30 October 2021 (released)
08 November 2021
The HU are a Mongolian heavy metal band on a mission to spread their native culture around the globe. They incorporate elements of traditional Mongolian folk music, including throat singing, into their unique blend. Their lyrics include everything from war cries to famous poetry from their homeland. Their originality has led to tremendous online success, amassing scores of devoted followers with each successive video and tour. I conducted this interview with the four founding members via translator at Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Nyamjantsan "Jaya" Galsanjamts – (tumur hhuur, tsuur, throat singing)
Galbadrakh "Gala" Tsendbaatar – (morin khuur, throat singing)
Enkhsaikhan "Enkush" Batjargal – (morin khuur, throat singing)
Temuulen "Temka" Naranbaatar – (tovshuur, backing vocals)
We just started the festival, but that’s the best show I’m going to probably see, so thank you!
Temka - Thank you very much.
Your two highest streamed singles, (“Yuvu Yuvu Yu” and “Wolf Totem”) have over 140 million YouTube views combined. Were you surprised by the level of popularity it achieved online?
Jaya - Of course, you know, we wanted to have some kind of success and when we started this thing. We wanted to share our Mongolian culture with the world, and when we posted those singles on YouTube, the numbers went so high and so fast. We were super happy with the outcome.
What was it like meeting the president of Mongolia? Is the president a fan of your music?
Enkush - It was a great visit! First of all, it was a great honor for us meeting our president. He’s a rocker guy. He loves rock music. AC/DC. Metallica. So it was a very friendly visit. He was super down to earth. In the past, he actually worked with our producer Dash (Dashdondog Bayarmagnai), and so, it was a good meeting.
That’s a good segue into our next question! You were asked to participate in a 30th anniversary album for Metallica called Metallica Blacklist. They are local legends here. Were you big fans of them growing up? And what was that experience like?
Gala - Well of course, you know, we’ve all grown up listening to Metallica. They’re our idols.
Enkush - We have always looked up to them and we were dreaming to be like them, and working with them was just amazing. It’s a dream come true.
When did it start that people shouted “HU” at your shows? Does that happen most of the time?
Temka - (laughs) You know, every show we go to the people chant “HU! HU!” Especially at our headline shows. We’ll be in the green room changing and when people start chanting, “HU! HU!”, we’ll know that time is up and we’re ready to perform. And yeah. Everywhere we go, the people chant “HU!”
It made me feel like I was at an AC/DC show where people chanted “Oy!” or a Ramones show. It felt great!
Temka - Yeah!
Of all the bands who start with “The”, who is each of your favorites, besides “The HU” obviously!
Enkush - The Strokes (pointing to interviewer)
Yes! I’m glad someone finally understands my costume! (dressed as Fabrizio Moretti, drummer of the Strokes, who are headlining that nite).
Jaya - The Kooks
Gala - The other Who
(laughs) Nice! I saw them play at this festival at the same stage you just played actually. And what was yours?
Temka - The Beatles
Can’t go wrong there! Do any of you ever sing English language karaoke songs, but in a traditional Mongolian throat singing voice?
The HU - (laughs) Yes.
(laughs) What are some favorites?
Gala - (in regular speaking voice) “Can’t take my eyes off of…” (in Mongolian throat singing voice) “YOUUUUUUUUUU.”
Temka - (in Mongolian throat singing voice) “I LOVE YOU BABYYYYYY.”
Incredible… Thank you!
Translator - Picture?
The HU - (while posing for picture, in unison Mongolian throat singing voice) HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!
Photo Credit: Enkhbat Nyamkhishig