Heart Trip Vol.2 – THE RECAP

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Hey there, long time no see! Excuse my absence on the blog, been doing lots of things the past months. But I won’t talk much and get right into it, this blog episode will be a full recap of my biggest project so far: Heart Trip Vol.2!

I will write about everything regarding this project, the production, the artists, the journey, the remixes and the sample pack, man even the cover art.

First up a massive THANK YOU

A thankful man

So – as many of you probably already know: my biggest release ever, Heart Trip Vol.2 has been online since end of July. Feedback has been super positive so far and I keep getting messages about it. This is something that makes me extremely happy and grateful and I’m hoping to give back as good as possible soon. If you somehow haven’t been able to listen yet, here is everything you need:

The album is also up for quick purchase on Bandcamp, probably the easiest way to support me.

Heart Trip Vol. 2 is successor to last year’s Heart Trip EP, my first RnB and Hip Hop inspired project. For this year’s rendition I wanted to increase the track amount and get even more people to work with me on this. And to my own surprise I actually managed to double the track amount to 12 and get a great bunch of artists to work with me on this project. 

Now without further ado, lets get started with how it all began.

The Idea for Heart Trip Vol.2

As I already said, Heart Trip Vol.2 is the second volume of a very personal and emotionally inspired project. Working on tracks for any Heart Trip I try to write down lyrics and develop musical ideas that process feelings and things that inspire and move me personally. Still I sometimes want other artists to work with me on those ideas to bring a fresh touch to the music. But in the beginning this album wasn’t even planned. In January when I took art in the #jamuary challenge I was inspired by a demo snippet for one of Native Instruments Maschine Expansions and created this 3/4 groove that would later be named Humid Ardour.

It’s got a very tropical vibe and I instantly started to think about summer and what’s lying ahead of me. Right then I knew this was the start of Heart Trip Vol.2. Very quickly the idea to double the track amount was born and I knew it would be a hustle to create 12 tracks in time for summer but as you can see I somehow did it.

Implementing thought

The vibe was right immediately but with the year heading towards spring I developed strong feelings for certain things and strong anticipation for summer as well. I wrote lyrics for ‘Daylight‘, made an instrumental, got the wonderful artist Magicka to create the vocals and simultaneously worked on several other instrumentals. I wanted to include smooth and positive vibes and worked on tracks like ‘Zest‘ and ‘She’s Having A Good Time‘. At the same time I wanted to go into an RnB kind of direction. ‘Tempt‘ featuring Jule Reddig is probably the track you can hear this the most, some sampling action, retro sounds and super smooth vocals.

The good vibes aside, there was also a period within the time of production that had my mood shift a bit. Weather was not the best, I had some different thought processes going on and in that time the darker part of Heart Trip Vol.2 was created. Namely ‘Hopeless Love Letters‘ and ‘Love Is Misery When It’s Left Wandering‘.

Behind the beats

Maybe some of you are interested in this and while I rarely give production insights (I don’t even know why) I’ll do exactly that right now. So how was Heart Trip Vol.2 crafted?
Apart from ‘On The Street Shores’ and ‘Love Is Misery When Its Left Wandering’ every track started with a little session with my Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK3. I used both my own samples and samples from other packs for the drums. In most cases added some synth designed in Omnisphere 2 in combination with organic sounds from real instruments. An important part in creating unique drum and percussion patterns was playing the pads on my Maschine and recording that to add sounds here and there and make little fixes later on.

Although the structure I had when making a song was mostly the same every track is still different from the others. I’m sure you know that too from producing music, at some point you always start working on certain parts more and implement special details that give your song that special touch. Look at ‘Love Is Misery When It’s Left Wandering’ for example.

The intro is very important when it comes to set an atmosphere for the listener. For that track I sampled my own car, putting in the keys and driving away from a parking lot. This is combined with some halftimed piano sequence to teaser the main melody and set the vibe. In the first half the elements of this track are very sparsely arranged, the song then concludes in a kind of liquid sounding and glitchy second main part that ups the pace a little bit. The song never really gets extremely energetic though which makes me feel like something is incomplete somehow.

Another example I wanna mention is Zest.

Chord and melody wise there aren’t many changes throughout the whole song. But the second main part sound sounds so much more intense than the first half because there is a solo synth line playing in the foreground and a bunch of percussion is added. In fact in Zest all of the percussion sounds are my own samples and you can actually get many of those with the Heart Trip Sample pack but I will talk a bit more about that later.

Drawing inspiration

Every artwork is inspired by something. And while some tracks on the album were just inspired by some special moment or thought that went through my head there were some direct inspirations that led to certain tracks sounding the way I do.

‘Jaunt Dub’ is one of those tracks. It was heavily inspired by ‘Ready Now’ by Yaadcore. I just wanted to make something with a similar vibe but didn’t really manage to copy that exact sound so the song ended up sounding the way it does now.

Another direct inspiration even reappeared after giving me ideas for the Heart Trip EP back in 2019. C Y G N is an artist whose style I deeply admire cause it’s somehow so recognizable for me and I don’t know why. The distinct drum sounds and mellow melodic elements heavily inspired ‘She’s Having A Good Time’ featuring Finn Fust and Sarah Holz.

I made the drums and synths and shortly after that recorded Finn playing some awesome guitar parts I chopped up and arranged around the beat. To complete the song Finn and Sarah put in some great vocal performances that really define the song.

Collaborators = friends

At this point I could go even further and break down every single song track by track but I think now it’s time to honor everyone who helped me create this. Without all the artists involved in this I would not have been possible to create this unique experience.
Magicka made an astounding comeback in my music with her vocal performance on ‘Daylight’. It’s always so delightful and uncomplicated to work with her.

There are two other artist who already appeared in my music. Leliah Maru and Sarah Holz. Leliah saved the last track I finished for the album ‘I Like It Sweet’ by being available for a super quick 8am recording session and Sarah actually features on two tracks. Not only on ‘She’s Having A Good Time’ but also on ‘Hopeless Love Letters’, a track that took a lot of inspiration from a song called ‘Opal’ by Direct.

Both Leliah and Sarah are good friends of mine and music definitely helped us connect even better from the past times up until now.

Finn Fust is another one of those friends. Making music with him you never know what the end result will sound like but that’s a good thing!

And don’t forget about Jule Reddig. She actually performed the vocals for my most personal song ‘Sorrow’ back in 2018. I worked 60 hours on that track and learned a lot during and after the production of this song.

You can hear Jule in ‘Tempt’, one of my personal favourites of Heart Trip Vol.2. I think she found the best way to make her vocals fit in with the instrumental.

Something else I always wanted to do was to work with a rapper and guess what – it finally happened. Daric Polls is a super cool dude and an incredible rapper. He totally delivered and added so much fresh energy to the ‘Never’ instrumental.

But I didn’t solely work with vocalists for this album. ‘I Like It Sweet’ also features Mon-Day, one of the best chill producers I know. All of his beats are so good and I’m actually jealous of his skill.

Last but not least, Vivien Kaaz! Another standout artist, doing both melodic material AND vocals for ‘On The Street Shores’ plus a remix for ‘Tempt’. More about that in the next section but before that I wanna shoutout all of you who worked on this with me and say:


Heart Trip Vol.2 – The Remixes

Shortly after the release I knew there had to be a remix compilation so I hosted a contest open to everyone, giving out stems for all the tracks from Heart Trip Vol.2. To the surprise of many, a bunch of artist participated and I ended up with 20(!) remixes for different tracks in completely different genres. You can hear a wide variety of styles from Techno to Experimental Bass and Future Garage.

Here is everyone who participated:

Ken Neon
Kata Dumur
8.Bit Ghost
Alma Animo
IsoDope Beats
Robot Noize
Vivien Kaaz

A jury and community voting decided the 7 winners of the contest, each one more unique than the other.

Tiikk created an incredible Future Garage remix of ‘Humid Ardour’. He even added vocals! And once you hear the intro you know this is gonna be beautiful.

Talented underground producer Wabbit also remixed Humid Ardour but with a totally different approach, maintaining the ¾ time signature but with a Trap/Experimental Bass vibe. When I first heard this remix I immediately jumped out of my chair. And then proceeded to listen another 20 times.

I’m glad to have JDOS on the remix compilation cause being the legend he is he can bring the best Techno vibes and he didn’t disappoint with his remix of ‘Tempt’!

Then there is AVVB with a makes-you-drop-your-jaw remix of ‘I Like It Sweet’. Incredible sound design in the drop, still can’t get over this.

Probably one of the most underrated artist out there is also on the remix album. GR I FF remixed ‘Daylight’ featuring Magicka and somehow created this totally different vibe. Especially the second half is super epic.

Alma Animo is a producer I’ve been following for some time now and he did exactly what he does best. Super groovy and chill beats. His choice to remix ‘She’s Having A Good Time’ was a great one I think.

Last but not least we got the legend JESTIC on the album as well. He remixed ‘Tempt’ and what can I say… yoo this is heavy. Listen for yourself:

Oh and I made a remix as well. Couldn’t hold myself back and combined ‘Tempt’ and ‘Humid Ardour’ in a remix.

The meaning behind the artwork

Remember the cover art for the Heart Trip EP (2019)? It shows a heart with a big crack in it. For this year’s rendition nature got it’s back and filled the crack with some beautiful, loving flowers.

Heart Trip Vol.2 – The Artwork

I think you can imagine the rest and develop your own idea of what that means. Like the first artwork, this stunning logo was created by Jule Herwigk, a talented young designer. Check her works out here if you wanna see some dope stuff!

Heart Trip – The Sample Pack

A first way of giving back to my followers in a sense is the official Sample Pack to Heart Trip. Why Heart Trip and not ‘Vol.2’? Cause it also includes sounds from Heart Trip EP! I didn’t plan on publishing this right from the start but shortly after the release of the album I thought it might be the best way to start creating packs if I made a pack all about Heart Trip. This way you get to try out the Heart Trip sound yourself. I’d describe the overall sound as clean, mellow and minimalistic. It’s got simple organic percussion, natural ambiences and mellow bass and synth sounds.

Heart Trip The sample pack
Heart Trip – The Sample Pack

The sample pack is up for grabs via this link. In total you get:

17 MIDI files
(Drum Beats, Chords, Melodies, Basslines)
78 WAV files

12 Kicks
3 808s
4 Bass Notes
6 Snares/Claps
5 Hi-Hats
11 Percussion Sounds
8 FX
5 Synths
4 Main Instruments
3 Chords
15 Vocal Samples
2 Drum/Perc Loops

I appreciate every purchase and in case you make anything with the samples feel free to show it to me! Not because it’s necessary but because I’d love to see what you can do with my material.

The message behind Heart Trip Vol.2

To be honest there’s not the one special message I wanna get out with this album. All the tracks are a bit different from one another and some transfer a more positive emotion than others. But I want this to inspire you to experience your own Heart Trip in a way. Look inside you. Search within yourself and find what makes you flourish and what makes you suffer. Be aware of the things that make your day, your month, your year – or just that one little moment. Appreciate those things. Connect with the vibe and take it with you on your very own journey.

What’s still to come

As this is not going to be my last blog entry this year (lets at least hope so!) Heart Trip Vol.2 also wasn’t my last release in 2020. Recently – and very quietly – I dropped a little 3 track EP similar to the style of Heart Trip called ‘Green’ and you can check it out in all the same places as the rest of my music. Or just listen here:

Apart from that I might be working on something like merch. But pshhh.

Lars Grages aka Nihil

Next year is gonna be just as eventful as 2020 I feel like at least music wise and I already got things in the works. I will try my best to make sure you don’t miss it but if you really really don’t wanna miss a thing I invite you to follow my socials down below and bookmark this website and blog or something and regularly check in on my activity (and shitstorm me if I’m inactive). Until then, thank you for reading this, see you next time!

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