Interview With Darkwave Act, Distance H

Distance H is the project created by the Parisian producer ManuH and realized in collaboration with female artists to whom he gives voice and entrusts the  vocals being one with his dark and melancholic style. They’ve recently released their new single, “Bitch 16”. We’re very grateful for their time in the interview.

Thanks very much for the interview. Could you give us a brief background of the project and
where the name comes from?

I initiated the Distance H project in 2020. It is therefore very recent. It is a solo project with melodies and lyrics in the hands of featured female vocalists, all of whom in their own way fusing with the project’s shadowy melancholic style. About the name of the project : we all live in different ways our own experience with the distances ; those that are self-imposed, liberating or those we would like to avoid. And it is sometimes hard to deal with all of them and find the right balance

On the opposite, the letter H is a kind of symbolism of balance, between oneself and our connection to the world. It is also simply a letter related to my family roots;-) So Distance H invites myself, the singers to face one of this distance, when they feel it necessary or like an emergency. Finally, it is also for the featured singers the distance they allow themselves from their existing projects and worlds. 

The Debut Single is ‘Bitch 16’. Are there any particular themes or stories that run throughout this
single ?

“Bitch 16” is in some ways opposed to Sweet 16 and its form of happy, carefree transition. When sweetness gives way to brutality; when detachment gives way to obsession, when desire gives way to disgust. The transition from childhood to adulthood can be particularly dark in some cases.

There seem to be a number of stylistic influences in your music from post-punk to darkwave to
shoegaze. What do you think the most unexpected influence (to the average listener) would be?

My influences are numerous: post-punk, darkwave, coldwave, dream pop, shoegaze, blackgaze… And I am myself unable to define my primary style. I leave it to others to do it and there is no unanimous opinion. I appreciated when a listener wrote me that he recognized in “Bitch 16” many of these influences without any of them standing out. And the songs on the Intimacy EP have different colors of these influences. But to answer the question, I would say maybe blackgaze.

How does one successfully paint a sonic picture with only bare minimum (if any) lyrics and
voice samples?

Since Distance H is a solo project, I always start with the instrumental before inviting the voices. And my guitar often leads me to riffs that are not necessarily melodic but that carry the melancholy of my style. I also appreciate the walls of guitars and I abuse them a little. But the sound image is already provided, characteristic of my universe, when I send a track to a singer. Then, I put myself a little more in the background, I can also simplify, because Distance H invites above all its singers to express very personal, intimate things with all the sensitivity of their lyrics, voices and melodies. And that’s what I want to emphasize above all else.

If you could rescore a particular film, what would it be and why?

I will never have this pretension, because I find a beautiful harmony most of the time between a film and its music with a complicity already found. Simply, I love the soundtrack of the movie Lost in Translation and this movie is particularly resonant for me at this time. I would be very proud and honored if one day Sofia Copola would choose one of my songs, because I like her musical references. One have the right to dream 😉

If you could create your own score for an artwork piece such as a painting or sculpture or piece
of architecture, what would that be and why ?

I became interested in Hieronymus Bosch after watching the detail of “The Garden Of Delights” for so long while listening to Aion from Dead Can Dance. I like to focus on the details in an overall movement and impression and I think this could inspire me. Unless it was for the call to become aware of one’s own sins, to free oneself from dogma, which was undoubtedly irreverent for that time.

What do you foresee in the coming months for Distance H?

A new single from the Intimacy EP will be released in September, then another one probably at the end of October, with different female singers, so … many surprises to come for the first listeners of Distance H, before the release of a last single in December, to which I am particularly attached, and the EP which will gather five tracks will be released a that time.

Supposing a listener, many years in the future discovers your recordings. What would you like
this person to know about your legacy, simply from listening to your music?

The question is premature for a baby-born project. And who knows how the style will evolve ? I have no other project than to compose according to my many influences, my discoveries, my moods and my encounters. I just want people to find it interesting to discover singers who came to express themselves differently on my project than they did on theirs. But also that they recognize a certain originality despite known influences, having avoided formats and patternsthat are too easily reproduced.

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