A selection of articles from all our issues - go to 'The Magazine' to read them all, including exclusive interviews from Aston Barrett Jr., Niko Moon, Serena Ryder, Canaan Smith and many more...
Hardy On his hopes for Hixtape Vol 2 and being Country as hell!
Hi Hardy! Thanks so much for talking to me today! You recently released ‘Hixtape Vol 2’ - what was the inspiration behind a second instalment of this project?
For lack of a better term, I just really wanted to do it again - you know, bigger and better! The first one resonated really well with everybody. It’s a cool thing that no-one had ever done before and I just wanted to do another one. We had a batch of songs and a lot of people that wanted to be on it and we just shot to the moon!
‘Hixtape Vol 2’ is different from Volume One in that you don’t actually feature on all of the songs. As the visionary behind the project, what influenced this decision?
I had talked to my label and we thought how cool it would be if ‘Hixtape’ kind of became its own artist – its own collaborative thing. There will be times in the future where I might not be on a single song and that’s fine. The goal is to create a collaborative record that gives people the opportunity to hear collabs that they probably would never hear. I just think it’s something different and something cool and I would love to see the fans fall in love with it even if I’m not on a single song, that’s the goal. I was a little worried that fans would be a bit confused this time around that I wasn’t on every single song but they really weren’t, it’s been resonating really well and they completely get it, which is exciting because in the future we can push it even further.
Having released your album ‘A Rock’ in 2020, is there a big difference in the process for producing a solo album and a big group project like this? And if you could pick one – which would you say you enjoy making the most?
My own record is more fun. It’s my passion and my vision and what I want to say as opposed to ‘Hixtape’, which, in theory, is more fun, it sounds more fun, it’s full of lifestyle songs and partying. But I would definitely choose my record. ‘Hixtape’ songs are fun, they’re about drinking and smoking weed; my record is deeper, it gets into love and storytelling like in ‘One Beer’ with a guy and a girl and getting pregnant at a young age. It’s got more depth and there’s more thought gone into it
‘Beer with my Buddies’ is relatable for a lot of people with the message that we work Monday to Friday, then spend the weekends doing things we didn’t have time to do during the week, and that all we see on the TV is bad news when really we just want to be relaxing with a cold beer and good company! In a life that can feel so hectic and overbearing, how important do you think it is that we make time to go and get a cold one and chill out?
I think it’s very important, man, life is truly short and those moments are moments that everyone needs, we need a psychological release whether it’s at the end of the week or the end of the day. Spending time with friends over alcohol - or not - but just having a good time.
‘One of Y’all’ is an expression of your pride in being country to the core – and really connects you to your fans. How important was it for you to do this?
I think that it’s very important to let your fans know you’re one of them. I come from the same type of town that they come from and I still to this day think that you could drop me off in any of those towns and I could blend in. Me singing that song and telling them, I think they appreciate that and like you more knowing you’re one of them.
‘Goin’ Nowhere’ is a great song and a classic country anthem. Lots of people can drown themselves in worries about the future, careers or over-complicated life decisions. Whilst being happy with what we’ve got is a staple of country music it’s something a lot of people struggle with. What advice would you give to people who are so busy over-complicating things that they can’t appreciate the simple things in front of them?
Appreciate it, because it could always be worse! Your living situation or whatever it is, in most cases it could always be worse. If you didn’t have a country upbringing and you want to get out there and experience that a bit, go do it, man! Rural and country life is very slow and simple but I like to think that people are a lot happier when they live that kind of life. If that’s something that you’re interested in then someway, somehow, get out there and try to live it a bit, it’s good for you!
The fine lines between musical genres today is becoming ever finer and in the past you’ve spoken about your love for rap and hip hop and your previous work with Nelly. In the future could you see yourself doing more hip hop collaborations, and who would be the dream to work on a project with?
I would love that man! I love hip hop, I even feel like there are small parts of my music that have a bit of a hip hop aspect, especially some of the songs I’m writing now. I would love to collab with - everybody says this answer - Post Malone. That would be amazing. I’m a big fan of Jack Harlow, he’s actually become kind of a buddy of mine. Machine Gun Kelly is doing this really cool rock and roll thing now, and I truly feel like I’m doing a very similar thing. A lot of hip hop right now is very rock and roll, I think that’s really cool. If anything, a collab like that would be very fitting. I hope it happens one day.
Maybe something to look forward to on ‘Hixtape Volume Three'! Finally, one thing we ask all of our interviewees is to name their top three songs that relate to mental health. What would be your top three?
1. Hurt – Nine Inch Nails
2. Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2
3. Humble and Kind – Tim McGraw
Leave a Reply.
Buy print editions of Mindful Melody Issue 12 below!