Interview with talented Ecuadorian artist based in LA Hgroove (Hassan Dahik). His high energy Latin sound is a mix of Ska, Funk, Hip hop and Rock, and can be heard at Los Angeles venues such as The Mint, and The State Social House.
He is best known and praised for his live shows. The frontman and bassist plays with intensity and a hyper spirit, which gets every crowd dancing. When Hgroove was 11 years old, he went to his dad’s house in Chicago and discovered a room full of instruments. He was automatically drawn to the bass. He picked up the instrument and hasn’t stopped grooving for 15 years.
He was a self-taught bassist for 6 years before he began his music education at Universidad de Las Americas. He studied bass performance for 3 years, during which he often performed live and gained a following because of his energetic showmanship and melodic songwriting.
In 2015 Hgroove received a scholarship to attend LA College of Music where he received a degree in Songwriting. During that time, he continued to build his following in Los Angeles, all that while independently writing, recording and releasing music.
Hgroove has released two singles, ‘Amazing Life,’ and ‘Freestyle Fiesta,’ available on all streaming platforms.
You just released your single ‘Que Pasa’, a bilingual song. In the past, you released one single in Spanish and another one in English. What language do you prefer when singing?
I actually like singing in Spanish because it’s my first language so I find it comes more naturally to me, but what I like about English is I am able to communicate to other demographics. That’s why I prefer using both.
Have you ever performed in a concert in Ecuador?
I have performed many times in Ecuador because I was the frontman and composer of a project called “Ismusqa Brown y La Groove Machine,” that performed a lot in the Ecuadorian music scene. Performing with that band is how I started increasing my reputation as a professional musician. I’ve performed in clubs such as, “Cafe Democratic,” as well as bigger and well-known historical venues like, “CAC (Centro de Artes Contemporaneas and Plaza del Teatro).”
Why are you passionate about your work?
I love expressing myself through music. Music was my way of fighting back against my problems when I was growing up. It was like a safe place where I could communicate with others about how I understood life and experienced the world. One of my biggest dreams is being able to leave a legacy so that a part of me is left in the world when I’m no longer here. I know my artistry, music and what I have to say will live on. Also, I want to help the world. I know that there are people that listen to my music who relate to my feelings about life and what I go through. I hope that will help them understand that they are not alone and that there are people in the world that feel like them. I also am passionate about bringing joy and inspiration to everyone.
HGroove - Que Pasa
What word do you feel describes you best as a professional and why?
I would say accurate or passionate. It’s hard to choose, because I give my one-hundred percent every show. It doesn’t matter who is in the audience, or if it’s a smaller or bigger show because I enjoy playing my music and try to give the best experience possible. I want the listeners to leave with a positive energy and with an impression of who I am as an artist and person. Whatever energy I put out on stage or in my music is the same energy I’ll get back.
What is your 5-year goal?
My 5-year goal is to have a stronger social media and online presence where I can share my body of work from throughout the years. I envision releasing a minimum amount of 3 music videos per year, showing up on SXSW and “Viña del mar” for live performances and collaborations with artists that share a similar sound, it would be a dream to work with artist like Residente or Cuarteto de nos, I admire what they represent for the Latin culture and my goal is to be as influential as them.
My 5 year goal is also to tour Latin America and the United States in order to have more people discover my sound which I think has an interesting mix of Latin and various genres. I am also a big video game music fan, so I see myself composing or having my songs on video games.
Are you preparing another single or album?
My goal Is to release at least 3 more music videos by next year that will be a part of an EP. I am always open to collaborations with other artists, but what I have in mind right now is releasing content on my own. My goal is to release a minimum of 3 music videos in 2020, but I am striving to have more content to release in addition.
Were you always sure you wanted to be in the industry that you are in?
Being in the music industry was always something I wanted to be part of. I love everything related to art. Being able to work with my passion is very gratifying. It can have its negative aspects because the industry is constantly changing. It can be a challenge to keep up with the various ways listeners are consuming music, but this industry is all about adapting to new winds. It’s great to be in the industry I always wanted to be a part of.
What motivates you to continue your work?
What motivates to keep going is knowing that there are people listening to my music and asking me for more material. Every time I have a live show, the response is very positive and people want to know more about me or where they can find my material. It motivates me knowing that there is an audience that likes and wants more of the content I release.
Do you have any advice for those looking for a similar career path?
The advice that I can give to people is that they should always follow their passion and what their gut is telling them. If they are really passionate about arts they should go for that, if they are passionate about architecture they should do that as well. Because you can fail at what you hate so why not go for what you love? I think success is being able to make a living while doing what gets you excited to get out of the bed every morning at the same time. Having a drive that pushes you no matter what, being passionate about your work will always make you continue. It doesn’t matter if you fall, because passion will you help stand up and be strong again. So, I believe people should listen to what passion has to say.
To who, or what, do you feel you owe your success?
I owe my success to my listeners and people that have always supported my music – from my family and friends to the people I meet on concerts, or that send me messages because they resonate with what I do. They are the ones I owe my successes the most, because they are the ones that help my music continue forward. So, I send a big shout out to everyone that supports me to keep on going!
Who are your top three idols and why?
It is a really difficult question to answer, I’ve had many people that has inspired me in my life from artist to family members.
I would say my mother has been a gigantic influence of mine because of her work and positivity. She is always encouraging me with strength and with wise advice when I’m in need.
There have also been artists like, Charly Garcia, that have open my mind towards musical ideas and compositions. Another big influence of mine has been, Calle 13. I like what they represent and the songs they do. I also admire that they bring the entire Spanish community together with their music. I like the unity they have created with their music, as well as their comedic cynicism in their lyrics.
What was the hardest part about getting where you are today?
The hardest part for me was being able to stay in the United States and work with my artist visa. Looking for only music jobs in LA is a big hustle.
This artist visa that I have allows me to continue doing my music here, but I have to work very hard at many music related jobs such as, volunteering at Villa Esperanza school (Comprehensive Services for Intellectually/Developmentally Disabled Individuals), Notes for Notes (a non-profit organization providing music lesson and recording access for youth), and performing at cancer community hospitals.
I also currently teach bass lessons at School of Rock and I truly enjoy it.
These jobs have helped me to grow as a human and as a professional in many ways. Working at these various places is something I don’t regret doing at all and I would do it again without hesitation.
I think the hardest thing has been the balance of being able to stay here in the US and continue my work as an artist. Life is not always as we want it to be so there are always things we have to overcome in order to do what we truly love.
What’s up and coming for you in the next year?
As I said before I am planning on releasing three music videos within this upcoming year that will be part of an EP.
I like having visual content for my music, because it expresses my art on different ways. Being an artist is not only about doing music, but also about creating the visuals that will go hand in hand with the project.