“This LP is kind of a mix of everything I’ve been fascinated in for the past few years,” says Himera, the Latvian-born producer now based in Amsterdam on their upcoming album, Sharing Secrets. Their debut full-length record is out via unseelie on September 4, featuring Tohji, Hannah Diamond, Instupendo, Golin and Petal Supply.
Himera has gained almost unsuspecting notoriety before this record, amassing a loyal following simply by teasing singles that range from trance to pop, online mix files of performances, and features. These spontaneous releases culminated into a seminal 4-track EP, More Than Friends, for unseelie that dropped on the same date of this LP’s launch but in 2020. The 2020 EP turned out to be a starting point for a more intimate story on friendship and its role in the artist’s emergence that comes out on Sharing Secrets. Friendship guides Himera’s opus inwards and out on the upcoming record, from tracing back childhood memories into video game music to defining future maximalist pop. Every collaboration helps chronicle the artist’s style, bringing the music into a realm bound together by a fantasy-inspired vision shared between Himera and unseelie co-founder, Dasychira. The record unearths the raw magic of friendship and how close connections change you and create unimaginable possibilities. Himera wrote me over e-mail to discuss this a bit more.
**One thing that seems to influence your project is this mix of online relationships and those offline in Amsterdam. Would you agree? If so, could you describe how that’s the case?
Himera: Friendship, and the moments that come from it, is definitely my main source of inspiration for my music. Be they the happiest moments or the most bittersweet ones, the best way for me to lock in these memories is to write little tunes about them.
Recently I’ve also found a really close circle of friends in Amsterdam as well as my friends in Latvia, who inspire me to immeasurable lengths and have followed my writing process quite closely too. There’s a lot of songs on the album that are very much based on little moments I’ve had with all of them, like Umbrella, which was just about running in the rain from a party with one of my best friends.
**You’ve collaborated with unseelie a lot in the past, and I feel like your work intersects deeply with the lore created across their discography and artworks. Was this coincidental or has the affinity been built up over time?
H: The close connection I have with unseelie all started because of the sweetest Dasychira! When I moved to Amsterdam I hadn’t known anyone, and Adrian was really the first person I hung out with, and from that ‘More Than Friends’, as well as a big part of the visual and storytelling element of it, was born. Adrian really helps realise a lot of the dreams I have for each of the projects I release with unseelie. We chat almost every day, bouncing ideas back and forth for artwork, little puzzles and stories for each release.
We definitely have a very similar way of building worlds for any little thing, and I do think it’s gotten stronger over the two years we’ve known each other. We’re almost always on the exact same wavelength.
**I feel the record reflects intimate and personal feelings through this euphoric and video-game-esque environment created by the music style, even the titling in some tracks. Some of your collaborators like Instupendo have shared similar ideas. Would you agree? If so, what made you take this approach for the debut?
H: I think the “video game” part of the album arose when I went back to Latvia last Christmas break, and found a bunch of my old games and consoles laying around. I remember playing some bootleg “100 Super Games” cartridge on my Gameboy again for the first time in years and the sound effects and crude graphics were so fun to me, so I added those kind of silly sounds to some corners of the album. I guess because some moments of the album have some vulnerable and intimate stories behind them, I wanted to keep it lighthearted in some way. Instupendo’s likeness for 8-bit sounds and jingles throughout his last project also made me so happy, I thought it brought such a childish bounce to everything, but bittersweet at the same time.
**Lastly, a full-length debut typically relinquishes a sense of secrecy behind an artist’s work. In your view, what will Sharing Secrets bring forth – and where will you go from here?
H: This LP is kind of a mix of everything I’ve been fascinated in for the past few years of making and listening to music. Obviously, some pop moments, some tender moments, and some really silly and disorienting sounds. I still really love the format of singles – I feel like with each one I can share something that I’ve experienced recently, like jotting something down in a diary in real time. With an album though, it’s like all the stories and moments I’ve written down in this diary have formed a complete storybook that I’m ready to share with the world.
Sharing Secrets is all that I’ve been interested in making since I started making music, and to have it all in this one place just makes me really happy, and I hope it can make someone else feel happy with me.
I just want someone to press the pause button on reality and go into this imaginary little world with me.**