Haux makes smoky, shadow-soaked electro-folk that seems to wash over his listeners. Rich in ambience and anchored by ghostly vocals that evoke North America’s Bon Iver and Australia’s Dustin Tebbutt, the music at once feels universal and intimate — a quality that Haux, who identifies off-stage as 25-year-old Berkshires native Woodson Black, attributes to his view of music-making as both a personal outlet and an open-ended dialogue with audiences. Ahead of a stripped-down set at Great Scott in Allston April 25, the rising star — and recent Northeastern University graduate — spoke to the Globe about his creative process and unlikely path to success.
Q. When did you start making music?
A. I had started making songs — and it’s such a cliché now — in my bedroom at 13 or 14. I kept making them, playing music by myself, because it was a way to release. And then I got to college and studied music industry, and I wanted to pursue that, so I was working at a few different labels, one in London, one in New York. I was really into working close to music. But toward the end of my education at Northeastern, during one of my last semesters, I tried to make a song on the caliber, production-wise, of the songs I personally listened to and liked, trying to make a song that I felt like could live on its own. That turned out to be “Homegrown.” I worked on it for four months during my last semester and put it out in April on SoundCloud, with no intention of doing anything with it.
Q. How did things proceed from there?
A. I came back from class one afternoon, and I had an e-mail from a woman at iTunes, who wanted to feature it on the iTunes Store. I didn’t take it seriously, I thought it was a friend joking with me, but she e-mailed again and I realized it was serious. That’s when things started taking off, and it was a slow process. I made another song, “Caves,” that summer, and I had experience in the industry, so I knew how to put a single out, but it was enlightening to learn the process from the artist’s perspective. But that’s around when I graduated and moved to London.
Q. Speaking of London, the Great Scott gig is your first performance in Boston, but you’ve already toured Europe, at a very early stage in your career. How did that happen?
A. I had moved to London after graduation, to get a start in the music industry over there. I went and ended up meeting the person who’d become my manager, and I met my European agent. We started talking, and we went to job interviews, but I ended up talking more about Haux than I had about my potential employment, so I started refocusing and figuring out whether I could take Haux seriously. Spotify is always a great tool to see how you’re doing in different markets, and Europe has always included lots of the top cities that people listened to my music in, even from the beginning. So my European agent pushed for me to start touring, and the shows I did there sold really well. It was funny going in and touring Europe right away before playing the United States, I know. It’s really cool, though — I went out and played other places in the world, but then coming back to Boston afterward, it feels like coming full circle.
Q. Live performance is something fairly new to you. Has your comfort on stage changed in time since you began touring as Haux?
A. It’s changed a lot. It went from something completely out of my comfort zone to something I needed to start doing more. Each show helps me feel a little more comfortable, and the way I’ve approached it is that if I can fall into my music and relive the emotions I had when I made it, I think people can connect with it the way I did. One of the best parts overall of doing the music is the feeling I get after a show when I talk to people and hear their stories or their connections to the music. It takes you out of the musician’s cycle of creating things and not seeing the implications of them.
Q. One final question: What does the name Haux signify?
A. I had previously called myself Andre Michaux, which was a moniker but also a relative who was a French botanist back when America was first being settled. I always did school projects on him as a kid, and I was always taken by his sense of fearlessness in how he approached his profession. I love that name, and it’s also my mom’s middle name, but I wanted to cut it down and make it a little less bulky, so it became Haux, but pronounced “hawks,” like the birds. Otherwise, it could feel a little inappropriate at times. [Laughs]Interview was edited and condensed. Isaac Feldberg can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @i_feldberg.