Low Hum shares his new single “Only If You Say So.” The track begins with a dark and understated tone, creating an atmosphere of mystical intrigue. As it progresses, “Only If You Say So” builds with intense percussion and frenzied guitars, reflecting Desha’s mounting emotional turmoil and he wrestles with a longing to return home.

“A love letter to my home. This song personifies Hawaii. I’m always thinking about going back to Hawaii someday but I continue to feel like it will only be if she says so and gives me a sign. So much of how I approach life comes from my connection to Hawaiian culture and there’s just nothing quite like being there, experiencing the energy of the land and ocean.”

Low Hum

The release comes with a music video that was filmed on Oahu and the Big Island. Directed by James Kid (HEALTH, James Supercave), the video represents Low Hum’s fever dream of home and Hawaii. 

Low Hum, a 13th generation Hawaiian now residing in Los Angeles, brings together a fusion of ambient, rock, and grunge elements in his music. Reflecting on his roots and Hawaii came about after Desha and his band were robbed early on their Fall 2022 headline tour, leading to the rest of the dates being cancelled. The experience, including the total loss of music in progress for his next record, forced Desha to start over. When it came to thinking about beginning again, for Desha all things led back to Hawaii, and his craving for a sign especially apparent in the lyrics, “I always knew it came to you / who knew it all came to you / but you know I’m gonna stay / only if you say so.”

photography BRANDON HARDY

We sat down with Low Hum and delved into his upcoming album “Terra Incognita,” his new track “Only If You Say So” and his personal journey through themes of hope and perseverance.

What inspired you to create “Only If You Say So,” and how does it reflect your connection to Hawaii?

It was the first cowrite I did with my drummer and friend Spencer Lere. From a musical standpoint point, It was really born out of the guitar riff. We wrote the arrangement around the riff and then I started to ad lib melodies. Most of it was cut in the first session but the final vocals were written at a friend’s place at the beach I was house sitting. While I was there I was looking out at the ocean and remembering how much time I used to spend in the water – almost every day in Kauai and the Big Island – and how that was such a grounding place for me. When you’re out there, you’re really just dealing with with the thing in front of you, when a wave comes, you want to say yes and go for it. 

Can you share any specific musical or lyrical influences that inspired the creation of “Only If You Say So”?

I was reading a lot of John Steinbeck at the time that I was writing for this album. So definitely his work. The beauty he portrays of America and the strength of his characters were very heavy on my mind when framing the lyrical concepts. Those characters don’t give up and it represents a version of America that feels really important. Talk about salt of the Earth. When it came to OIYSS I was trying to express the longing I felt for Hawaii to call me back, my complicated relationship I’ve had with it since my childhood and the hope to find my way back someday. 

Could you explain the concept behind “Terra Incognita” and how it reflects your personal journey as an artist?

Another nod to the influence Steinbeck had on me. If my memory serves me right I pulled it Grapes Of Wrath.  Conceptually a lot of the album deals with perseverance through complicated and confusing times we can experience in life. A sort of knowing that you’re in the right place even when things aren’t clear. “Terra Incognita” refers to the black uncharted territories on a map and it really couldn’t be a better symbol for the album. There’s a feeling of optimism and adventure as we move through “Terra Incognita.”

How did the experience of being robbed during your Fall 2022 tour influence your artistic direction and the creation of your music?

When our van was robbed on our US run, they stole almost all of my music that I was making for this record. It rocked my creative process because much of what was stolen were new pieces that I had been working on while I’d been on tour in Europe with Warpaint, which was such a warm experience that I’d tried to capture in the moment. Even though I had the memories, I felt stripped a bit of my emotional connection there, like there was a void now. When I finally got back to LA, I basically had to re-start from scratch.  I salvaged a couple songs but it was a huge reset moment. “Only If You Say So” was born out of this phase so ultimately the robbery served as a reflection I might not have had a chance to make otherwise. Now I see it as a growth moment, and also play into the concept of staying on the path and perseverance.  

Can you tell us about your creative process in recording and producing your music, especially with “Terra Incognita” being partially recorded in Joshua Tree and entirely self-produced?

For much of the album I used Ableton as my sketch pad. Extensive experimenting and a free flow of creative ideas. I mumble song melodies of everything, just let the creative juices flow. I tried to involve all the musical peers over the years and just accumulate as many ideas as possible.  Once I had narrowed 10 tracks down from 30/40 or so, I basically locked myself in the studio out at Joshua Tree. We toured with Warpaint in June and Stella was super nice to offer her spot. I spent about two weeks in her Joshua cabin and produced the whole album there. It was a stellar experience and such a den of imagination and creation. 

Looking ahead to the release of “Terra Incognita”, what can we expect from this total work of art?

I’m so so excited for all of “Terra Incognita” to be out so everyone can hear it. The whole record really came back to the lines of hope and forward movement through trials and tribulations of doubt, and appreciating the beauty in the small things along the way. There are some pretty raw moments in there but also ones I think are universal to the general feeling of the times right now. Uncertainty with hope. Plus there’s a healthy dose of fat beats and riffs that hit in true Low Hum fashion!