Hugo Sonia – Simulations Vol. 1 (RPL002)

Hugo Sonia, born 1980, is a composer who spent the last decade writing ‘library’-music for film and TV, but to this day hasn’t released a sound carrier under his own name. His Debut EP Simulations Vol. 1 is the first in a series. Here’s a portion of the story as told by Dim Grimm.


About once a year I get together with my old kindergarden pal for dinner. He owns this rather large TV set, which usually remains switched on while we eat and talk. Whenever I do get to be near one of these old info slings, I tend to soak up every detail in awe, especially the commercials. This time wasn’t any different. One eye and ear on the volcano documentary that was on, chewing on a delicious piece of the rabbit my friend usually cooks at these get-togethers, I suddenly noticed a gorgeous portion of music playing in the background of these monumental images of erupting lava. The score reminded me of a digital Hans-Joachim Rödelius / Edward Williams-cross, but a little pompous, to a still pleasant degree, at the same time sparse, faintly dissonant and supported by a repetitive and gloriously shaky, rumbling rhythm section. Discovering music in this fashion makes me feel giddy, and when the credits rolled, I wrote down the name of the woman responsible for the soundtrack.

Back home, doing the Google hunt, it turned out difficult to find any information about the lady, except for one or two listings on IMDB. I nearly gave it a rest, trying to be content with having had the rare pleasure of filling my belly with tender rabbit. Luckily the next day, I decided to write an e-mail to the production company of the documentary; the answer came surprisingly quick, but it contained nothing but Hugo Sonia’s e-mail address. Hugo Sonia? The woman’s a man? And her/his real name reads like a pseudonym? Two weeks later I received Hugo’s reply to my polite inquiry if there was any recorded music I could get my clamps on, and – this is the point where this story turns incredible – not only was Hugo absurdly excited to receive ‘e-mail from a record label’, but he also turned out to be living only an hour away. We met up for coffee and a chat.

«Ten years ago I thought I should give it a shot. I recorded lots and lots of demos under the name **** ***. I did manage to have some of it released on CD, but to get somewhere sustainable with it… there was no way in hell», he explains. «And my day job was to train snails. I prepared snails, mentally and physically, to perform fancy shapes on national holiday. After several years of doing this kind of work, it was like my mind turned on itself. I couldn’t stand the sight of snails anymore. Especially snails forming patriotic words with their little bodies. It also kept me from writing music, which is what I really wanted to do instead. So I quit and turned to the public service sector of the music industry. I had to make up several monikers, including one for when I write music that I can’t stand listening to. To run into you is somewhat of a blessing, as I can finally get some of my work out there in a different way.».

After hearing this, I tucked away the most persuasive of arguments I had prepared to catch his interest with (e.g. «there is the off-chance that some people might enjoy hearing your music, even out of context» and «we can do like, a hundred copies of vinyl»). He happily agreed to do a series of releases filled with his private recordings as well as demos rejected by production companies; the latter makes up 3/4 of the music on Simulations Vol. 1, the track Vessels being the exception.

We might do a long interview with Hugo at some point in the future, as he has lots to say that won’t fit this page. Until then also have a look at his waveform drawings on Soundcloud.

Release date: Wednesday, 19th of June 2013.
Available on 12-inch vinyl and as a download via Bandcamp