Wrought with Eric Kusanagi
Art: Stefan Alt
Hiroe is a 5 Piece instrumental rock collective from Philadelphia that started in late 2020 and is signed to Pelagic Records. Hiroe’s music straddles indie rock, post-hardcore, post-rock and post-metal. It’s a wide spectrum, and I hope there’s a little something for everyone with heaviness, aggression, ambiance, and beautiful colliding harmonies. We don’t typically stay in just one style of music, and it reflects our musical influences and the music genres we enjoy.
The new record is called ‘Wrought’ and was released through our label Pelagic Records last July (2022). Most of the songs were written during the pandemic. It helped us all cope with what was going on in the world. When the world shut down, everyone looked hard at what was important in their lives and found hope and purpose in starting and finishing something. Coming out of the pandemic, we wanted to record and work with some people we were friends with and those we had come to respect and admire from afar. For that, we enlisted the help of Mario Quintero from Spotlights to engineer and produce. For mixing help, we worked with Matt Bayles, and for mastering, we approached Will Yip. Our creative process always starts with a basic foundation or idea of a song, and that gets presented to the band. From there, we’ll go through that song idea and make adjustments where we might add to it, pull back on certain parts, or highlight certain parts while adding our personalities.
We don’t have any vocals. Without lyrics, the music can become more personally and universally relatable. Because there aren’t any lyrics, we leave it up to the listener’s interpretation. That said, there is meaning behind the very personal songs. One might be able to conclude what a song might be about with the song titles (ex. ‘Everything is Fine’).
What inspired ‘Wrought’ were feelings of isolation during the pandemic, the need to cope, and the desire to have a sense of community with others in that isolation. Music helps us find hope and comfort when the world shuts down. What inspires us is our environment and how we respond to that. We are very much products of our environment and the people we choose to surround ourselves with, even if that connection to others can be very temporary. Creating is a part of our humanity, and we reconcile that with our desire to create music.
Music is more of a spiritual thing. It’s something very special and spiritual when someone you’ve never met or will ever meet has created something that you strongly relate to, something that you identify with, something that makes sense for whatever reason, something that just speaks to the sound of your soul.
I was initially more of a grunge and post-hardcore kid, but then I was introduced to metal when I first learned to play the guitar. A friend tried to show me how to play Metallica’s Fade to Black. From there, I just went down a rabbit hole exploring other metal bands, which led to exploring other subgenres in metal, like progressive-metal (The Ocean), sludge metal (Spotlights), and doom metal (YOB). During the pandemic, my bandmate Jill exposed me to many Post-Metal, and for whatever reason, it clicked and made sense to me. From there, I explored bands like Pelican, Isis, and Cult of Luna. Many ‘Post’ bands are doing really interesting and creative things that hit a nerve with me. The contrasts that resonate with me with the heavyweight and melodic aggression and the abrasiveness contrasted with a delicate and beautiful vulnerability, which speaks to my own introspectiveness.
Like any form of art, music can elicit positive or negative responses to our thoughts, feelings, and memories. It’s an important part of our humanity. Music helps connect us to others who share those thoughts and feelings and gives us a sense of belonging to a community, coming together with our people, and finding our tribe. In that sense, music can be a spiritual experience.