Hang Massive in The Power of Rhythm Podcast

Dedicated Dzogchen practitioners for over 10 years, Danny and Markus’ music is a direct expression of the empowerment received from their Root Guru Candice Rinpoche.

The Hang Massive project evolved from busking on the streets of European cities to performing festival line-ups and high profile music venues around the world.

In this talk we will learn how this musical phenomenon arose supported from its beginning by an expansive sound and the contemplative practice of its performers, that invites oneself to listen and be fully present.

 

 

 

 There are many things that come up along the way, and having a clear and solid mind is greatly beneficial when it comes to this kind of intimate relationships, as it would be with an intimate partner or any other kind of relationship where you are working, living or traveling, always together. Without a way to recognize a strong mind then they can be choppy waters.

– Danny Cudd, Hang Massive. 

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Transcript of this Episode

REINHARD
Stunning sounds and hypnotic rhythms that move thousands of people. That’s the hallmark of a group called Hang Massive and today both of them, Danny Cudd and Markus Offbeat, are here on my podcast. Welcome!

HANG MASSIVE
Welcome, welcome. Hey, thank you so much for having us. That’s a great introduction.

REINHARD
Hey both! First, congratulations on your 10 years anniversary concert.

MARKUS
Thank you so much.  

REINHARD
How was it? Where was it? 

DANNY
It was here in Goa. We’re in Goa, India, which is the west coast of India. We’ve been here for the past one and a half years. Due to corona all of our tours were canceled and the Indian government has also allowed stranded foreigners, so to speak, to compassionately stay here until kind of more return to normal. So, we’re lucky to have just been here at home in Goa for the last year and a half, and we filmed the concert in a super nice resort about a half-hour from our house.  

MARKUS
We’ve also lived here for almost 16 years, on and off when we’re not touring and doing music projects and things. So that put it in a context that we finally got to be home for one and a half years straight.  

REINHARD
Not a bad place to live. I’ve been about 30 times in India, all over India, but of course also in Goa. It’s great. 

My first question is: when I listen to your music, when I look at how you go about, a sentence comes to my mind, which comes of course of out of Zen, which is: “doing everything by doing nothing.” Everything seems so kind of… flowing. The very first thing that you did -I don’t know if it was the first thing…- “Once again”, was this the first thing you did together? 

DANNY
It’s the first thing that we released publicly, yeah. 

REINHARD
So, that’s kind of so simple and yet so focused, so full of presence. That really draws me to say “cool, that’s really good.”
Now how did hang come into your life? 

DANNY
So it came into my life first. I was at a juggling festival in Europe, a big juggling convention and there was a guy there just playing. I saw him one day just playing in the field and then one year, exactly one year later, I was at the same festival again, met the same guy still playing, and then I thought, “now this is I’m gonna get.” At that time it was quite easy. You could just go, call the people in Switzerland, and go there to pick up the instruments. So yeah, that was way back in 2005/2006. 

REINHARD
And then when did you both meet? 

MARKUS
As we said we live here in Goa for many many years. So for me, I ran into the instrument first in Barcelona very quickly, but I didn’t really think too much of it at the time, even it was a cool thing. And then over the years after that it started to show up just more and more in my immediate friend circuit and one year, me and Danny started to practice the same meditation teaching, and then we started to hang out together. And that’s kind of how we started to spend time together. It was much later that same year that we started to hang out and we also started to spend time in the UK, where we also started to play in the streets together.

REINHARD
Cool, it just unfolded quietly. Beautiful! And how did it come to the name “Hang Massive?” 

DANNY
I mean, I don’t know what the origins of the term are but definitely, in England you can refer to a group of people from a certain place or a group of people with a certain interest like “London massive” or “Birmingham massive”, meaning like a group of people that come from a certain place. So Hang Massive would be like a group of people revolving around the hang. It just was obviously the right name for us from the beginning.  

REINHARD
Right! I just watched the video from you, from the Goa garden, and what came to my mind is „to make the move for the move.“ It doesn’t seem like you do something because you’re just making the move for the move, which is beautiful, because of the joy of the move. Can you explain to someone who probably has never experienced groove, how is the groove? How would you explain someone groove, and being together in the groove? 

MARKUS
Well, I think for myself that the way we work and how we share the music is due to our meditation practice. I feel that the aspect of meditation comes very much in when we speak about what is a groove. I feel that when a person embodies meditation, that’s when a groove is naturally settled in. So whatever we do on top of that basic awareness and basic recognition, becomes a groove. Regardless if we are speaking about music or painting or… But now we are speaking about, I guess, rhythms. So that would be like my explanation of groove, and we both are very dedicated practitioners, and that is what shines through what we do. 

REINHARD
Yeah! Anything from you, Danny?  

DANNY
I’d say that’s the perfect answer. In terms of like the groove of the inspiration, I guess of some of our music, we both were many many years in different electronic music scenes. It’s like a more very upbeat, psychedelic trance kind of scene. Here in Goa, there’s like a big techno scene. We love a lot of different styles of electronic music and the grooves in a more conventional sense from that kind of genre definitely influence what we do, and also as you said earlier, the simplicity of things is very important. And Once Again, it’s such a simple thing, but it takes elements from many simple types of music that have the groove and that’s enough to carry it through. Simplicity is actually a great thing.  

REINHARD
What you just brought in, the meditation is such a crucial point at this time. People are so much turned outwards, angry, confused, and this and that…Now it’s time. I think a lot of people wake up to this, that’s time to turn inwards and kind of find that calm place that makes everything different. And that is what I also heard already in this first Once again track. I want to play a little bit for our listeners.

MARKUS
Enjoy!

Once Again by Hang Massive sounds.

DANNY
That’s a groovy tune, right there.

REINHARD
Actually, it’s a simple groove and what makes it so difficult to play a simple groove, is that it immediately shows if you’re fully present because you can’t hide anything. If you do a lot of complex stuff you can cheat with it. But with a simple thing the only thing that transports it is your presence, and I feel that very much in your playing. It’s so wonderful. 

Now, you’re both Dzogchen practitioners, right? How did you come to this practice, how did you find Candice Rinpoche, and what did he bring into your life? 

MARKUS
Oh, great question. Well for me I ended up one time due to an ex-girlfriend of mine in one of the open meetings with the organization that Candice Rinpoche had set up for her practice and hated it completely. I didn’t like anything about it. I thought it was nothing for me, and left from that meeting with a meditation instruction that I could not stop falling back on. I was not really into it even though it worked for me because I had many ideas of what spirituality was. So I had an interesting year with just that instruction coming to me all the time when I had a hard time and actually supporting me greatly. So a year later I came back to Goa and fell into one of these open meetings, of Satsangs, again and then it was just clear to me that the practice that I’ve been offered and took on had worked phenomenal, more than any practice that I have ever been a part of prior to that -and to that, I have tried a lot of weird things in my life-. So for me, it was very natural. I didn’t like it but yet I saw that it was working to 100%…What I always looked for. And so I just continued to show up to the practice and still do to this day. It’s getting better and better. 

REINHARD
Is it possible to describe a short practice of what you’re doing? Is it sitting still? Is it doing something? Is it breathing or what is it? 

MARKUS
I am not a certified Balanced View trainer or a Dzogchen teacher whatsoever. So to that question, I will actually say it’s much better that people go and receive those instructions from the teacher itself because that’s what worked for me. People have been speaking about teachings for centuries and it never really worked for me because you need to hear it from a certified teacher. This is how teachings work. So I would advise, that would be my suggestion for everyone, to go and check her out. At least listen to some talks on YouTube. “Open intelligence and Love” is their youtube channel and have their own experience because that’s what kicked my ass into the mode of actually starting to practice. It was that instant moment of recognition that something is actually working this time, and I don’t need to do much for that to come about. So yeah, that was kind of my suggestion.

REINHARD
Great, thank you. Now, Danny, from your side, how did you find that? 

DANNY
We’re greatly fortunate in the sense that very close to our house where we live in Goa, there’s a small little village, and this village attracts many many people seeking an alternative lifestyle. So that includes health, food, activities, and meditation. There’s a big yoga scene here. So I was just greatly fortunate that the teaching was happening here very close to our house. I had a friend who was very involved. She recommended it to me, and just like that, I started going to the meetings and participating in the training. Actually, for me, I just knew that this is the teaching that I personally had been looking for a very long time, and knew from the first moment of participating in one of the meetings that my seeking for well-being in any other location had come to an end. So then for me, that was just a definitive moment, and we’ve just continued to participate in the ways that we do. It’s a big part of everything that we do. It’s how we are able to thrive and flourish in our relationship together, musically, financially, like in all of the aspects that are involved with running the big music. I mean, for sure for ourselves. Anyway, we are an independently run music group. We run everything. So there are many things that come up along the way and having a clear and solid mind is greatly beneficial when it comes to this kind of intimate relationship, as it would be with an intimate partner or any other kind of relationship where you are working, living, traveling, always together. Without a way to recognize a strong mind then they can be choppy waters. 

MARKUS
And I guess we can all see that very well in our immediate friendships group or also in the bigger picture, music specifically, the groups do not stay friends to live for a long time. And that aspect, even though that we have gone through endless obstacles in our time together, none of it would ever be possible without a united factor as we would say, the meditation. And our practice always comes as the binding force, and has since day one, even before we choose to play music together. That’s how we connected and that’s why we synced up. Hang Massive is just an immense forthcoming of that connection basically. 

REINHARD
It clearly shows up in your music what you are just telling to our listeners, that this is not just “Oh we’re playing a little hang here…” and so. But it’s this whole relationship and engaging in what is life about, and following a teaching. Congratulations because what more can you find but your own path? That’s great. Wonderful. 

MARKUS
On top of that, to be able to share that beautiful aspect of ourselves with as many people as we can through the music.  

REINHARD
You have been in Tibet, right? I see it in the images of one of your videos… 

DANNY
No. One of the videos is in Ladakh, which is far north of India, and one in Sikkim, which is in the northeast of India. So, both on the borders of this area… India, Pakistan, China, and Tibet. But until now we have not been to Tibet although I’d like to go. Also Bhutan… Would love to go there. 

REINHARD
How did you come to the title “The kissing of the Sun and the Moon”?  

DANNY
“The secret kissing of the Sun and Moon.” That track is featured on our last album which was called “Luminous Emptiness”, and the album was very much made in collaboration with our meditation teacher. She named the album, and she named all of the tracks in the album, prior to the tracks was being made. We received all the track names in advance, and from contemplating, and meditating on those titles, came forth the music. So it was a very magical process, and all of those titles are having some alluring parts of our teaching like metaphors or similes that can have way more in them than just the combination of the words. 

REINHARD
Yes, and I think our listeners are very curious now, to hear how that sounds. So I will play it. 

“The secret kissing of the Sun and Moon” by Hang Massive sounds. 

This is amazing, it’s always the same in your music. There is a demand to calm down, a demand to be present that demands to engage in this sound. It seems like every sound you play, there’s a message that you send to the listeners and that’s really great. 

DANNY
It’s more of an invitation than a demand. It’s like we’re standing on the horizon just like gently wafting people towards us. 

REINHARD
Okay, that’s good.
Have you always played the same instruments, the hang from Switzerland, or have you used other instruments like other hand pans?

MARKUS
Danny got started off with the two Pan Arts that we play in the Once Again video. And then, very short in the same time, I also got one Pan Art, and then we used those for many years actually. We were not really looking so much. It was just those instruments and then slowly, slowly we started to also use some other makers. Now there are really good hand-pan makers out there. 

REINHARD
Yes, there are many different options now.
Kabeçao was on my podcast.

MARKUS
Oh! He’s beautiful, he’s a really good friend of ours. 

REINHARD
Now, coming to the point…What would you tell someone who is a musician and who is not as lucky as you and I, sitting on a great location, with the chance to kind of engage in composing, arranging… There is a lot of desperate people out there. Any advice from your side to these people?  

DANNY
In terms of their own well-being or in terms of their career?

REINHARD
Whatever you want to tell them! I mean, basically, it all starts with human life. Music is based on that. You cannot just separate it, in my opinion.

MARKUS
I mean, see I can’t really beat around the bush so to speak. There are many things that people can occupy themselves with. People can do whatever it is in terms of activity as a human species. We have activities from all through our life, but for us the only thing that set everything on a solid basis, and I mean, we do not come from a super-wealthy background… I’ve always searched for a better life. This is from both of us. We’ve always been engaged to see how can we improve our life situation, and how can we flourish as human beings basically. And for me, nothing else happened before I found the meditation practice that worked. So even though I’m very very privileged to be born in Sweden. If we look at the misery we can see all over the planet, I’m very very fortunate where I grew up, my parents, and everything I’ve been given. But regardless of all of that, I also had struggles, and all of those struggles were based on not recognizing the nature of my mind, and not being able to rest deeply with my experience. So it doesn’t matter where, if we are if we’re sitting on the golden side of whatever fairy tale that we think is the best or on the other side of it. For me, without doubt, finding a meditation practice that works -and does not have to look in any specific way, it doesn’t have to be with a specific teacher, it just needs to be a practice that actually works- for anyone I would say that is my heartfelt, and deep passionate message I want to share with everyone, and always. Do not stop to find that teaching, however, that might look.

REINHARD
I wanted to hear from Danny.  

DANNY
Without that the search for an experience never leads to fulfillment. It’s as simple as that. We can spend a whole lifetime seeking one experience after another with the belief that is going to bring us some kind of well-being, and we just do that for an entire lifetime, and that’s all, that’s great like that’s the way it is. However I think that to recognize one’s fundamental identity beyond all of those activities that we might seemingly strive to achieve, that’s where the results come from actually. The results come from there. They come in a very effortless way they might not come in the way we thought they were going to look. They might not come in the way we might want them to look sometimes. But that’s just part of the ride. That’s part of the ride, and with a practice that greatly settles the mind into this human experience, then anything can be achieved, accomplish, attempted, or not. You might think that all these things you wanted to do were so important, and actually, then you realize maybe they weren’t. So we’ve got the cards that we were dealt with, and it’s unfolding as we go. We have great joy in participating in the unfolding of everything, and we see where it goes. Like I knew with our project, from the beginning that… Because it’s funny to even reflect on this. Even back in 2010, mainstream artists were not sharing their music on youtube. It was like people would upload bootlegs or some like copied things. But it was more like at that time official content was still limited to I guess Tv, like MTV. But before we had the video ready for Once Again, I knew that with a bit of insight, and with a bit of research, and if we optimized the way that we shared this video, I knew, we knew, that it had the capacity to spread around the whole world. Like I knew that was very likely to happen from that video, from the project. 

So we rolled the dice, we’ve gone all in, and we’ve gone all-in again, and again, and again. We always just keep putting in all the chips and going all in, and here we are 10 years later just it’s all happening.

MARKUS
And to that, I would also like to say that both, me and Danny, we do not have any other professional disposition. Like we do not go and work with different things, we don’t have big massive other projects. Our 100 commitment is to Hang Massive and what we can do with this. So it’s a 24/7 activity.  

REINHARD
I think it’s the same for you and for me. Serving people is the biggest fulfillment that you can have on this planet. I have created a work called TaKeTiNa where you engage people in rhythm with the body, and when you see people really with themselves, and you’re guiding them more and more in this place… that’s very fulfilling. 

You have also included in your hang the electronic music. I have interviewed on this podcast people from Berghain, DJs, and that’s quite different. There’s always a chill, a coolness in it that’s quite fascinating. It always goes to a place where you… I can’t even describe it. It’s like when you go a little bit more like this, it would be boring. And if you go a little bit more like this, it would be crazy. But you keep the middle ground. That’s really amazing. 

DANNY
That’s been a big part of our journey all along. From very early on already fusing the acoustics of the instrument with electronic production, giving tracks to people to remix them, just because, again, it’s another great way to spread the vibe of the music to different audiences, to bring in different elements. We love it, it’s been a really big part of the whole thing. 

REINHARD
Electronic music was even before you played hang, right? 

DANNY
Yes, we were both very involved in the electronic music scene going to many festivals and being involved in different ways. 

REINHARD
Finally, I want to play for my listeners a little bit of the “Goa Garden” where you have some of the mixtures of electronic beats and the hang, which I find fascinating.

Goa Garden Live Concert by Hang Massive sounds

So thanking you both so much for your time, let me actually ask you what is the plan, the vision, when everything opens up now? 

MARKUS
World domination! 

Laughters

DANNY
We’ll spend the next I guess four or five months here recording our new album, and working on a new live show. We’ve rescheduled already twice so everything’s been pushed back to next year just because this year still feels very uncertain. We’ll just be working on a new album, we’ll probably release some singles and some videos. We’ll work on a new live show, staging, visuals all of that. We’re releasing an electronic collaboration album with an amazing producer, Bleecker from England. It’s the second Ep or album we’ve released together with him.

Maybe we might do some more online events. There’s such a great response to this one so we might do some more online events in the next couple of months. 

REINHARD
Any plans to come to Europe? I’m in Vienna. 

DANNY
We were supposed to come there in October but we’ve just been in touch with all the venues there the last week, and nobody’s really confident about it. Because we are running the entire tour operation as well, we’ve invested everything into it, and there’s already so much like captured within that tour thing which just keeps getting pushed back and back, that we can’t risk moving towards another tour which then gets canceled closer to the time. It’s just too risky. So I think we will be in Europe, in the western part of Europe, in April, March, and April. And then the eastern part of Europe will be there in the autumn of next year.

REINHARD
Okay. I just had KODO on my podcast also, the taiko drum group from Japan, and it’s the same everyone. You’re not the only one. 

DANNY
Well nobody really knows, and it’s all good until it comes to the point of having to invest again more money into something that isn’t sure if it’s going to happen. It just makes things very difficult to move sometimes. But just to say on that, we feel greatly fortunate to have this rest period. The impact that’s had on us has been very positive. We’ve been traveling so much for the last five years so just to be here, just to stay at home, to feel very grounded, and rested for us it’s been great. Obviously, this situation impacts people in very different ways. For us, it’s been really good to have a break but when it comes around to next year we’re fully ready to go, and hopefully we’ll be able to go. 

REINHARD
It’s the same for me actually. This podcast wouldn’t be there if there would be no Covid. I just use the time to build that up. I was always going, going, going, and now finally there was a year I was in my house creating new stuff. 

MARKUS
Yeah, fantastic! Congratulations.

DANNY
Is Vienna a beautiful place to be? 

REINHARD
It is, yes. Politics get a little weird now but basically, it’s a really beautiful place. Politics get crazy everywhere.  
Now thank you for everything you give to the world and keep on grooving. Where can people find you?

DANNY
Go to www.hangmassive.com. We’re very responsive everywhere. 
Please come to the concert in Vienna next year, you’re warmly welcome. 

REINHARD
Yeah, absolutely, I will. 

To our listeners, please check them out. Hang Massive it’s really a very unique way of playing the hang, of playing music, of bringing you into the present with their sounds. If you like the podcast let me know whom you want to hear next and whom I should talk to. Wishing you a great time, keep on groovin’.

 

Please leave a comment below, and let me know what you think!
I’m curious about your sharings, thoughts and feedback.

Thanks, Reinhard

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