Hurley Mower Talks New Creative Process and New Music

Introduce yourself

What’s up everyone, my name is Ned Hurley Mower. I grew up here in Chicago, Lincoln Park to be exact. I’m a music producer. I make full-length original content as well as music for artists.

When did you first start getting into music?

I picked up a guitar when I was around eight or nine. A big thing for me was being involved in the School of Rock after school program. That program was a great experience for me. I was in there with a lot of people who are really talented musicians here in Chicago still to this day.

How did you eventually make that transition from the guitar into producing?

When I was around 14 or 15, around the middle of high school I discovered Ableton. My guitar teacher at the time was giving me lessons in his home studio and he was showing Ableton to me because he said I should be layering my guitar tracks and making compositions. Guitar was everything to me growing up. I would play every single day. When I discovered and learned the basics of Ableton, the passion of guitar shifted into composing material that didn’t necessarily just involve guitar.

As you look back to the early days to making your way into the industry, how important was it for you to intern at See Music?

That summer was literally everything. It opened my eyes up to the Chicago scene and I was also pushed musically. I was pushed by being in that environment and seeing them do what they do and how they do it. It blew my mind. I would go home and I would try to use these techniques that I saw everyone in the studio using. In those three months, my production improved heavily. Iron sharpens iron, ya know? I’ve always had the passion to go and learn. I’m always a student. But when I’m actually put in front of new people with new techniques and new equipment, it’s just a recipe for progression and getting better. I could honestly say that was one of the handful of experiences I’ve had that really motivated me to expand on creative strategy. After that summer of interning, I realized how much I just did not want to continue going to college anymore and day two into the semester I decided to quit school.

You said, “as I continue to create. there is no “sound” or “target” I’m trying to hit, the goal is simply to build a home for the different sounds and styles I produce with the ability to share them freely.” Has not sticking to or creating one sound help you grow as a musician?

It’s interesting. That quote was in reference to a project I’m working on. But generally speaking, your question is still valid because I think it has helped and hurt me. I get inspired very very easily and I create rapidly and somewhat obsessively. I don’t like that to be controlled. At the same time, what I’m starting to process is not how I look at my music, but how others view my music. I’ve been taking myself out of the equation and looking at my project in their perspective. When you listen to my music, it’s not all completely sonically consistent, but at the same time, it’s all completely honest with me. My big thing now is to take this natural inspiration that comes to me and not limit it, but refocus it. The amount of music that I’m sitting on right now is pretty absurd. I’m just taking my time with it because I know it’s good, but I’m steering away from what I’ve done previously.

One artist, I see you work with a lot is Ric Wilson. Why do you like to work and create with Ric?

Ric and I linked about a year ago. A big thing for me in collaboration is being able to respect one another’s creative opinion. The reason why it’s easy to work with Ric and why I’ll continue to work with him is because when I make a beat, for instance, I’ll never ever tell an artist what to say. They’re the artist. They’re going to get their message out. Literally, all I hear is the flow and how it should be delivered on a beat. Ric has responded to that very nice and wonderful. That’s made me want to work with him more. It’s so much more valuable when you’re able to have an experience like that, versus just sending out a beat and saying yo I got a placement. I have a vision with every piece I make and Ric is great at listening to me. And I listen to Ric just as much.

While EDM blogs/publications tend to pick up your music a lot, you said you look to shy away from that scene. Why is that?

What I’m really trying to go for and it will either make me thrive or be the death of me… I’m really walking this line of electronic and hip-hop. Technically my music is electronic music because it is electronically produced and sonically there are electronic music elements in my music. However, I’ve never identified my music with that scene.

Almost three years ago you were on record saying that ‘Chicago still doesn’t take me seriously. I’m cool with that, keep my work ethic up.’ Do you think this is still true?

I really don’t think about it that way anymore. There’s definitely a point in everyone’s career where you want the Chicago clout and be recognized for what you do. At this point, I’m just a good producer that just so happens to live in Chicago. Chicago is my home and it always will be what I represent. It’s what I love and it’s something I’ll never be able to fully leave. But in terms of the Chicago clout, all I can control is the work.

As a Producer/DJ how important is the live show to you?

It’s everything. I’ve DJed a bunch. I have a lot of confidence in making a good DJ set. But in terms of performing strictly my own music, I believe solely in the perfect live performance that is in my head. The way that my music is and the way that it flows, visually, stage-wise, it’s not a type of music where you’re just moving to as a human. I believe that everything, whether a music video comes out from me, or the visuals at my show, I think all of that should be an advertisement for how you should be moving to my music. I want my live show to be an immersive experience.

While you said new music is taking longer than expected, can we expect a project by the end of the year?

Certainly by January. Absolutely. Like I stated earlier, my music for this new project is taking longer than expected. Previously, I feel like my first two-three songs that popped, my creative process for towards those were like I need to finish this because I’m working on this song solely. I see the idea and I just need to finish it. Now I’m creating lots of ideas at once so I don’t get ear fatigued. I’m moving around pieces and in that, that’s where my sound is really forming. I’m able to isolate the pieces that have been sonically consistent and then go forward with those. Versus, this idea is cool, I need to finish it ASAP. I’m maturing as a human being and refining the craft a little bit. I’m coming into my own in terms of understanding my own creative process and how I can give my best work. I’ve realized the mentality of doing everything I can to stay away from ear fatigue, is the way for me.

When it’s all said and done how would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered as a great artist. I know that’s kind of a broad term, but I’ve always aimed for fine art. This isn’t about me living in 2018, this is about my work living in 2070. If I can find the place where I’m most honest with myself and create something where I am now, it will last. I want my music to last.