With a musical style that mixes a variety of influences and unmatched energy onstage, the French pop group Hyphen Hyphen is enjoying great success. In mid-febreuary 2019, they performed two concerts in Tahiti. A first that also gave them an opportunity to discover our islands. They shared their experience with us.
Before getting here what did Tahiti mean to you ?
Hyphen Hyphen : We all had the picture postcard image of coconut palms overhanging the water, an idyll where you say « One day … I’ll go there ! ». And once you’re here, you really do feel like you’re INSIDE that picture postcard. The boundary between dream and reality blurs. We stayed on Moorea for a few days, it was amazing. The island is less densely inhabited, wilder and better preserved.
What was struck you most about your first experience in Tahiti?
Firstly and foremost we’ve been struck by the kindness and positive attitude of the people. They’re always looking on the bright side of things, always keen to talk to you and take time for a chat. Also, we’ve rapidly got used to the lack of formality. It puts everyone on the same playing field, it’s quite refreshing. And then, something that is really striking for us: everyone rolls their «r»s. It’s so charming.
Did you get a chance to try some activities?
We’ve been discovering something new every day, one more impressive than the next. One part of the team has been scuba diving while the others went snorkeling. We were amazed by the numbers and variety of fish. The lush green vegetation is also incredible. We are staying above Papeete and we have a fantastic view of the island. We arrived in the dark. In the morning, when we woke-up we all ran onto the terrace to take in the breathtaking view of the ocean and its incredible shades of blue.
Are you nervous before your first concert and first encounter with the Tahitian public? Because you don’t know this audience from the other side of the world …
No, not nervous! We are excited to get up on stage. We have grown up on the stage and it’s thanks to our tours that we’ve met lots of people. It is our love of the stage and new encounters that have brought us here to Tahiti. We’ve done so many concerts in France, all so different, that we can now easily adapt to different situations. And given how nice and kind Tahitians are, we think we’re going to have a ball...
Will you be playing tracks from all your albums or just your most recent one, HH, released in May 2018 ?
Generally, we prioritize our most recent titles and current album because they are what we are proudest of, the sincerest, they say the most about us and are the most international also. We’ve come all this way to play universally and this album is filled with songs that unite us, and have universal themes.
Have you had an opportunity to discover Tahitian music?
We have already been struck by its power and how ubiquitous it is. You hear it on the radio, and media, etc... We visited a record store near Papeete’s market, where the owner handed us a selection of Tahitian music.
What motivated you to come and perform in Tahiti? Coming from europe, it isn’t easy in terms of availability and organization…
We said yes immediately when Arnaud and Rodolphe, from Casa Mahina contacted us, because it was an opportunity to come to Tahiti. The hardest part was finding an opening in our schedule, because we are very busy and have lots of shows already planned and are touring in Europe with concerts in Germany and England.
How would you define your musical style?
We like to say that it’s « pop » because it covers a bit of everything. Our strength is that all three of us write together and each of us have shared and different influences. Our strength is also that we write, compose, produce and sing our own songs. We are all three producers and that makes the type of music that we like but it is not easy to classify. We maintain this freedom because we are lucky to have it. Our music can be said to be contemporary, but also pop, R’n’b, hip hop …Sometimes it borders on blues and folk. It’s broad. What is so exciting about hip hop is that it is inspired by all different cultures. We’re trying to do the same thing in our own way.
Is travel and discovering different horizons also important to you?
We love all that. We have built ourselves around travel. Straight after the group was formed, we went on a tour … with 200 dates! Even if it was within France, it was still 200 shows and all that before our first album had been released (editor’s note: Times in September 2015). Today we’ve played a total of 500 gigs. We’re travelling all the time, whether in the van, train or plane!
In fact, you mix music and travel?
Yes, of course, it helps you grow. Travelling allows you to meet lots of different people. It’s a type of conquest, in fact, the conquest of hearts.
Are you tempted to come back to our islands for a longer visit?
Definitely ! All the more because there are so many other islands to visit.