Hancoq takes us through his new EP ‘Bloom’
Rapper, producer, and independent label owner Hancoq has shared his second EP, Bloom, via his own Mirage Records. The culmination of an intense year of honing his production chops to match his already vastly developed skills on the mic and in the studio, Bloom shows Hancoq taking after his EP name, opening up more than ever before and really coming into his own.
Henoke Nega AKA Hancoq channels a more laid back melodic approach to his music on Bloom, sounding effortlessly confident and self-assured on each track in the diverse body of work. Really hitting his stride across seven tracks, he continually switches up his styles and adapts to the variety of beats on offer with ease. Throughout the EP, he explores and finds catharsis in his own experiences while still maintaining a thoroughly universal lens for his listeners and fans to also get lost in. Fusing hints of reggaeton, trip, hard rap, RnB and even soul, Hancoq builds on the impressive reputation he built when he first surfaced back in 2017, proving he is still one to watch in the ever-evolving hip hop landscape in this country.
Of the release, Hancoq said, “2020 has been a strange year for all, with artists in Victoria arguably experiencing the worst of it. Undeterred by being stuck inside my home studio, I spent the year working on my sophomore EP Bloom with my friend and producer Hamley (Stan Walker, Sophiya, Phi11a). I see Bloom as my coming of age project, it explores themes of personal growth, letting go, and finding beauty in the tough times. I tried to curate a cohesive body of work that showcases my range as an artist, and also features some on-the-bubble artists from Melbourne’s underground, showcasing my passion as an indie label owner for identifying talented local musicians and sharing my platform to help elevate their sounds.”
So, with impressive new body of work under his belt, what better time than now to get to know Hancoq better? Here, he takes us on a deep dive into his Bloom EP, running us through each track. Take a read below and listen to ‘Bloom’ here:
Of the release, Hancoq shared, “2020 has been a strange year for all, with artists in Victoria arguably experiencing the worst of it. Undeterred by being stuck inside my home studio, I spent the year working on my sophomore EP Bloom with my friend and producer Hamley (Stan Walker, Sophiya, Phi11a). I see Bloom as my coming of age project, it explores themes of personal growth, letting go, and finding beauty in the tough times. I tried to curate a cohesive body of work that showcases my range as an artist, and also features some on-the-bubble artists from Melbourne’s underground, showcasing my passion as an indie label owner for identifying talented local musicians and sharing my platform to help elevate their sounds.”
The intro was probably my favourite and most difficult song to write off the project.
I wanted to tap into the feeling of how a lot of the early 90s hip hop artists felt before creating a timeless body of work, name dropping albums such as Doggy Style, 36 Chambers etc with each line dedicated to a year, starting in 1991 and ending with 1994 the year I was born.
This was the first song Hamley and I ever made and the catalyst to make the decision to make this whole project with him. Me showing up to the session about an hour late gave Ham the time to whip up the skeleton to Lucid. Within an hour of hearing the beat the song was done and a long-time friendship began. The song is all about reality sinking in and dreams coming to fruition.
NONSENSE FT. Gabriel LCR
Nonsense was a late addition to Bloom and the final piece to complete the record. It’s the only song not produced by Hamley. Originally, I got this basic loop of the beat from my friend DEER and I wrote all my parts and the hook. I posted a snippet on insta and my friend and fellow Melbourne artist Gabriel LCR replied to my story — I sent it to him, he wrote his part and finessed the production and the rest is history.
FRUIT FT. MANNY MULA
I remember it was a hot day at the studio, I felt like we needed something bouncy for Bloom and at the time all I was listening to was UK Afro Swing. Hamley whipped up this afrobeat joint that matched our mood. My cousin Manny Müla came through we finished the song super quick and had Fruit on repeat all Summer.
Ego was a song for the flex, playing around with melodies and fast flows made it super fun to make. I remember loving my verse so much I couldn’t write a second one so I tried getting a feature and sent it to a few artists I liked around Aus, they loved it but couldn’t make a verse work. Luckily enough this rapper from Toronto I had been following named Onlysu heard the song and within a couple of days he had sent back his verse and I was blown away, Hamley mixed our vocals and added his little producer flex with that unreal outro and it was done.
This was the second last song we made for ‘Bloom’. Last summer there was a week-long writing camp organised by Sony where a bunch of artists were matched up with producers to do a different session every day and by chance on the last day of the camp I was matched up with Hamley! It was so damn hot that day, something like 40degrees so we got thirsty and had some afternoon beers, and at the time I was obsessed with minimal beats with a fat 808 and cowbells. Hamley made the beat in like 5 minutes and I wanted to make something NSFW — a version of Hancoq that people know as Henny, my turned-up alter ego.
LULLABY FT. MAYA HIRASEDO
Lullaby was inspired by the goodbye song from Bear in the Big Blue House, a children’s show that I used to watch as a kid. I wanted to end the project on a sombre note and having Maya sing that incredible hook was the cherry on top. It’s about moving on and becoming vulnerable but comfortable alone.
‘Bloom’ is out now via Mirage Records. Buy/stream here.
Introduction by Emma Jones