Local Spotlight: halide

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The folktronica up-and-comer dives into “Know It All,” contextualizing his latest single through conversation on Berklee’s Electronic Production and Design program, the role of influences in shaping individuality, and how to confront the blank page.

“My answers now are completely different than they would have been a month ago.”

The path of a budding artist poses inevitable hairpin turns, interminable red lights, and intermittent gas stations that succeed agonizing staring contests with the low fuel indicator light. The gaps between the uncontrollable external conditions, however, breed moments of synchronicity with the road and awaken an internal GPS reassuring that this is the way. One month after conflicting travel schedules and inclement weather postponed our conversation, Austin-turned-Boston multi-instrumentalist halide exemplified just how swiftly the rhythm of the ride can change.

Know It All”—an almost four-minute foray of folk that cascades into a staticky synth drop of epic proportions. It showcases his chops as a player and producer, marrying the home base of an acoustic guitar Splice loop with his own electric guitar and bass performances. Currently completing his second year of the Electronic Production and Design (EPD) program at Berklee, halide submitted “Know It All” for a final administered in his “Control Systems in Electronic Production” class. Equipped with a technical foundation on how MIDI works and how to route synthesizers into a DAW throughout the course, he was tasked with applying this knowledge by creating a song.

The process of composing and sharing “Know It All” marked a moment of realization that his output does not fit the traditional mold of an EPD student. “A lot of people in the program are very EDM-focused: there’s a lot of trance, a lot of club music… when you think of electronic music, you think of that,” halide explained. “I tend to incorporate more into a natural setting.”

While halide’s catalog has been glued to the intersection of folk and electronic music—a genre fusion aptly labeled “folktronica”—his openness to cast a wider net with his soundscapes has grown with the passing of midterms. “I’ve realized there are professors who don’t exactly align with what I want to do, which is entirely fair,” halide articulated understandingly. “In them forcing me to go with what’s considered to be the standard, it’s forced me to broaden my perspective on what I can apply to my own music, and I feel like the past three weeks have been an explosion of finding inspiration in smaller places.”

EDEN, brakence, and Quadeca as the Big Three residing atop his musical family tree. The progression of his discography, however, gradually sheds the overt nods in favor of constructing a more unique identity, drawing the listener in closer with each release. “My singing voice has always sounded like it does, and it’s so funny that I ended up getting into someone like EDEN because our voices sound so similar,” halide cited as an example. “I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get away from that comparison and branch out beyond making a song like EDEN or brakence does. I want to start taking pieces [of their work] and apply them to a clearer vision.” halide additionally referenced the organicness of The Backseat LoversWhen We Were Friends and Novo Amor’s ratio of acoustic to electronic production as his most recent inspirations.

dial tone” as a moment in which he could have exercised those words of wisdom, as he took over a year to shape and publish in its final form. “I spent so long on every minute detail here and there, to the point where I changed the entire mix of the song six times,” he commented in bafflement of an avenue he has no interest in revisiting. “It got to the point where I was searching for problems that weren’t there.” In an effort to combat the obstruction perfectionism can present, halide has adopted a rule from artist, roommate, and good friend Captain Morg: if the final results represent at least 60% of the vision, the intended experience has been conveyed and it’s good enough. He added, “A lot of times what really appeals to people are the imperfections—as long as the emotion is there, people will take note of it.”

Photo by Hang Nguyen

Embodying the balancing act of reflection on the past and anticipation for the future, halide is driven to apply the foundational knowledge he has acquired in Boston in the form of a project. It would mark his first collection of records entirely produced by himself, as he hopes to bring his collaborator friends into the fold for a final product that yields something “a lot bigger and a lot broader that [he] can say is definitively [him].” A summer internship at a studio out in San Francisco is also in the works for halide—an opportunity to gain studio experience by assisting an engineer and interacting with artists who walk through the door. Amidst the restlessness of full immersion in the educational sphere coupled with attention towards furthering his art, halide possesses an expansive and ever-evolving itinerary, ready to contemplate any given route and relish its scenery.

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