We spoke to Hezron Chetty about modern classical music and his new album, ‘The Fallacy of Composition’.
When did you realise that you wanted to play violin for the rest of your life?
I think it was meant to be really – since hearing it being played for the first time to where I am now – I have had only love for this instrument. I don’t recall an exact moment, but it has been the one constant in my life that has always been there for me. I have no choice but to honour the relationship I have with my violin; if it allows me, I will play it for the rest of my life.
Do you think classical instruments still have a place in mainstream popular music?
The guitar dates back to the 1200s and the violin dates back to around the 1500s the classical period only started in the 18th Century. My point being that these instruments pre date a certain era of music and are integral in popular and many other genres of modern music today. I believe the violin should not be boxed into a category or genre. It is an instrument like any other and can be played for any audience – it just depends on the musician.
Tell us more about your new album, ‘The Fallacy of Composition’. Which song stands out for you and why?
The Fallacy of Composition is my first solo album. The songs are rich in texture and truly show my technical ability, as well as my ability to express myself through my compositions. Chasing Kings is my favourite because it is the first song that I wrote through my loop station. It is really a fascinating piece of music: you have this underline haunting melody, that repeats itself in the second verse, then the song builds up from the gradual melody into a full out rock groove that adds to the intensity of the song. The music video is also up on YouTube, and I love how the chase scene works with capturing the energy in this song.
Why did you choose to branch out of classical violin music and pick genres like folk and punk in your work?
I just got tired of playing other people’s work to be honest. In my mind, playing classical music is no different than playing covers songs, which satisfies most violinists, but not me. I wanted to be different and I wanted to travel and experience what the rest of the world had to offer with regards to music. My travels led me to performing with rock bands, punk bands, jazz bands, gypsy musicians, folk musicians and I learned many other styles along the way. I firmly believe exposing oneself to various influences will help one to be more creative.
What has been your favourite experience while travelling abroad because of your music?
I have two memories that stand out most. When I first decided to become a full-time musician, I was based in London and had quit my job at the time. I was running out of money, and I went for 3 days without food. It was freezing cold, and I knew that I needed to make some money or I would simply starve. I grabbed my violin and went down to Hyde Park corner where I busked illegally for about 2 hours. I made £2.40. Over a meal that day, I realised that I could earn a living from just playing my violin if I put my mind to it. Things picked up after a few months, and I found myself at a promotion party for Mulberry and I got invited to a private area to chill with Sergio Pizzorno (Kasabian), Lilly Allen and the band Hot Chip. In that moment I knew that I had what it takes to be successful. I thank London for that.
What is your ultimate musical success?
My ultimate success would be being remembered as one of the great instrumentalists of our time.