In the expansive music cosmos where soul melodies merge with electronic vibrations of pop, FHIO’s debut single, ‘I Never Knew‘ slides right in.
FHIO is the moniker of Danish award-winning film composer and bass player Fredrik Hjulmand. “FHIO is actually what my sister used to call me when she was little”, Fredrik explained.
Switching his music direction, Fredrik delivers an uplifting single, soulful vocal and a production to impress mainstream charts comfortably.
Released digitally, the live video session of I Never Knew (see above) adds a dynamic visual dimension as Fredrik is accompanied in the studio by Jonas Scheffler Kristensen – Trumpet, Elias Bendix – Guitar, Niclas Them – Drums, Jonas Agerlund – Keys, with Carla Hjulmand Nielsen and Marcus Elkjer on backing vocals.
We spoke to Fredrik about the song and his transition to a solo artist.
Hi Fredrik, thanks for taking the time to speak to us.
Film Composer, Songwriter, Bass Player, and singer, it’s an impressive resume! And congratulations on winning the best score at the NYC indie film awards. How did that feel?
Thank you Andy! It was fun making a score for “Hollow Pond” by Rolfin Nyhus. It’s a horror/mystery movie, and the main character is a Maasai boy. The music is a mix of two worlds: I recorded kalimba, djembe, and other African percussive instruments to set the tone, but as the story unfolds, more detuned synths and weird instruments appear. I was lucky to work with soprano singer Magdalena Kozyra. She did some cool improvising and has a beautiful voice. I tried to use some of my knowledge as a film composer with my new project, FHIO. I wrote most of the songs in Paris, and I wanted it to sound like a cultural melting pot; bundles of sounds absorbed from the city.
What part of the music creation do you enjoy the most? Singing, writing, playing bass?
Uh, that’s a hard question. It depends on my mood, I guess. I like to use music therapeutic – sometimes I want to write down observations/inner thoughts/experiences that give me food for thought. I need to express myself by writing and singing songs, but I also love playing the bass because it often means jamming with friends or being social/collaborative.
How did the new single ‘I Never Knew’ come about?
I bought a loop pedal in Paris so I could jam with myself during the lockdown. The song was created with a loop/riff in mind that kept repeating itself. At first, I made an uptempo version of the song. I had people from different places in the world record for me because of lockdown and the fact that I couldn’t meet up with anybody. After getting recordings from the musicians, I suddenly changed my mind – fulfilled the prophecy of my song title “I Never Knew (What I wanted)” when I came up with a new bass-riff. I instantly felt it was the real heart of the song, but unfortunately, it was beating slower, so I had to re-record everything, but I think it was worth it.
How would you describe the theme of the song?
At the time I was studying for my master’s degree (Music Performance) at RMC (Rhythmic Music Conservatory) in Copenhagen, I had an important conversation with my principal. He said something like “You should only play music if it’s your last option”. He said it with a smile, but it stuck with me – You know it’s difficult being a professional musician when your principal mentions it to you – it’s a little different than a drunk uncle at a party… The school was a place to dream big, experiment, and develop skills, but the music industry is a different ball game. My single “I Never Knew” is about this struggle, knowing it’s hard, but to keep on going because I can’t help myself. I needed to tell myself not to give up and define my success.
I Never Knew – has a soulful with an electronic funk groove. Taking a listen to your work, it all has a ‘groovesome’ flow. What/who were your influences in music?
Thank you. I grew up listening to Prince, Stevie Wonder, and The Police. I have always been very groove-oriented and wanted to learn how to sing and play the bass without losing a beat. I have a lot of influences – right now, I have Tom Misch, Dijon Duenas, and Khruangbin on my playlist.
The live performance of SKOVGAARDEN shows you’ve sung in Danish before; you chose to sing this in English. Was that a deliberate decision?
I have always been singing in both English and Danish. We have a great tradition for rock music in Denmark, and I had a period where I loved poetry and playing with words. At that time, it felt more natural singing in Danish. I had a long relationship with a French woman, and we moved to Paris together. I started thinking in English, and it made more sense to me. Sometimes melodies are born with words/a language – at least that’s how my mind works.
What’s next for Fredrik Hjulmand? More releases, videos, concerts?
I’m playing a few small venues in Copenhagen these days. I’m gonna release more singles soon and hopefully a whole album later this year. I have made a live session of 3 songs that I will put on my YouTube channel soon.
We’ll definitely keep an eye out for those! Thanks again Fredrik!