The Hilang Child/Ed Riman Interview

Hilang Child was, or is a mystery to me. I reached out to see if we could get a better picture of the artist whose album made my top ten last year. I think what you will find is that the more you know the more you appreciate the album they made and where they are headed. As a result I have added some artists to my playlist and books to my reading list.

Share with us who you are. I have done some scouring of the internet, but let’s hear from you. Is Hilang a stage name? Where did it come from? Where are you from? How many records are you into in your career?

I’m Ed Riman, a musician from London, UK, who releases music under the name Hilang Child; last year’s Every Mover was my second full-length record and I’ve also done a few collabs and EPs in that time, most recently an EP built out of field recordings called Seimbang/Balance. Yes Hilang Child is a stage name but it’s funny how often people think it’s my real name, after shows I get a lot of “hey Hilang nice to meet you!” And a lot of emails that start with “dear Hilang”. Some of my friends have jokingly started calling me “Mr. H. Child” because of it. Back at the start I made the name up simply so that I had a separate identity for the music I released, as I was (and still am) also a drummer playing with other artists. “Hilang” is Indonesian for “missing/lost” (I’m half Indonesian so wanted to incorporate something), but there’s not really a deeper meaning than that.

I love the beauty I hear in your album. I think I called it dreamy pop? Do you see yourself married to any genre in particular? Who in the music industry influences you? Who inspires you?

Thanks! I’ve never really tried to write in any genre or attempted to fit into one, I suppose once you’ve done a few releases your style/sound appears and gets associated with you, but I’ve always left it for others to decide what to call it because I don’t really know myself. I think dreamy-pop is one that a lot of people seem to have edged towards when describing me so I’ll take it. 

I’ve always found it hard to pick specific influences because as a songwriter I think everything you consume can somehow find its way into your own creativity. For me that’s been musicians as far apart as like Brian Wilson, Steve Reich, Kendrick Lamar, Jonsi, Carole King and Ryuichi Sakamoto. More recently I’ve been really into a lot of people who I guess are in the ‘pop’ sphere, I’ve been loving Orla Gartland’s recent album, Caroline Polachek, Rina Sawayama and also a lot of legends like the Carpenters and Elton John, who’d I’d never really sat down and fully appreciated before. 

In terms of a person in the industry, I’ve been really inspired by Will Bloomfield recently, a friend I’ve been doing some writing with who also writes with a lot of other artists as well as his own projects. I just love his approach and he brings such a great energy and enthusiasm to whatever music he’s working on, like everything is exciting and nothing has to be taken too seriously or obsessed over.

Describe the Every Mover album in your own words.

Every Mover was an album I made with some great friends, which I wrote as a way to process some stuff I was going through at the time. I wanted it to be a bit more upfront and dirty than my debut album, but with moments of beauty. I often write with the goal of lifting myself out of a hole when I’m in one, so some of the most uplifting moments came from me reaching for that feeling during difficult periods. I got to collaborate with some really talented people, like my pal Rittipo who is an amazing saxophonist/flautist and Zoe Mead a.k.a. Wyldest who is a really great artist in her own right. There’s moments of massive pounding drums and crunching basslines, moments of euphoric lifts and also times that are intended as peaceful respite. 

The pandemic has been some kind of something. Looking back at the last two years, what do you see?

I mainly see my bedroom. The last 2 years felt like one strange continuous consciousness existing outside of time. It was obviously really difficult being a professional musician when the world had just stopped, but like a lot of people it made me really appreciative of things I’d really taken for granted before. When I finally was able to go on tour again at the end of 2021 I made sure to just take it in and above all enjoy it, absorbing the beautiful experience of playing music with others to real life audiences and appreciating how lucky I am to have the opportunity to do that. 

Besides music, what else are you passionate about?

I’m really into birdwatching, I find it really meditative and it’s an excuse to escape the city whenever possible. I got into it a few years ago after my grandfather died, sort of ‘picking up the mantle’ as it was something he was really into. I’d go on trips on my own for weeks at a time to see rare birds, things like the Manx Shearwater colonies on the islands off South Wales. I don’t have so much free time these days but I still try to when I can.

What are you reading right now? What book do you recommend to everyone?

This morning I’ve been reading this year’s Almanac by Lia Leendertz, a guide to the seasons here in the UK. A really beautiful book following rural almanac traditions, with a little folk tale and folk song for each month and a guide to things like each month’s tide times, stargazing, seasonal festivals and moon phases. Also just finishing up the Book of Joy, the collab between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu about how to stay joyful in these mad times we live in. 

If you are stranded on a desert island what three albums do you have to have with you?

The Beach Boys/Brian Wilson – Smile, Riyuichi Sakamoto – 1996, Green Day – Dookie.

What’s next?

Writing, writing, writing! Working on a lot of new music at the moment with some great people, I’m feeling more creative and excited about my creativity than I have done since before the pandemic. Also will be playing drums for a few really great artists over the course of the year, got a few shows coming up with Bessie Turner who’s a really exciting new artist here in the UK.


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