Hatchie has been one of the most new and exciting additions to the Australian music scene this past year. After an explosive entrance to the scene with her debut single ‘Try’, Hatchie (Harriette Pilbeam) has garnered praise and respect around the world.
Written by Brodie Popple
Photograph by Joe Agius
Now nine months on, she’s released her second single ‘Sure’, signed with US based Double Double Whammy, UK label Heavenly Records and A signing with Ivy League back home. On top of this all, she’s been chosen as the Brisbane Triple J Unearthed winner for the opening slot tomorrow at Laneway tomorrow. Playing alongside some huge names, Hatchie is starting her year on such a high and we’re bound to only see bigger things from here on out. I was lucky enough to have a chat with Harriette prior to her performance to talk about when we can expect her debut EP, the past year and her picks for Laneway.
Your entry onto the scene as Hatchie was seamless, garnering huge support from Triple J Unearthed and fans around the world. What was the most important thing for you when you first entered the world with this project?
I really wanted to make music that was fun for me to write and perform, and different from anything I’d worked on before. I love playing in bands but it was time for me to start something fresh with a completely different process from what I’d worked on in the past.
When did you first hatch Try? Was it the first song you wrote as a solo artist?
I’ve been writing songs for a few years with no real purpose other than as a private outlet. When I wrote Try it was different from other songs I’d written - it felt like it had potential to be something more, so I decided to flesh out the melodies and instrumentation with my boyfriend. This would have been in early 2015! After that I decided to start a new project and slowly wrote and recorded more songs in the same vein as Try.
You just announced a run of shows in the UK off the back of signing with Heavenly Records, how did this all come together?
I’d been itching to play shows and release music over in the UK since I went to The Great Escape festival in 2014. This all really fell together with the release of Sure, which has gotten some great traction and feedback over there from a bunch of people including Jeff, who runs Heavenly. We met up when I was over there in December and the rest is history!
The two songs you've already released are some of the best pop songs to come out of Brisbane for the past few years, can you reveal to us when we'll be hearing this much awaited EP?
Definitely in the next few months! We just put some final touches on it last week. I’m really excited to have it out!
You've played in Brisbane favourites Babaganouj and The Go-Violets in the past, but now as Hatchie is there anything daunting about doing it as a solo artist (despite the live band)?
I honestly find face-to-face interviews, meetings and photos quite scary now, I didn’t realise how much I lent on my band mates to bounce things off and feel comfortable. I’ve always been in bands with people who are legitimately my best friends, so it’s a bit weird finding my feet in those situations. It’s kind of made me realise I’m much more shy and introverted than I thought I was when I was younger, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s taught me a lot about myself.
Your band consists of some very talented Brisbane musicians as well as yourself and I'm curious what your writing process is like? Is it more solitary or do you like bouncing your ideas off your friends?
It starts off solitary and then usually can go in one of two directions. Sometimes I’ll smash out a song in a day or two, getting the lyrics, melodies, structure and basic production down to a tee, ready to go to a studio. Other times it takes some more work, I’ll get about halfway through developing and recording a concept before showing it to my boyfriend so we can work together on it and bounce different ideas around. He’s a musician as well and really understands what I’m going for, as well as being much better than me at recording and producing, so I’m really fortunate to have him by my side through this whole process.
Your music has been described by many as dreamy pop music mixed with shoegaze and 80's pop sensibilities, what kind of music did you listen to growing up that helped shape this sound?
I went through soooo many different phases as a teenager it’s hard to say what’s really influenced my sound. In recent years I’ve obviously listened to a lot of Cocteau Twins and The Sundays, and maybe less obviously The Horrors, Tamaryn, Yuck and Pains of Being Pure At Heart. I’ll probably regret admitting it but I honestly wasn’t interested in shoegaze music until a few years ago, so I try not to lean into that too much as I don’t feel like I deserve to be compared to those bands who worked really hard to develop an iconic sound and feeling.
You played Bigsound last year and now this year you're on your way to SXSW and The Great Escape, just how good at shaking hands do you think you'll be by the end of 2018?
Hopefully a lot better than I am now ha! I may need to set some time aside to work on my small talk...
I read somewhere that you can play the Bass, The Guitar, The Piano and most importantly, The Clarinet. Will we be gifted with a clarinet solo in your new EP?
I think it’s in everyone’s best interest that I never touch a woodwind instrument again, I haven’t since high school! You’ve made it sound like I’m a jack of all trades but I promise I’m a master of none of those instruments.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at Laneway this year?
Definitely Slowdive, I feel really lucky to be playing in the same vicinity as them. I’m also excited to see Wolf Alice again, and Alex Cameron.
Are there any other emerging artists such as yourself that we should be keeping an eye on this year?
At the moment I’m really loving Merk, Sunscreen and Holiday Party.