphere of a sunny city, drenched with summer light.

My Father’s Tacos

I’ve always been living in a musical environment. As well as the track L’Autre Bout du Monde, I produced My Father’s Tacos with my father who has a different and neat approach to composition. He found the main guitar melody, and I did the electronic part. First, we called it « Tacos » because we could imagine ourselves driving on an American road with Mexican tacos, as in a Tarantino movie.

Cold Water (feat. Zoé Watson)

Zoé Watson, a London based singer, and songwriter sent me her track for playlist consideration, and I immediately loved the song. Of course, I added it to my playlist, and more than that, I asked her the stems to remix it. She kindly accepted and here is the result. I increased the bpm while trying to keep the pure atmosphere of it. Zoé's voice even sped up, remains haunting and ethereal.

Zoé Watson

Zoé Watson

Squats

This track seems to be really simple, but I remember having difficulties mixing it, because of the several synths and underlying textures. A tutorial of Worakls helped me finishing it, and we can feel his influence.

I called it Squats because my girlfriend used to squat every day during the lockdown, and we noticed that my song perfectly fitted the workout!

Wah Porn (feat. Koolness)

This track is really sensual and full of heat, as the title suggests it…

I remember composing it carelessly, like the melody was obvious, without thinking too much about arrangements.

Previously, I discovered beatmaker Koolness's Instagram profile, and I asked him to collaborate. He made me this unique beat, and I added this melody I found.

The only obstacle I ran into was the bass. Initially, we put a fat 808, on the drop. But the second after I played the bassline with my Ibanez, I forgot about the 808… Nothing beats real bass.

Koolness

Koolness

Forgetful Swell

In this one, I mixed acoustic and electric guitar solo, with an awesome drum from Ian Ewing, one of my favourite artist. I called it Forgetful Swell because when I composed it, I would feel the swinging rhythm of the song I was creating, as the sea goes on and off, like if it’s torn between forgiving you or not.

Promo video :

Sahara Blues

It’s an Ethnic Blues journey, inspired by guitarists as Amar Sundy. I would love to play this song with Berbers in the desert.

I think every time I take a guitar, I can’t help playing Sahara Blues. I can’t remember when I found this melody, but it’s part of me. It’s been hard for me to put it in the album, because it’s like I confide in public, and it’s always been delicate for me.

While She’s Sleeping

I remember composing this track in the middle of the night, while my girlfriend was asleep. I often got evening inspiration in music, but it was the first time I stayed awake for so long to finish a track.

L’Autre Bout du Monde

I made this shiny song with my father in Marseille. It concludes perfectly Wah because we find ethnic influences, deep sunny house structure, and a blues guitar solo. 

Grab your copy of Hugo Samba's Wah here.

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