Simply your common Saturday night time in lockdown. I’m interviewing guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Hannah Wicklund by way of WhatsApp name from my kitchen. She’s miles throughout the pond in Washington State however must be right here in London. We’re laughing about getting a bit of too used to pyjamas as daywear and she or he sends her greatest to my Dad, the most recent member of the HW fanbase. Yep, simply your common night in quarantine.
The night time earlier than, Hannah was as a result of share the invoice with blues rock band King King at Camden’s Electrical Ballroom; sadly one of many many gigs cancelled by COVID-19. So as a substitute, we’re assembly over the telephone – and beautiful it’s too. We chat about Hannah’s new EP, The Inbetween, buying and selling in rock ’n’ roll for a extra stripped again sound and a joint admiration of English pub grub.
’This can be a musician’s dream!’ she laughs after I ask about her wellbeing throughout lockdown. Unofficially in quarantine lengthy earlier than it was mandated, South Carolinian-born Hannah had come off the street for a couple of months to recharge earlier than making ready to go on tour once more.
Then, properly, the world turned on its head. However the enormity of COVID-19 and a longing to see household in South Carolina, Hannah has been unleashing her creativity by means of cooking, writing and portray and, happily for music lovers in every single place, releasing new music.
The Inbetween is a particular EP of intimate solo performances. Hannah has taken 4 tracks from her self-titled launch Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones and stripped them proper again. It’s a group that not solely highlights her exceptional voice, however permits the songs to be heard in a brand new mild. It’s emotionally shifting, and I ponder if it was intentional to launch it within the present local weather?
‘I truly recorded this EP on the finish of 2018; I’ve type of been sitting on it for some time!’ Hannah confesses. She was due again within the studio to work on a full-length report however, with plans pushed again, now appeared like the proper time to launch some various variations. ‘There actually wasn’t any stress with the undertaking, however with the whole lot happening, getting some new music on the market felt proper’.
The brand new interpretations are epic. Did Hannah need to exhibit one thing totally different by means of this undertaking? ‘I actually simply wished to indicate everyone that I’m not only a rock guitar participant woman!’ she laughs. ‘I’ve had this facet ceaselessly; this facet of my musicianship is extra pure and has been round longer than the electrical guitar model of me’.
One other issue behind the EP’s unique conceptualisation – one thing these conversant in Hannah’s searing guitar riffs, great voice and rock sound is perhaps shocked to study – was her classical piano upbringing. ‘I hadn’t performed piano actually since I used to be eight years outdated; I principally picked up the guitar and let my piano fall into disarray!’ she laughs. ‘I needed to learn to play once more and principally did that with Bomb Via The Breeze. I feel it was my manner of attempting to include a bit of little bit of my classical influences in with my most rock-ish rock music’.
At first, classical music felt extra just like the enemy and Hannah would play The Beatles as a rebellious escape. It was solely as soon as she began listening once more a couple of years in the past that she totally appreciated the affect classical had on her general musicianship. ‘It was a pleasant a-ha second!’ she provides.
It’s A Household Affair
The Inbetween was recorded and produced by Luke Mitchell, frontman of The Excessive Divers – and Hannah’s massive brother. ‘It was good, a well-recognized, type of homely feeling and being an artist himself, he will get precisely what I’m attempting to do’ she explains after I ask concerning the expertise of working with him. ’Luke is seven years older than me so rising up, we by no means actually labored on stuff collectively; however he was all the time there to information me and to bounce my songs off of. Doing the EP was type of like a return to our youth!’.
It was recorded within the household residence on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. I inform Hannah that, after a nosey Google of the idyllic island, it seems moderately totally different to my London hometown. ‘It’s!’ she says good-naturedly. ‘I used to be positively fortunate to develop up and report the EP there. I had a while off the street for the primary time; two months that I used to be planning on being residence with my mother and father and my brother was going to be round for a few of that point. It was good, very non-pressured’.
Hannah hopes I get to go to someday and, as I add Hilton Head to my psychological wish-list, we each agree that lockdown has elevated our urge for food to journey and get again on the market. The dialog flows simply and Hannah may be very heat and straightforward going.
Tracks Stripped Again
The EP’s 4 chosen tracks – Bomb Via the Breeze, Ghost, Meet You Once more and Shadowboxes and Porcelain Faces – have been stripped all the way down to their rawest type. How did it really feel to reimagine tracks from her self-titled launch, and was there a private favorite?
‘I feel Ghost (co-written by producer and guitarist Sadler Vaden) was my favorite and had the largest impression.’ she muses. ‘Primarily as a result of the phrases hit me another way after I sang it on this method. On the time of writing, it felt like extra like a blues rock music. Then, after I stripped it down and reimagined it, taking it out of that extra blues structured type of place, I feel the music landed another way’.
She pauses. ’It grew to become extra of an emotional music than I had anticipated’. Feelings which echo loudly on the report; Ghost is a few time when Hannah felt lonely and trapped. I ask if it was onerous to revisit these recollections once more for the brand new EP. ‘I don’t assume it was tough, I feel it was actually useful. I feel that’s the place the entire music is remedy factor actually comes into play.’ she says brightly.
Aged 19 and residing alone in Nashville, Hannah had been by means of her first breakup and was all the time on tour. ‘I used to be principally below 21, my faux ID had simply expired and I couldn’t exit wherever!’ she laughs. ‘I had simply moved to city and knew actually no-one in addition to my reserving agent. It was alleged to be actually enjoyable and thrilling. I used to be younger, an adolescent, residing by myself and I had an agent and I used to be staying busy. I had my first European tour afterward that 12 months – however I used to be super-sad. It was like a juxtaposition of being out on this planet and having probably the most enjoyable and doing the good stuff that you simply’ve executed however then additionally feeling probably the most lonely that you simply’ve felt in your life’.
I inform her that though I agree that it may be therapeutic to look again, it’s not good to know she was so lonely. ‘It’s an essential ceremony of passage, although, loneliness.’ she says.
The EP’s tracks are complementary and sit superbly beside each other. Shadowboxes and Porcelain Faces is simply as impactful as when it’s carried out stay and Meet you Once more is given the unplugged remedy, drop D tuning in an acoustic guitar being considered one of Hannah’s favorite mixtures. We uncover a shared love of different variations of our favorite tracks and the unforgettable MTV Unplugged sequence. I say Nirvana is my favorite, Hannah eagerly recommends The Alice in Chains efficiency and I promise to test it out.
Shadowboxes and Porcelain Faces is the monitor Hannah considers her most favorite music. ‘I’m most happy with that music so far as lyrically and with the ability to actually convey my ideas on a topic’. Hannah has been open that this monitor is about her emotions on social media. I ask the way it feels to be a musician within the digital age; is it a essential evil?
‘Oh it’s positively a necessity, there’s no having a profession in music as of late with out having it’ There’s positively a giant inside battle for me’. She admits that having a music concerning the negatives and woes of social media doesn’t make her proof against countless scrolling herself. Hannah explains, it’s onerous to remain genuine, and stability what you need to say with what you’re feeling you ought to say. ‘I’ve all the time been an open guide.’ she says with an audible grin. ‘In case you meet me on the road and we’re having a dialog I’ll let you know the perfect and worst issues which have occurred to me within the first ten minutes’ We each chuckle. ‘I’m not afraid of being myself and being open about it, however I’m afraid of placing issues out into the world earlier than they have to be or regretting issues’ she considers.
Staying as regards to social media, I inform her about an Instagram submit I’d seen that had made me smile. Knitting in lockdown had evoked a reminiscence of a six-year outdated Hannah sitting together with her mother and father within the sales space of native bar, Casey’s, watching her older brother’s band play each Friday.
‘My whole childhood was centered, I imply CENTERED round music!’ she says enthusiastically. ‘There was actually zero day crossover the place both me or my brother weren’t enjoying music or had a present’. Speaking of bars results in a animated dialog about England and, particularly, London pubs.
‘Touring round Europe, I’m not going to lie, lots of people are like, ah man, the meals in England .. however I cherished it!’ We each chuckle once more. ‘I cherished the pub meals; I simply actually like consolation meals and feeling actually weighed down by potatoes!’. She suggests the following time she’s over, I can take her to my favorite pub and I fortunately oblige.
Hannah was as a result of be on tour with King King in April. ‘I’m tremendous bummed as we had been alleged to be coming over to Europe two instances this summer time as properly. It was going to be a variety of actually cool festivals, so hopefully we get the possibility to make up all of that stuff and are available over subsequent 12 months’. Hannah admits that she has been enjoying music for thus lengthy now, touring persistently on the street for over six years, that having an enforced break, with each musician in the identical boat, has been eye opening. ‘Having that realisation that this might probably go away, trigger look it simply did, it makes me actually actually actually respect what I do and what I’ve gotten the chance to do already’.
We’ve been chatting for over a hour, and in order the interview sadly attracts to an in depth, I thank Hannah and ask if there may be anything we are able to stay up for to assist ease the ache of lockdown. She talks animatedly about recording a full-band stay monitor of Ohio by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Younger at Studio X in Seattle in February, which shall be launched for the anniversary of the Kent State taking pictures on four Might.
The Inbetween could also be a diversion from her ordinary rock sound, however the transformation isn’t any much less explosive. 4 tracks of richly textured, stirring music that gives a welcome escape proper now. It additionally showcases Hannah Wicklund’s distinctive artistry – and proves that she’s positively greater than only a rock guitar participant woman.
Hannah Wicklund’s EP ‘The Inbetween’ is out now. Order it by way of https://store.hannahwicklund.com/
Interview with Hannah Wicklund by Nicola Greenbrook by way of WhatsApp Name in Lockdown April 2020. Dwell Images by Phil Honley.