Wander the riverbank of Berlin’s Köpenicker Chaussee for long enough, and you’ll find a grand cold war nuclear facility, or what looks like one. It was here, at the beautiful, eerie Funkhaus – actually a radio broadcast site built in the 1950s – that Henry Green wrote his new single, and you can tell. Like the building in which it was born, “Stay Here” is both beautiful and eerie: a feather-gentle lament full of hushed vocals and electronic ripples, about isolation and fighting for a sense of direction, by an artist whose only direction seems up.
In the words of Henry himself:
’”Stay Here’ was created out of frustration from a loss of direction. I wanted to create a feeling of isolation and fragility in the production but gently move in to a warmer, more uplifting space as the track developed. The foundations of the song were built alone in Bristol, but the instrumentation was built up in Berlin with producer Nico Rebscher. It was really special to share such a delicate track with Nico and to see it evolve and gain confidence.”
“I write a lot about movement – both physical and emotional,” says Green who, aged 22, has two cult adored EPs, over 8m Spotify streams and shows with London Grammar and Nick Mulvey to his name. “Music is an escape for me, so I try and escape to somewhere less chaotic and slower in pace when I’m creating.” The result is a sound both subtle and cinematic (he dreams of one day scoring for film) that combines intimate, confessional songwriting with an obsession with electronics that has built in him since age 16.
“I vividly remember a friend showing me ‘Swing Tree’ and ‘Osaka Loop Line’ by the Vampire Weekend side project Discovery and it just blew my mind,” says Green. “Its sounds were so refreshing and exciting. The same friend showed me Jai Paul’s ‘BTSTU’ and it had the same effect.” Also among his inspirations are Jon Hopkins and Erased Tapes favourites Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm (“my dream collaborator”). It’s a different artist he’s most associated with, though – Norwegian production megastar Kygo, who in 2013 remixed Green’s cover of MGMT hit ‘Electric Feel’ to the tune of 10m SoundCloud streams.
As fans continue to discover the soft, raw emotion of his previous EPs, 2015’s Slow and 2017’s Real, Green is looking ahead. Having recently played successful shows at The Lexington in London & Reeperbahn Festival and with a debut album, tentatively titled Shift, set for release in 2018 and co-produced by Nico Rebscher and mixed by Jack Shuter, he’s continuing to push the boundaries of his sound, drifting further away from the guitar that formed the epicentre of his early songs and leaning heavier icy synth shimmers. “I’ve become obsessed with the idea of creating atmosphere. As I learnt more about production,” he explains, “I found it easier to translate my ideas and find new ways to create the sounds that would reflect my lyrical style.”
“I’m also doing a few shows and hopefully collaborating with a few different people along the way,” he says of the near future. “I mainly get excited about the creation side, as opposed to playing live, but I am looking forward to getting out there and sharing the new tracks in a live environment.” His stunning new single may be called “Stay Here” and his sound may be one of calming stillness, but make no mistake, Henry Green is going places.