Third Hand Music aka 3HM is a fast-rising trio of talented musicians. The award-winning all-boy band talk to Cynthia Mukanzi about what it has taken to be where they are today and their next course of action
What are you guys up to?
We are working on new releases and touring. All our songs are not out, so we are systematically working on that as simultaneously plan to launch our sophomore album. We are also preparing for our second gig in September.
3HM bagged the best RnB/Soul Video Akademia Award. How did you get on their radar?
They approached us on Facebook and asked we submit our music for Akademia Awards. They would distribute it for listenership, we were thrilled. Helena, played in top charts in Nigeria, Namibia, India and a month later, we were nominated. Helena had nabbed us the award for best in Africa and Asia.
So, is your sound RnB and soul or is a lil’ bit of everything?
Strip off all the instruments and we’re RnB. We are, however, doing a lot of experimenting, so there is a little bit of jazz, hip-hop, house, and a lot of electronic elements in our new project. You can call it exponential or progressive RnB.
You initially started off as Phy and the Band. What changed?
We realised our brands were stronger individually. Look at where Phy is right now and where we are. If we were still Phy and the Band, then we wouldn’t be experiencing our true selves. Her brand is soulful and different from what we do. It borders on soul and pop, perhaps trap soul, which is not us.
We would have had to compromise a lot on our sounds. After four years, separation was important for both brands. There was no bad blood. We are now in our element, still great friends and people sharing a music interest. We would work with her in a heartbeat.
When we dropped Phy and the Band, we didn’t have a name. Collins came up with Third Hand Music, which Mwikamba gave a meaning and Ken gave it the cool abbreviation, 3HM.
It speaks of the unseen hand that accompanies the work of our hands. The unseen third hand, metaphorically used, is that of God. He is backing up and has done so many great things for us so far.
Musicwise, do you share tastes?
You would be shocked at how distant we are in terms of music choice.
How then are able to bring your heads together?
Because of that, we bring something new and unique to the table. We challenge each other making our brand stand out.
Are you signed to any label?
We are independent. We have been approached by many labels, but we want to establish ourselves first. Labels tend to mould you into something else. It is easier to have a bargaining chip when you are an established brand.
We do not wish to be someone else’s brand. It’s hard, but rewarding. We make decisions regarding the band together. We, however, have mentors like Ngoma Tucheze, who we work with occasionally.
Let’s talk growth?
We have moved a bit slowly compared to what we had in mind. We are far from our vision, but then, we’re young and working towards it. There are things we can’t rush and so we will work at our pace and follow the green light that God keeps showing us. We have learnt so much and come a long away.
What issues are hard to navigate as a band?
Decision-making. Sometimes we don’t agree with each other. Financial constraints also come in because we have to split the little we get. It pushes us to work harder and earn a bigger cake so that we can get bigger rewards.
Another concern is pleasing the local audience, which is specific on the sound they want. We’ve been called weird severally for staying true to our sound. The thing is, we can’t fit in a box. We are creating our own lane.
Is music paying your bills?
Yes, it is. We are putting in the work, hours and passion to make it worthwhile. Our efforts are not going unnoticed. People are buying tickets and coming to our shows. We’re grateful.
Do you feel like you’ve had enough support from the local media?
It got to a point where we felt it was taking too much of a hassle to get airplay, we realised we can’t force them. We stopped looking for validation and just kept doing our thing.