Heart People on self-expression through dance, the power of music and their debut EP

Sydney duo HEART PEOPLE are in a league of their own. Having just released their debut EP, Homecoming, the pair made their mark with conscious, intentional dance music with a mission – a mission to make you feel, move, dance, and express yourself. With a focus on self-discovery, on the truest forms of self-expression and making something meaningful with their art, Heart People deliver dance music with a purpose.

Made up of Rachel Rutt and Ryan Grieve (from Canyons), the pair met after a fateful night where Grieve was DJing and Rutt happened to be there. Harnessing the power of dance music, the pair connected and Heart People was born. After debuting Homecoming with a remix EP on the way, including a remix from Andrew Weatherall, we got to to know the duo a bit better. Profound, enthralling and thought-provoking, Heart People‘s answers below are in the same vein as their EP, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.

Congratulations on Homecoming, it’s a tremendous record. How does it feel to have it out in the world, and how has it been received from where you’re standing?

Thank you. We are very happy. Seeing this work enter the world has been incredibly cathartic. The ideas and philosophies that we believe in which started the project in the first place have been a real testament to how we feel it is being received.

Rachel – you’ve never worked on anything musical before, and Ryan, you have a lot of experience. How has this kind of merging of no experience versus a lot of experience influenced Heart People’s creative process?

RR: I feel this aspect propelled us to understand what Heart People is about before the music. What do we believe in, FIRST— before worrying about the medium. I also think that naivety is a form of power, it allowed me to not be afraid, or feel pressure to cater to what I or someone else thought I should be.

RG: Yes, for me it is all about working with someone who can bring themselves to the music in an honest and sincere way. Rachel did this completely naturally and instantly. Whilst naivety in music or art in general is something I’ve always gravitated towards.

Rachel, you were really inspired by the music that Ryan was DJing before you actually formed Heart People. What about the music inspired you so much and made it stick with you? Is this inspiration, and that feeling you had, something that you’ve carried with you throughout the journey of Heart People?

RR: It’s very simple really: I had the best night of dancing in my life. I’d never heard anything like it. I was euphoric, energetic, excited. The next day rather than being tired or hungover I was refreshed and more alive. It was the first time I realised how magical music could be. Without knowing anything about making music, I had received a vision of the power music could make. I believe our efforts so far and into the future will always be rooted in that feeling. It’s the origin of our work together.

You’ve spoken a lot about your love of dancing, and how pure it is. I think it’s really beautiful how important self expression is for you. Is that something you keep in mind when you’re creating, that you want capture that special feeling in your music to actually make someone move?

Yes. We are creating something that we want to be both personal and universal. That touches the point of intuition where you can be absolutely free. Natural, fluid and whole. To lift up and move within you, even if it’s not physical, even if it’s just in your mind.

Your EP is called Homecoming, and it’s a theme of the EP about coming home. What is home to you? How important is that thought of returning home, and the ritual of that?

Music creates reaction. Dance is the silent expression, transcending our subconscious and self-consciousness. It is a channel engaging beyond the physical. It is the doorway to the home we each carry within ourselves.

‘In the new, superfine bliss, a peace superseding knowledge, there was no I and you, there was only the third, unrealised wonder, the wonder of existing not as oneself…we are both caught up and transcended into a new oneness where everything is silent, because there is nothing to answer, all is perfect and at one. Speech travels between the separate parts. But in the perfect One there is perfect silence of bliss.’— D. H. Lawrence (Women in Love)

You’ve spoken about the importance of collaboration, and how much you love someone interpreting your work into something else entirely. Do you think this love of collaboration has helped your love of personal expression, because you have in mind that your work may be interpreted in different ways from what you’re doing now?

It’s a complete unknown what the outcome will be when collaborating and that in itself is very exciting. Of course finding the right people to work with is key. When you open it up to someone else’s interpretation and let them drive, it’s likely going end up somewhere you alone could never of taken it, and in turn expands your own creative mind. What I really like is that you get a kind of snapshot or road map into how someone else thinks and works creatively. I think it can help your own personal expression by forcing you to think differently and put you outside of your comfort zone, which is super important to do at times.

Andrew Weatherall remixed one of your tracks, which is a very interesting contrast looking at a veteran producer taking on a very new act. Can you tell us a bit about how this came about, and your reactions to knowing this was happening?

With the remixers it was key to ask the people that we thought would understand where were coming from with our music, so Andrew Weatherall’s name came up. Our manager reached out and he said he was really into the project and chose to remix ‘Voices’. Naturally we are so honoured that an artist of his credentials and taste wanted to be a part of what we’re doing. I think it says a lot about him as a forward thinking artist—that it doesn’t matter if the request is coming from someone with millions of followers on Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram, etc or from a complete unknown act—that it’s about the music which determines whether or not he gets behind it and puts his name to it.

The EP is quite open and intimate, and in that way it’s really quite beautiful. Is it kind of scary to put out something so vulnerable and something that contains so much of yourself? Or is it exhilarating to be so real and have it out in the world?!

I think it’s just a point of view that is honest for us. Putting work with intention out into the world and not hiding behind irony or sarcasm is very important. With all the negativity of the current state of the world being broadcasted into our collective conscious and unconscious, we feel it needs as much balancing out as possible from the positive end with a clear intention. Stand behind what you create, what you believe in, and how you feel. It would be so unbelievably horrible to be scared of what you wanted to say, especially from an artistic standpoint.

What’s next for Heart People?

We’re already working on more music, which we’re quite far along with which is exciting. So there’ll be more music out this year, plus some remixes, and a lot more live shows 🙂

Heart People‘s Homecoming EP is out now via Hole In The Sky. Buy/stream here.

Image: Natalia Parsonson

Intro & Questions by Emma Jones





The Purple Sneakers Admin robot that lives under our stairs.