Now Loverboy has interviewed a lot of people in its time. Some of our favourites have been face-to-face, like our eternal muse Francois Sagat telling us about his love for the smell of cow shit, others have been phone calls with the likes of a cranky Dionne Warwick where literally every answer consisted of ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Goodbye’ – but one thing you can never predict is the level of commitment an artist will give you.
One thing we can tell you, however, is that it is a total dream talking to an artist like Hans who just wants to tell you his entire life story – and hunties, let us tell you, we areÂ here for it! We want to read about scandalous hook-ups in New York, how San Francisco is truly a gay mecca andÂ anyoneÂ who says, ‘My favourite MC song has got to beÂ fuckin’ ‘Always Be My Baby’. I liiiive for a good shoop-shoop doo-wop- wop moment’ is welcome to come sit with us!
What was the first song you wrote about?
I was thirteen and It was called ‘I wanna be me.’ In retrospect, I donâ€™t think it was about me beingÂ gay. I donâ€™t think I even understood the concept of being gay. It was more about wanting to beÂ some place else other than where I was because I felt so trapped and misplaced. I grew upÂ watching ‘Thatâ€™s so Raven’, and I used to fantasise about living in San Francisco, ’causeÂ something inside of me felt like I could potentially belong there, even without fully knowing that IÂ was gay, and that San Francisco was one of the gay meccas of the world.
Tell us about Greenwich Village. What was performing there like?
It was great. I love the Village. New Yorkers and musicians know this already, but The Bitter End is legendary.Â A slew of artists got their start from there, one of them being Lady Gaga. I didnâ€™t care if theÂ audience liked my songs or not â€“ I just wanted to be able to say I performed there.
Did you ever go to our favourite bar Marie’s Crisis?
I have, and Iâ€™m glad you asked because the first time I learned about Marieâ€™s Crisis was kind ofÂ interesting. I was living in Boston at the time, and my mom and my brother were visiting me so we went to New York together. I got us this Airbnb in the middle of Manhattan with a stunningÂ view of the city for a disarmingly cheap price, but it had multiple good reviews so I went with it. IÂ neglected to read the fine print on his listing and we later found out that itâ€™s a shared space withÂ the host in the premise.
What ended up happening was â€“ my Mom and my brother slept in theÂ bedroom, and I slept on the pull out couch in the living room, and the host had offered to sleepÂ with cushions on the floor. Long story short, after my Mom and my brother went to bed, the hostÂ and I stayed up talking about his extensive Bananarama CD collection and other such gayÂ matters…Five drinks later, I had hooked up with my Airbnb host, with my family literally sleeping in theÂ other room. He had this giant signed portrait of Darren Criss as Hedwig on the wall, and after weÂ did it – he told me that Darren actually came over to his place to personally sign it. ApparentlyÂ he had paid thousands of dollars to get it framed too. He then told me that Darren, when heâ€™sÂ in town for a show, often pops in to Marieâ€™s Crisis to do a number or two. I didnâ€™t go on that trip,Â but I did the following time I was in New York. ( Alsoâ€¦ I hope my Mom never reads this.)
Any other debaucherous nights there?
Not that I can think of, really. If Iâ€™m honest, I used to shy away from nightlife in the past. I thinkÂ everybody has self-esteem issues, but mine was cripplingly low enough to prevent me from goingÂ out. I felt ugly, and I felt like going out was pointless because nobody was going to notice me. Itâ€™sÂ not until recently that I just kind of stopped caring. Iâ€™m still pretty insecure most days, but IÂ give less fucks.
‘Like Me That Way’ is your first release. Why did you choose this song as your first single?
Itâ€™s the first song that I wrote, that I feel have both heart and commercial value. I think the struggleÂ for a lot of musicians is compromising their ideal artistic vision, for something that could makeÂ money, and ultimately give you a career. Finding that middle ground for artists is often reallyÂ difficult because our egos get in the way. But itâ€™s also necessary if you want to make music yourÂ career. I want music to be my career.
It’s the story of being in love with a straight guy. We’ve definitely been there. Was there aÂ particular low point in that situation for you?
The first time he brought a ‘friend’ to my party. She was stunning â€“ a dead ringer, youngerÂ version of Elizabeth Banks, but everybody agreed that she had the most obnoxious laugh. TheyÂ left, and my friends and I saw them making out on my stoop when they were waiting for their Uber. I was crushed but I got over it.
Does he know now?
Heâ€™s known for a while. I had put up the demo version last December to get feedback from myÂ friends, he listened to it and told me that he liked it. I told him it was about him, and he wasÂ really sweet about it. He said he loved me as a friend, and that was enough for me to move on.Â Thereâ€™s nothing like being told somebody loves you as a friend.
You were born in Indonesia. What is the LGBT scene like there? Is it legal?Â
To my understanding, sodomy is still criminalised and I still read news about bath-house raidsÂ and such. But I think thereâ€™s way more acceptance now than it was when I left five years ago. Iâ€™mÂ pretty removed after living in the States for so long, but I know that there are certain clubs inÂ Jakarta now that would do LGBT nights one day out of the week and I think Bali has a prettyÂ prominent gay culture because of tourism. Before I left, I remember being on Grindr, and theÂ nearest guy was over a mile away. I remember I kept refreshing the page, thinking how are there 5 people on this app right now? I think thatâ€™s changed, but there are forces in the country and in the culture, that are definitely halting progress.
There has been a lot in the press about ‘No fats, no femmes, no asians’ on apps like Grindr. What has been your experience with this?
My thing is – if thatâ€™s your thing, great, but you are missing out on a lot. The one good thing aboutÂ this is that it keeps me away from these people.
Have you felt this kind of racism in the music industry as well?
I think everybody has challenges, and not everything should be about race or sexuality. There areÂ definitely issues in the industry and yes, I think itâ€™s gonna be a harder road for me being a doubleÂ minority, but then thereâ€™s Rich Bryan, whoâ€™s also Indonesian-born whoâ€™s slaying the game rightÂ now. Thereâ€™s VINCINT whoâ€™s black and gay and killing it. Thereâ€™s Hayley Kiyoko, and MNEK, andÂ all these amazing, hard-working LGBT people of colour. I think itâ€™s a matter of working hard, andÂ being unique and authentic. I think for a lot of Asians in the entertainment industry, because ofÂ our culture – we donâ€™t complain as much, as we do work so frickin hard to get what we want.
Lastly we are named after the infamous Mariah Carey song. What is your favourite Mariah song?
The Mariah Carey I grew up on was ‘Touch My Body’ and ‘Bye-Bye’, but my favourite has got to beÂ fuckin’ ‘Always Be My Baby’. I liiiive for a good shoop-shoop doo-wop- wop moment.
‘Like Me That Way’ is out now.