SHN Interview: Hannah Lou Clark
Hannah Lou Clark
by Claire Silverman
Hannah Lou Clark is a singer/songwriter from the UK, known for her edgy ballads and heartfelt lullabies that are simultaneously joyous and melancholic. She released her dreamy lo-fi EP, HLC Taped, in February 2020.
CS: Hi Hannah! I hope you’ve been doing alright with all the craziness of this year.
HLC: Hey! I’m getting there...it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster to say the least!
CS: I've really been enjoying your 2020 EP HLC Taped. What was your goal or intention when you began putting that EP together? And did that change while you were making it?
HLC: Thanks so much! I had ended up with quite a limited recording set up for a variety of reasons, and didn’t have the budget to get in a studio. I decided to work with my limitations and use my 4 track tape recorder, something I used when I very first started writing and recording at about 13. I’ve always loved the sound of tape, and the idea that once you record a take, it’s committed. You can’t very easily chop bits out and re-record like you can digitally. I wanted that sense of urgency and sometimes ramshackle sound to come through to enhance the songs.
CS: You put that EP out right before the world shut down because of COVID. Did that change anything about your experience releasing the EP?
HLC: Totally! It’s funny to think back to that time and having no idea what was to come! I had just got a new band together and I was hoping to play a ton of shows to support the release. The live element was the main thing really...it’s such a big part of releasing new music for most artists. I guess we have all had to adapt as much as we can!
CS: I believe you filmed the music video for “Care” in isolation. What was that like?
HLC: It was a challenge mainly to self motivate and trust that I could make something cool with what I had. It’s a weird thing to do alone because normally there issomeone to bounce ideas off or give you direction. It was fun though and I was happy with how it came out.
CS: Do you have a favorite song on the EP?
HLC: I think "Trigger Happy Kisses" is my favourite in terms of how the recording sounds. We started playing them as a band though and they’ve taken on a whole new life. "King of the World" is probably one of my favourites to play with the band, and it sounds totally different!
CS: Of your songs that I've played on SHN shows, my favorite is probably “Kids in Heat” from your 2014 EP Silent Type. What was the creation of that EP like?
HLC: Thank you, I still play that in my live shows. That was actually quite a similar approach to the latest EP, as I used the tape machine to record certain elements. I lived above a Quaker meeting house at the time, and I was trying to capture the sound of the house. Everything was recorded in layers, and recording live drums in the house was fun.
CS: I also want to bring up your 2017 EP The Heart and All Its Sin. I was wondering, what was the inspiration for that EP, specifically for your song “Grief Underneath”?
HLC: Most of those songs were written at quite a big turning point in my life relationship wise. I made some quite drastic changes to my life, and the EP was sort of me trying to understand it all. "Grief Underneath" in particular is about putting on a front in a relationship and pretending everything’s okay, but deep down feeling unhappy and wanting to explore. Then the guilt that comes along with that.
CS: What or who inspired you to start writing and recording music?
HLC: There was always music in our house when I was growing up. My dad used to sing and play in bands, so it was always quite natural for me and my sisters to be singing and learning instruments because they were lying around. I didn’t start writing myself though until I watched a VHS tape my dad had recorded from the TV of Nirvana Unpluggedin New York. I was completely obsessed with Nirvana from that point on. I discovered PJ Harvey a couple of years later, and I knew I always wanted to make music.
CS: Do you have an album you would say has influenced or inspired you the most?
HLC: Ooh that’s tough because there are a few from over the years that I think have shaped what I do now. Albums like Midnight Boom by The Kills or Racecar is Racecar Backwards by Reuben. I guess Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea by PJ Harvey is probably the one I’ve listened to and drawn most inspiration from.
CS: If you could go back to when you first started out, is there anything you would do differently?
HLC: It’s hard to say because I think everything you do helps you learn, even if it didn’t work out well at the time. I always wish I’d finished properly learning classical guitar when I was younger and my mind was more malleable!
CS: What have been your favorite songs at the moment?
HLC: I’ve been binging Wildfires by SAULT and also a lot of the latest Land of Talk album. I listened to loads of Rage Against The Machine on a long drive the other day too.
CS: Your sister Charlotte is also a musician. What’s it like having a sister in the music industry?
HLC: I love it and we’ve become really close because of it. It’s interesting to get each other's opinions and help each other in different ways like recommending producers or photographers we’ve worked with etc. Charlotte played bass in my live band for a bit too, and it was so much fun touring together.
CS: I know she was in your music video for “Trigger Happy Kisses” from your HLC Taped EP. Do you two collaborate often? Or is a collaboration something you might do in the future?
HLC: We have and I think we will continue to do so because we understand each other so well. It’s also cool to have someone to work with who you are 100% comfortable with. I’d love to start a side project with her one day.
CS: Do you have any upcoming projects or plans for releases you can share with us?
HLC: Well...the first HLC album is pretty much written. Now it’s just a case of working out the best possible way to record and release it. A plan is in the works!
CS: That’s so exciting! Thanks so much for taking the time to sit down and chat with me, and I can’t wait to hear your album when it comes out!
HLC: Thank you, my pleasure! I’ll keep you posted on the album x
WHERE TO FOLLOW HANNAH:
FACEBOOK: HANNAH LOU CLARK MUSIC
SPOTIFY: HANNAH LOU CLARK
Originally published on Instagram @shnradio on December 21, 2020