The Hu: "There's no doubt we'll work with Babymetal again"

The Hu
(Image credit: Enkhbat Nyamkhishig)

Since bursting onto the metal scene in 2018, Mongolian metallers The Hu have gone from strength to strength, selling out shows around the world and even cracking the charts with their 2019 debut, The Gereg

We sat down with bandleader Gala to talk powerlifting, shamanism, and whether we’ll ever see a Babymetal x The Hu collaboration. 

At what age did you learn to ride a horse?
Jack Dudfield, email 

“Horseback riding comes easy for us – it probably has something to do with our DNA. Three-year-olds riding horses are a real thing in Mongolia. I learned to ride before I got into elementary school and it’s my most fun summer memory. Safe riding and handling techniques are essential when we first start, so it’s normally the father’s or elder’s job to teach you the safety around horses and techniques while riding as soon as you become able to grasp the subject.” 

If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be? Stratospheree, Twitter 

“That’s a very hard question! We listen to many artists at the same time so I don’t have a preference for one artist – especially if I’m going to be listening to them for the rest of my life!” 

Does pineapple belong on pizza?
Radu Patroiu, Facebook 

“We are not Italians, so we can’t really make statements about pizza! Ha ha! Whatever tastes good on pizza works for us. We like it meaty.” 

What was it like touring with Babymetal for three shows in 2019?
Parker Buessow, Facebook 

Babymetal are incredible! The way they perform is inspirational, and the energy is unmatchable. There’s no doubt that we’ll work with Babymetal again, because not only they are amazing artists, they’re great touring company and we have fun together.” 

Do you practice shamanism? What role does shamanism play in modern Mongolia?
Ruth Harris, Twitter 

“No, but we respect it. We respect every type of religion in this world, unless it’s harmful to yourself or others. In modern Mongolia, just like the olden times, every religion is accepted and respected so we humbly live with each other. Shamans, priests and monks can live in the same city, nobody really cares. Mongolians only care whether you are a good or bad person, and that is evaluated by how you tolerate everyone else who is different than you.” 

What’s your favourite Mongolian folk tale?
Kathy Li, email 

“[Epics] Geser and Jangar are two of my favourite folk tales, and I’d recommend people read them. They depict the most valuable cultural treasures we have in Mongolia and give you a unique perspective of how our minds work.” 

How can I learn throat singing?
Sennaj_01, Twitter 

“Understanding the throat singing concept is the first thing you have to do, so I’d recommend starting with a guidance book. After learning the technique, it’s crucial to practise and practise. It’s not a technique you learn overnight; the longer you practise, the more voice vibrance you will get.” 

Your music’s featured in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and The Sims 4. What’s your favourite videogame of all time?
Louise Foster, email 

“We tour heavily, so game consoles have become a great friend to let off some steam. UFC and soccer are currently our favourite, but when Fallen Order first came out, we played it non-stop, so we’re looking forward to hopefully doing more collaborations with the Star Wars games and universe.” 

How does your popularity in Mongolia compare to overseas?
Hugh Mannity, Facebook 

“Mongolians support us so much and I doubt there are many people who don’t know The Hu or haven’t heard of us in some form. We keep to our traditions when making rock music that is spreading worldwide, so we regularly meet people who are grateful and encouraging.”

What are your hobbies?
Andy Burns, email 

“We all love sport. Temka [Tovshuur] loves soccer, and Enkush [lead Morin Khuur/throat singing] wrestles and is interested in mixed martial arts. Jaya [jaw harp/Tsuur/flute/throat singing] prefers to be on horseback when we are in the countryside. I’m into powerlifting and learning to be quite good at it, too. As a group we love to hike. We pack our bags and go where our heart leads us. Mongolia is like something out of a book – the nature is always worth visiting.” 

A lot of your songs are about summoning a warrior spirit. What advice would you give to someone who is feeling depressed?
Jay Jones, email 

“First of all, there has to be acceptance - to yourself and to your feelings. Next, you have to do the things that make you feel alive: listen to your favourite music, create art and do whatever makes you feel inspired. Depression brings hopelessness and that is a very hard feeling to escape, and sometimes the only way to let it pass you is gaining your inner strength back. Therefore, our music is always there to make you feel powerful and self-assured.” 

Who makes your amazing clothes?
Jess Alsopp, email 

“We work with different Mongolian artists. The design concepts come from our producer, and designers enrich it with their ideas, so the collaborations become the outfits you see onstage. We are working towards bigger concepts in terms of stage outfits.”

What led you to start a metal band and what bands inspired you?
Priscilla Clariza Stanforth, Facebook #

“Metal and rock have always been dear to our hearts. Ever since we were children, the guitars and drums brought so much joy and freedom to us. Mixing traditional instruments and rock music became our passion ever since we learnt about the Hunnu rock genre.” 

A few years back, you shared an incredible recipe for Mongolian dumplings. What other Mongolian dishes would you recommend?
Harry Matthews, Facebook 

“Mongolian Khorkhog has the flavour of the countryside. Essentially, it’s lamb that is pressure cooked, but we add hot river stones to the meat to create more flavour. Herbs like wild thyme and wild onions are added to the meat. The soup that comes out of it is said to relieve bloating and stress, while the meat is so soft and full of vitamins, it tastes like nothing else. You have to go to the countryside and taste Khorkhog!” 

What is the biggest misperception about Mongolian culture?
Matt Pennington, email 

“Just because we have a nomadic culture, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have everything a ‘developed’ society would have. The biggest misconception is that people think we can only have either/or. We have the same number of developments as any other major city or country would have. Come visit and you’ll see the delicate balance we keep in our society – you will be amazed. We have had so many questions like, ‘Do you have electricity back home?’ or ‘Do you have internet?’ etc. We have everything you can find in Western culture in Mongolia, if not more!” 

Do you think The Hu will ever write a concept record?
Joakim Snope, email 

“Concept records need a lot of planning and thinking, requiring a great many abilities from the artists and producer, so it’d take a lot of time for us to come up with an excellent concept record. Luckily, we have already started and one is on the way!”

What does it mean to be named the UNESCO Artist For Peace?
Andy Benton, Facebook 

“We will be partnering with UNESCO to bring more awareness to indigenous languages and their use, as well as encouraging countries to keep their cultural differences intact. Music – songs, lyrics – help preserve a region’s dialect and culture, especially when it comes to using traditional instruments that were used to perform the music historically. We cannot forget the importance of music when upholding any culture. That’s why we are happy to be working with UNESCO; indigenous culture worldwide needs to be saved and preserved.” 

What is the biggest lesson we can learn from Mongolian culture?
Ajeet Mansukhani, Twitter 

“Stamina and perseverance are the biggest characteristics you’ll see from Mongolian culture. The environment we live in and the livelihoods we lead require much patience and understanding of nature. In each of our songs, we carry that message.”

Rumble Of Thunder is out now. 

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.