• Josh Crowe

Into The Loom With Inness Hallam



Inness Hallam's latest release 'The Loom' is one of chiming perfection, a cleverly crafted body of work that offers a much needed sense of vibrancy and euphoria. The insanely infectious new effort that's underpinned by its driving melody and sway in the track's candidly poised instrumentals only add to its hard hitting effect as its superimposed guitars compliment its soulful complexion. I was introduced to Inness' unique blend of ever-twisting electronic music over Christmas and haven't been able to stop listening, it's a standout release from an artist who very clearly digs deep to perfect his sound. We spoke to Inness shortly after the release of his standout EP 'The Loom'. Enjoy!


Can you tell us a bit about yourself?


My name is Inness Hallam, I am 23 and am currently based in Chester but was living in Leeds

for my years at uni. At the moment, I was previously working in the bar scene but had to

move around a bit with the current pandemic. I would probably say that my main genre of

interest is Electronic music but I try not to keep all my eggs in one basket.


Tell us a bit about your time in Leeds and the influence it had on your music?


Moving to Leeds had a huge effect on my creative approach as well as my mindset as a

whole. Coming from Chester, which doesn’t have much of a nightlife, I was amazed with the

variety of events and venues as well as the styles of music that they played. Starting at

Leeds College of Music definitely took me out of my comfort zone as I was suddenly

surrounded with very talented artists with unique approaches to production and

songwriting. This was the point that I began to realise that despite having learnt the

common rules of production, I hadn’t really started to use them to achieve my own original

style.


Was there anything that inspired the sound of the EP asides from musicians and artist (i.e

places, people, experiences etc)


This EP was the first project that I had officially released in a long time after taking some

time to work on my own style. I wanted to rely less on loop based production and have the

work include a bit more expression. Being based in Leeds for some time put me in contact

with some very talented performers and engineers, so it was exciting to start a project

knowing I had other minds to bounce the ideas off of. Having external input from Komy and

Tom (from 4am Honey) for the track Big Drums kept the process inspiring and fresh as their

ideas allowed for different directions to take the arrangement.


One of the biggest influences in my music lately has been the Fender Rhodes MkII that I

bought a couple of years back. I have fallen in love with the sound and its ability to fit so

easily into any mix, which has allowed me to write it into the majority of my latest projects.



What are some more obscure influences that people might not notice straight away?


In my later years at uni, I became obsessed with music that was very nice and easy on the

ears. Artists like Roberta Flack, Khruangbin and Gil Scott Heron just have this quality that

makes it the warmest thing to listen to really late at night. I made a playlist called 4am

Honey (which then became the inspiration and the name of the band that I played with in

my final year in Leeds), full of songs that shared this quality.


It goes without saying how these influences went hand in hand with the UK Jazz scene that

has also made a huge impact on my work. I really enjoy artists like Yussef Kamaal, Kokoroko

and Ruby Rushton who are all pushing the boundaries of live music but still give nods to the

more electronic history in the big city cultures.


Was the EP recorded in lockdown, if so what negatives/positives did it bring to the

recording process?


The lockdown, as I imagine it was for everyone, was a very surreal experience. I was

constantly bouncing between moments of really enjoying the time to myself and then

moments of thinking I was actually going nuts. The title of the EP was actually based off of

times during the pandemic in which I just cracked on with the mundane routine and enjoyed

the amazing weather but still had this dark looming cloud hanging overhead. However, it

was nice to finally have full days that I could dedicate to songwriting and practicing

instruments.


The biggest downsides to the pandemic was not being able to DJ anymore. This also had a

massive effect on how much music I listened to for myself. Mixing at regular nights meant

that I got into the habit of constantly looking out for new music to play but that sort of came

to a stop when I didn’t have to anymore.




How have you found the reaction since releasing the EP?


I was very happy with the reaction to the EP, I was very nervous to actually put it out there. I

just wanted to get the ball rolling again and release something official, so I just collected a

few tracks to get mastered and just shut my eyes and ripped off the bandaid.

But after the release I was very happy to see who actually took the time to share and listen

to my work, it definitely made the process worth it.


We think the art really compliments the EP, who is responsible for it?


The artwork was designed by local Leeds based Graphic Designer, Arthur Clouting (Intagram

@ac.lou_). Arthur has been a good friend for a while now as he also grew up in Chester. He’s currently

studying at Leeds Art and I have no doubt that he has a fantastic career ahead of him.


Was the artwork designed specifically for the release, if so, what was the process of

creating it?


The process began when I sent Arthur the tracks back in the early summer. I described how I

wanted something quite abstract and intense. Arthur began sending over loads of varied

ideas and we just kept bouncing notes back and forth until we narrowed it down to a few

final contenders. Although, at the last minute, Arthur came through with a brand new

finished piece of work which instantly won me over. I really liked the striking colours and

gritting textures and it really gave off a very industrial vibe which paired so nicely with the

EP.



The EP accompanied with previous releases like “Dunes” present you as an artist really

exploring the different facets of electronic music, what are your earliest memories of

getting into electronic music?


I was brought up as an instrumentalist performing in a few orchestras and bands but first

made the switch to electronic music when I wanted to record in the instruments I was

playing. From here I began moving towards more sample and loop based production and

everything became very ‘in the box’. I guess this is the point when my interest in electronic


music started and the majority of songs were made completely on my laptop. However, at

the moment I am moving back towards using external hardware and micing real

instruments to capture more of the human input and expression.


It’s quite remarkable how much depth there is to the three songs that only last for a total

of 12 minutes, do you think previous releases have taught you a lot?


Thank you for the kind words. I think at this stage, I’m at a point where I can trust my gut

feeling on the songs I think work. I didn’t want the EP to be too monotonous so tried to

choose songs that showed a bit of variety in influences. The release was originally meant to

be a lot longer but I decided to keep refining the tracklist as well only using songs that didn’t

use any samples just so I had complete control over the release.


The EP feels incredibly refined, whether it’s the artwork, or the immense amalgamation of

styles and genres in just twelve minutes. Is it your most rewarding release to date, what’s

felt different about this release to other ones?


It definitely is my most rewarding release to date, mainly because I was involved from the

initial writing stage all the way through uploading them to the distribution companies for

the release. It was definitely hard to persevere with getting it to the final product as I sort of

lose interest with songs I’ve made after a few months (and therefore think that everyone

else has too!) but this was made easier with the help from the other creatives around me

who gave such fantastic inputs to the project.


But I think the main difference between this project and previous ones was the fact that I

didn’t really produce the songs with any intention of releasing them. They were more for my

own enjoyment but it was then afterwards that I decided to start releasing music again.


This EP feels so well suited for a live audience, do you have any plans to play the tracks

live?


I would love to start performing again. I’m still trying to figure out a way of performing my

songs as I’ve never really liked the idea of me standing on stage pressing buttons on Ableton

Live. When I started playing with Tom, Komy and Alex in 4am Honey, I remembered how

much I love playing with other people so I hope that I can rework my songs for live

performance. Now that I’ve begun to record more live instruments into my tracks, this

seems a lot more achievable.


Are there any more announcements you can let us know about?


Got a lot more in the works at the moment, however things are moving very slowly with the

pandemic. I’m currently helping to write and produce an album with a local artist Eleanore

Damiao Johnston which we are very excited about. It’s been great to work with a vocalist

and have enjoyed stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’m still working on my own projects too and hope to keep releasing my own work in the near future.

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BABYSTEP MAGAZINE Est. 2017