July 8, 2021 — Have you ever stumbled upon a new genre of music and wondered why it is been absent? You could be a 30-something lover of the auditory arts, but somehow, the distinct sounds of an entire subgenre of music have avoided your ears. And, to be honest, it is maddening.
I could rant about having to hear the same three genres of music constantly blasted through the radio, but instead, I would rather gush about one of my latest finds: The HU, a heavy metal Mongolian folk band that has completed changed my playlist behavior.
A Deviation from the Rest
The sort of throat-singing folk music The HU is known for may be something you have heard before. Neofolk artists like Draugablíkk have previously crafted similar sounds through an infusion of Norse mythological themes, the auditory delights of Scandinavia, and Eastern instrumentation. The HU differs a bit with a much stronger connection to Mongolian folklore, which is strengthened by the use of Mongolian instrumentation and dialect. These differences separate the two, allowing both The HU and bands like Draugablíkk to exist in the same space without stumbling over one another.
The HU isn’t new to the throat-singing scene, having gained popularity in 2018 with the rhythmic “Wolf Totem” and the more upbeat “Yuve Yuve Yu.” Since then, the folk-rock band was approached by video game developer Respawn Entertainment to score a track for 2020’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. With the video game industry now vested in the band’s career, it didn’t take long for The HU’s exposure to skyrocket. Within a year, its YouTube channel steadily rose to 1.15 million subscribers and counting.
“Anyone that’s played Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order will recognize The HU’s musical talents as the opening track being listened to by the game’s protagonist, Cal.”
Anyone that’s played Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order will recognize The HU’s musical talents as the opening track being listened to by the game’s protagonist, Cal. What’s most interesting about “Sugaan Essena” (or “Black Thunder” when translated) is that it is not sung in either English or Mongolian. Instead, The HU’s lead throat singer Gala went an entirely different route, ditching his native tung for a Star Wars “HU language” created specifically for the track.
Plans for a Post-Pandemic World
Band manager Tuga Namgur had stated that “additional Star Wars collaborations” were on the horizon, but nothing has come of that partnership yet. Instead, The HU has been busy preparing for future projects. Though it has not released a new album since “The Gereg” in 2019, which landed in the top spot on the Billboard Chart in its first week, the band has been keeping busy prepping for two upcoming tours. The North American tour launches in Lewiston, NY, on September 1st, while Europe is getting the Tour to End All Tours that is scheduled to begin March 4, 2022, at the Oslo Spektrum Arena in Norway.
In the meantime, the band has been giving back to its biggest fans through Patreon. The platform has allowed bandmembers Gala (TS. Galbadrakh), Enkush (B. Enkhsaikhan), Temka (N. Temuulen), and Jaya (G. Nyamjantsan) a means of connecting to their fans, which they do through three different membership levels. At the lowest level — a reasonable $5 per month — The HU grants early access to videos and 10% off all band merchandise. For an extra $45 per month, fans receive quite a bit of content, including access to meet and greets, VIP events, special Patron-only videos, and special gifts directly from the band.
As for those early access videos, the band is not talking about music videos. Along with their arrangement of music, The HU’s YouTube channel features several series, like “HU’s In the Kitchen” which explores different Mongolian cuisine, and “HU We Are” which offers a glimpse of each band member’s personal life.
Considering the two massive tours and The HU’s hinted-at partnership with future Star Wars properties, it is clear this Mongolian folk-rock band is not going anywhere for a while. And since I only recently stumbled upon them, that soothes my soul quite a bit.