It would be fair to think of remixes and DJ sets when Hotel Garuda is mentioned. Since his inception, he has been solicited for official remixes from the likes of Lorde, BANKS, Louis the Child and more. It goes without saying that it has been a long time coming for Hotel Garuda’s debut EP, The Tension.
On the EP, Hotel Garuda adds a new talent to his resume: singing. The transition away from the EDM sound that put him on the map represents a new era in his life and career. The LA-based producer describes the project and explains the inspiration for the name, sharing that the EP “distills a year-long introspection into four pieces of music. The name of the EP comes from the tension I felt between being my truest self, and also putting on the persona that listeners had come to associate with Hotel Garuda. For a while now, I’d felt disconnected with the electronic music scene inasmuch as I had a hard time finding music that really stimulated me. I needed to break out of the confines that had been forced on me as a stereotypical producer/DJ.”
The EP starts out strong with “Rush,” a multi-dimensional track with futuristic sounds and a breakdown in the middle that transitions to a disco-meets-house beat. This track indulges the listener in the signature electronic sound that we have come to associate with Hotel Garuda. In a recent interview, the producer spoke on his shift away from producing electronic music, saying that “it got to the point where it didn’t feel genuine to only create club music.”
Growing up, the artist listened only to rock music until the age of 16, especially The Alan Parsons Project. When speaking about the musical inspiration for this EP, Hotel Garuda stated that he drew inspiration from Tame Impala and Phoenix rather than dance music. The following three tracks show this balance between indie and electronic and the producer’s talent for blending the two genres together.
“Mutual” is a lyric-heavy track, exploring “a gap in communication, a distance between two people that is less physical than it is emotional.” Released back in March, this track served as a teaser for The Tension, which set the tone for the genre blending EP. It gave listeners another sample of the producer’s singing and songwriting skills, which we first saw on “Head in the Trees”. The Tame Impala inspiration jumps out at the listener on the third track, “Olivia”. This song really grew on me since my first listen, the harsh contrast between the metallic guitar riffs and the soft synths creates this dynamic sound that pairs perfectly with the vocals.
The production on this EP as a whole highlights Hotel Garuda’s ability to piece every sound together and illustrates the evolution he has undergone over the past year. The Tension is the perfect representation of Hotel Garuda’s roots, influences, and direction as he moves into a new phase of his artist career.
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