Mixing rap and rock music is obviously nothing new or revolutionary but Hyro Da Hero puts his own distinctive spin on the mixture. Born in Houston, Texas and raised in Los Angeles, Hyro has been quietly forming quite a following in the LA area since the end of 2007. Hyro takes his inspiration mostly from classic hip hop like Tupac Shakur and classic punk rock like Bad Brains and Fugazi. So far he’s played alongside a number of prominent alternative rock artists such as Deftones, Staind, Chevelle as well as hip hop artists like 50 Cent and Bone Thugs & Harmony. Hyro is currently completing his album titled Belo Horizonte which he should be releasing by the fall coupled with a U.S. tour. We spoke to Hyro recently to learn a little bit more about him and what his music is all about.
You’ve been active now as a recording artist for a few years. When did you first get interested in music and then decide on making it a career?
Hyro Da Hero: My interest in music came from just listening to Tupac and other classic rappers, that whole energy and aggression just pulled me towards it you know… When I was younger, probably around thirteen years old I hopped on the mic and just let it all out. It started with basketball then I just moved on to rapping.
In terms of hip hop and/or rock music who would you say you listened to the most while you were growing up?
Hyro Da Hero: When I was growing up, hip hop wise it was Tupac and most of the old school stuff. In the rock world I loved the old punk rock you know Bad Brains, Fugazi, those types of bands then Kurt Cobain… As far as the ‘90s go, I’m a ‘90s child… DMX and really anything that was raw and had emotion, like nowadays all this music is all about love and this and that and I want “fight the power” type of stuff you know what I’m saying? Something to get the people pumped up.
A large part of your popularity has to do with your presence on the internet on sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Orkut.com. Is there any secret behind how you’ve garnered and maintained such a strong following mostly through online mechanisms?
Hyro Da Hero: It’s just making great music, I want to put out good music for the people and something different, I want to put something brand new for the people like “Dirty South Rock.” You hear the drums, you hear the guitar and you ain’t ever heard something like that, like making rap and rock and walking the line between them perfectly like they’re making love together, that’s what I want to do, I want show people it can be done the right way. Once you’re making good music people are going to come to it. You make good music and people are going to come. Hip hop especially now is the same old thing over and over, same old beats over and over, same old this and that. I just want to do something brand new, something that’ll stand out.
You just led in to my next question. What do you personally think about hip hop music these days? Is there anyone out there putting out good stuff and keeping it real?
Hyro Da Hero: Right now? I really don’t feel like that about anybody in hip hop. I look up to the other guys like Jay-Z as far as music and business and this and that, but as far as new artists, I don’t really have appreciation for any of them actually. I don’t feel what they’re doing, I feel like they’re just catering to what’s hot right now, they’re too busy trying to put out what they think the people want to hear. I want to do what I feel…
I agree with you man, there was some strong stuff back in the ‘90s but today’s stuff is just garbage, it’s unlistenable.
Hyro Da Hero: And that’s what really pushed me more into the rock world. I’ve seen hip hop going down and I started opening my ears more towards other things and started listening in… hip hop just pushed me away the way it’s going now.
Your latest album is Belo Horizonte which came out right at the end of 2009. How do you feel about the album now that it’s been out a few months?
Hyro Da Hero: Oh I love it, I love it. Everything is going good with it, the fans are eating it up and you’ve seen my growth from my first mix tape to this, you’ve seen my growth and my progression and what I’m bringing to the table and who I am. I represent both sides, I represent that energy, I represent that aggression and just putting it out there to the people. And that’s basically what Belo Horizonte is… when people put their ear to it, they can’t put it down.
The lead single off of Belo Horizonte “Dirty South Rock” has been extremely popular and it was produced by Fred Archambault who has done a lot of work with rock group Avenged Sevenfold. How did Fred end up producing and contributing to this track?
Hyro Da Hero: He digs my music; he was digging my music for a while. I met him through my manager and he was into it because you know it was just something new and he was like “yo, I got to be down with this.” We just put our brains together and came up with the track. I really want to put out “me” when I’m making my music and he got that, he got the southern vibe, the rock, you know you can mosh pit to it, the hip hop crowd can bounce their heads to it in the car and that’s basically all in that single, that’s why I love “Dirty South Rock” so much.
So you’ve known Fred for a few years now?
Hyro Da Hero: Yeah I’d say probably about a year and a half, two years.
I saw that part of your live band includes former Quicksand guitarist Tom Capone and former Failure drummer Kelli Scott. How did Tom and Kelli end up joining up with you?
Hyro Da Hero: Oh it was amazing how that happened. It was my first time coming out to L.A. and my manager knows a lot of people and they were just digging what I was doing and they wanted to try something new. You know Tom Capone, he did some great stuff in Quicksand and they just felt what I was doing because you know when people see a guy mixing hip hop with rock and they see that I know what’s going on, I know the punk rock world, I know all the good stuff, they couldn’t pass it up you know…
Now how is the average Hyro Da Hero song written? Do you do most of the work yourself or do you collaborate with other artists and producers?
Hyro Da Hero: I do most of the work myself, all the writing lyrics and all of that, that’s me. Most of the beats I make is me, on Belo Horizonte I produced it with a cat named Tony that I worked with. With the writing, it’s just when I hear a beat I just know what to do, I don’t sit down… you know how some people who just sit there and write, write, write all day long or how the Jay-Zs just put it in their minds, when I hear a beat, I know what to do. It’s like the beat is speaking to me so once I hear the beat I know what song needs to go to it and I just write it straight up from there. That’s the way I get down…
What do you have on the horizon in terms of touring plans? Where can fans expect to see Hyro out on the road?
Hyro Da Hero: Right now I’m working on the album, just trying to finish up the album, I have no plans right now but I’m looking forward to doing more in Texas. I really want to get this album done so I can get it out and introduce people more to Hyro The Hero.
Speaking of your album, when do you think you’ll have it done and put it out there?
Hyro Da Hero: Probably around next year. Maybe around this time next year, I’m looking forward to it.
What type of fans do you find come out to see you live? Is it mostly hip hop fans, rock fans or is it a cross-section of both?
Hyro Da Hero: Oh it’s a mix of everything, from the metalheads to the hip hop fans to the punk rock kids, it’s so different you know what I’m saying? It’s the craziest thing, I get love from everywhere man, everywhere. I have kids say to me I hate rap music but I love what you do. And that shows me that it’s more than just music, it’s energy that’s coming out there when I’m rhyming and the energy comes through the guitars and drums and things of that nature and that’s why I love messing with the rock music so much.
What else does Hyro have planned for the rest of this year and then into 2011?
Hyro Da Hero: Really right now the focus is basically finishing my album and then getting on some good tours but it’s about focusing on the music and getting the album the way I want it and really bringing that out there. I’ll be out on the road definitely though, you can expect to see me out there. [ END ]