Artist Interview: Husks

dark pop husks interview

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Husks is an ethereal blend of electro-pop and ambiance. The mastermind behind it all is singer, producer, and composer Connor Small, who tailors each hit to create an atmosphere of icy synths, industrial percussion, with elusive vocals. Recently, Husks released their latest single, “You Will Find A Garden”, a hauntingly beautiful track about love and its uncertainties. Its mellow beats paired with Small’s delicate, yet soothing vocals combine to create a comforting ode to a loved one.

We got the chance to chat with Small about the new single and what’s to come.

Before we jump into the new single, Connor, you recently released the track “Cut The Cord” featuring the pop artist WeiWei, can you tell us a bit about that collab?

Of course! WeiWei is amazing, just a truly genuine and talented artist. I had the instrumental done for a while and just could not crack the code on a melody. Originally, I came up with the sound of the song from trying to imagine what it would sound like if Hans Zimmer started making rave music, and it blossomed into the dark techno track. But I think I didn't leave myself enough room in the instrumental to find that hook, so I shelved it for a few months and focused on some other material. I pretty much relegated it to being an interlude for live shows.

So, during a session around fall of 2019, I showed WeiWei the track and she pretty instantly started finding melodies that I never would have. She started humming "cut the cord, cut the cord" and I was like "wait, wait...THAT. Keep going with that!" We basically sat in my studio and got the main chunk of the song done in a few hours, including a lot of the vocals you hear on the track! It really came together quickly, and I think that's because we both had interpersonal stuff going on at the time, whether it was personal or industry relationships, and that empowering (and simultaneously scary) idea of cutting the cord and removing yourself from a toxic situation really resonated. We both were like...sometimes you just have to tell somebody to "fuck off" but, you know, do it in song form. It ended up being a little tongue-in-cheek which I found endearing given the original idea that sparked the instrumental.

Transitioning from a song about life post-breakup, “You Will Find a Garden” was written as a comfort to your partner as they dealt with their depression and fear of change. Can you expand on that?

Totally, so "You Will Find a Garden" is one of the songs I've written in life that holds a really special place in my heart. I think we were both feeling a lot of complex and conflicting emotions all at once. She had a great opportunity and we were both thrilled for the next chapter in life, but also anybody who has been on the verge of a long-distance relationship knows that the lead up has all sorts of *fun* emotions that sneak up on you out of nowhere. So, writing this song was both my way of giving something to her that she would be able to latch onto in times of darkness and uncertainty, and also my way of processing and reassuring myself that things were going to be alright. 

For me as an artist, it was a really enjoyable experience because normally I'm trying to just comfort myself through my music and hope that people who listen can relate. But I realized while writing "You Will Find a Garden" that by bringing in lyrics that tried to shine light on another's perspective, I was forced to relinquish a lot of the control I normally have over the songwriting process. And that was really freeing. I think a lot of songs are focused on looking backward: a breakup, traumatic event, recent political or cultural issues. Even if you're questioning something thematically, there's still some certainty in the sense that a moment has already passed and you're looking back on it with new eyes. To me, "You Will Find a Garden," was looking forward, and there's something unique in that.

The song itself, while intricate in instrumentation and composition, felt like a soothing lullaby – soft-spoken and encouraging. Was that deliberate?

I try to avoid doing anything deliberate when I'm working on a song. Usually I fail at that goal, and this song is a great example of that. I went in like 100% certain that I wanted to write a slow, chamber-pop ballad. And I really fought against the song for a long time, trying to mold it into what I wanted to be. But once I realized that the song was pulling me toward the direction of a pop lullaby it really started to click. It was at that point I just stopped trying to make it be something it wasn't meant to be, and I think it became a much better and more uplifting song than I could've imagined. 

Your music often draws inspiration from your own personal experiences, in creating this song for your partner, what was that process like? Did you find it more difficult or more vulnerable?

Vulnerability is always difficult for me, because I want it to be immediate and the process of being vulnerable in songwriting is not linear and it requires a lot of patience. For a long time, I had this conceptual question in my head of "what would it be like to go back to the Garden of Eden." And I had that question sitting in my notebook with big circles around it for a while but never found a use for it. Then, as I was going through the difficult parts of coming to terms with long-distance, it started to feel right to me that as my partner was leaving that Eden had already made its way into our lives. And so, I wanted to remind her that no matter where she was, there was a safety in knowing our relationship would be right there with her. 

But that also took me time to unravel. I needed a lot of time to get to the center of what I was trying to express, which took a lot of time sitting alone with myself - and that can be tough for somebody like me who deals with a lot of anxiety. I think that idea of writing toward the future was also a challenge in that it was a new technique and style for me. So, it was a difficult process for sure, but I think it was well worth it.

The lyric video for “Cut The Cord” was so perfectly tailored to the track and the feeling it conveyed. Can we expect a video for this track any time soon?

Yes! I have a music video and lyric video out that you can check out on my YouTube channel.

While we’re on the subject of what’s to come, can you tell us about what you’re currently working on?

Of course! My next single "Connect" will be dropping in April. It's a song I wrote with Lucas Rizzo who is an artist based out in the UK, and it’s sort of a darker partner to "You Will Find a Garden" that is aimed at expressing the disconnecting shock that many of us felt during COVID.

Go check out Husks and be the first to know what’s next!

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Written by Mikayla Anderson
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