One of the greatest things about music is its ability to transcend borders of culture, managing to bridge the gap of societal differences all through the power of great music. In fact, Little India‘s article on music highlights how artists use music to traverse different identities and influences allowing individuals to inhabit and embody the multiple cultures that make up their identity.
And while we can pick out several artists that represent this amalgamation of culture, there are very few who captures this more than the indie soul-group HOAX. And seeing as the band has recently just released their latest single More Than You Know, now is a better time than ever to take a deep dive into the track and the group itself.
HOAX’s More Than You Know
HOAX is mainly made up of Frantz Cesar and Michael Raj. Raj, who is a first-generation Indian American, was born and raised in the United States but has deep roots in Tamil Nadu. Cesar, on the other hand, is of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent and met Raj during their time at Hofstra University. The two linked up and started making music, debuting the single Beach House back in July of 2016. Accented by the playful guitar playing of Kevin Lopez, whose signature reverb is supplied by the Boss TE-2 Tera Echo, it marked the time when HOAX sounded like a modern pop tribute to vintage surf-rock. And it would be easy to box them into this genre, as their aesthetics seem to match it pretty well with their pastel-colored Fender Strats. However, the group continues to evolve. Eventually taking on a new form of pop-rock that they’ve coined as empathy pop. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Raj and Cesar reveal that a big reason for this change was their visit to the Indian town of Leh, which inspired what would soon be their debut album b?
Indeed, the group seems to have realized their true sound as they continue to lean into the wistfulness that their songs seem to evoke in their listeners, all while tapping into the Motown elements that make you feel like you’re floating. This is evident in their latest release, More Than You Know. With this track, HOAX takes a more minimalist approach to music-making as the song is supported by drums that serve as the backbone of the track. The track serves as a great reintroduction to a group that is perpetually redefining themselves, ramping up towards the release of their new album. An album that will show how their sound has been updated to fit the group that they are now. The new album will even feature a track called Beach House (pt ii) — a tell-tale sign that HOAX still has a lot to say.
Overall, the single is a great preview of things to come. It is a sign that the group will not settle for the safe route and will continue to push their sound to its limits. Only time will tell if this experiment will work out, but if this single is any indication of what’s to come then it would be safe to be optimistic about HOAX’s upcoming album.
If you’re looking for more stories about independent musicians, check out our piece on Shalabh!