Artist Profile: Aaron Hour

Interview with singer-songwriter Aaron Hour: Incantations, Inspirations, and Identities

“The song is the ultimate form of confession, you know?”

Aaron Hour Chhouk is an eighteen-year-old Sharon High School student who releases indie-pop music under the label “Aaron Hour”. He delves into the complexities of self-expression by discussing his creative process, the filming and producing of his music videos, and the importance of his identity as a Cambodian-American youth.

Q1: Who is Aaron Hour?

Aaron Hour is me. I’m Aaron Hour. [The name] is my first and middle name. My full name is Aaron Hour Chhouk. Hour is a very common Cambodian last name. In Khmer it would be: 

 អរុណ ហោ ឈូក.

I also like the name “Hour” because of how vague it is, but it’s also part of my identity. I feel like that reflects on my music.

It reminds people of the name of a talk show, like, “It’s Aaron Hour!”

Q2: Do you feel like a talk show host when writing and performing?

Yeah, a lot of my songs are interviews with myself. My writing process [involves me] sitting in bed, strumming some chords, and then I start singing over it. I normally record on my phone. I just sing what I feel, but I don’t necessarily have the vocabulary to express what I feel. It’s almost like the song is the ultimate form of confession, you know?

When I perform] I’m digging at that metaphysical talk show space. Every time I sing that song and tap into that space I was at 12 or 13, I’m like, “Oh I understand you more,” even though I’m talking to myself.

Q3: When did you start writing music, and how has it evolved?

My brother was in high school when I was in elementary school and he took a guitar class. He got this Fender guitar, and it came with a ukelele. I cherished that ukelele, I would bring it to school and give mini concerts. That summer after fifth grade I would just bring it everywhere–I would bring it in the car and start writing.

Q4: Does your creative process in art and music overlap?

Oh, for sure. My creative process for art and music is one and the same. Even when I’m not working, I’m thinking about it. Right before I go to sleep, I’m like, “and then this track is on this part of the song, and for this track….”

Q5: What type of music have you made so far?

Well I’ve been writing for a long time, since I was in sixth grade. Street Signs was the first full song where I’m like “Wow, I’m really proud of this.” That song has mostly stayed the same throughout these years. As I’ve grown, there’s some little phrases I sing differently or change the words depending on how I feel.

I have one song out, it’s called 10 am. The vibe for that is more soft indie. 10 am is a love song I wrote around the pandemic time. The main melody stuck with me for a while. The words grew with it as I kept playing the song. The reason why I wanted this to be the first part of my career is because it was the most earnest and personal type of recording I’d done so far.

Around that time, most of the things I was producing did not sound like 10 am. They were super super busy with really synthy tracks and a million layers. I only want to release music that I’m proud of and that represents me. Even though all those layered compositions could sound nice, I’m like: “Where is the connection that wants me to put this out?”

Q6: What is your goal with music?

My dream goal as a musician is to have my music be able to be a vessel for other people to express their emotions to. One big bucket list goal is I really want to have a song on a movie or TV show. Just like as a background song.

I used to do Youtube, and like I know how long it takes to choose a background song. If someone’s like, “this scene, this art that I put my soul into, I feel like this song represents it,”

I’m gonna be like, “Wow I made someone feel less alone, and I’m doing what I’m meant to do.”

Q7: Who or what influences your music?

Oh my god so many [influences]. My top artists would be Perfume Genius, Mitski, and Joni Mitchell. They make me feel less alone, and that’s my dream goal. I was listening to a lot of disco, and this morning I was listening to country. But I definitely want to widen my influences.

And then there’s also just who I am, my identity as a Cambodian-American. Growing up, my family mainly listened to 60s and 70s Cambodian music, which at the time was a lot of rock and roll. For a lot of Cambodian people that music is really important because it happened right before the genocide hit, so right then and there all the artists were on their A-game for songwriting and storytelling. And then the genocide happened so it left Cambodia a country with no artists. We were just cherishing that old music for a really long time. But lately there’s been more of a push to have more original songs rather than covers. Like usher in a new renaissance of Cambodian art. I feel very grateful and very proud to inadvertently be a part of that rush of new music. Those parts of my identity–my Cambodian heritage– it’s been a push for a lot of aspects of my life. I’m proud to be of the first generation to go to school in America. All those opportunities that the people in my past didn’t have, I want to honor them by seizing what life has.

Q8: Can you talk about your live performances?

So, mainly I’ve been opening for music acts like Jungle Kullective. I feel very happy to be in the Sharon music scene right now. I love collaborating and playing with other artists. As a kid, this is what I always hoped for, and it’s here.

Q9: What are your plans for the future?

Beyond high school, I have a lot of stuff planned. But I don’t want to get stuck in the planning.

I never want to stick to one type of music for a very long time. Right now, I’m very proud of the fact that I built a certain distinction of my songwriting. I want to release a bunch of projects for the future. Right now I’m working on my up-and-coming project. It’s a couple of songs and I really want it to paint a good portrait of who I am.

Q10: Where can people find you and your music?

My music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, you can use 10 am as a TikTok sound~ I’ve got a music video out on youtube, got a soundcloud–everything is just Aaron Hour.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s