Interview: Hatchie (AUS) on her upcoming album Keepsake, female friendships and writing sad songs

Brisbane singer-songwriter Hatchie released her debut EP Sugar & Spice in 2018 and is already back to follow it up with her debut album Keepsake, which is set for release on June 21st.

Having just completed a string of sold-out tour dates along the Australian East Coast and with a whole slew of European and US gigs lined-up, it’s safe to say Hatchie is a name that won’t be fading from memory any time soon. She gave us a moment of her time to chat about Keepsake, working in different bands, touring with Kylie Minogue, and the power of friendships.

Hatchie, how are you? Where are you right now?

Hi. I’m good. I’m at home, sitting on the couch, looking out the window.

Oh, nice. In Brisbane?

Yeah.

You are yet another stunning talent to come out of Brisbane. Which seems to be pretty much everyone nowadays. It’s like a cesspool of talent.

Yeah, it seems that way hey?

Absolutely. Who did you kind of grow up through the scene alongside, would you say?

I mean I guess, when I finished high school I joined a band called Babaganouj, and that kind of introduced me to a lot of my friends who were in other bands. I don’t know, I guess, Go Violets is a band that I later joined, but then I was like became friends just through that. Like Jeremy Neale and Velociraptor and stuff and Cub Sport and yeah I don’t know those were like the first kind of Brisbane bands that really spring to mind that’s had a lot to do with my 18, early twenties years.

So you joined Babaganouj, and did you go solo from them two years ago, was it? Or longer than that?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, pretty much.

Tell me about that decision.

I don’t know, I had kind of been thinking about it for a while. Just quietly thinking that some of the songs that I was writing weren’t really suiting that band. And, you know I wrote a couple songs for that band as well and it was all good, we were best friends. I don’t know, I just wanted to do something a bit more fresh, and something that really felt like me, and it’s just my voice. Yeah, so I wrote the song “Try” and it kind of, it was the first one that really felt like it needed a different project and completely different production. And, I wanted to work with different people, and just go about it in a really different way.

So after I wrote “Try”, I showed it to my friends in Cub Sport, actually, and they introduced me to John Castle who they recorded almost everything with and they thought we’d be a really good match. So I linked up with him, and recorded it properly with him and with Joe who plays guitar in my band. We all did it together, and from there it just kind of, yeah, happened really quickly I guess. I’d been thinking about it for ages, and I’ve been sitting on the “Try” demo for ages too before actually doing anything with it.

Oh interesting, so it was almost, were you a little bit reluctant or was it just new terrain that was scary to jump into I guess. Was it just kind of-

Yeah totally. I was super reluctant, super nervous to do something new for a bunch of different reasons. Nervous about,  what people, like the band, would think about me trying to do something new, and what, if anything would come of it and if it would work. If it would sound like how I wanted it to sound, and how I would get a new band together, and everything. It was very scary for me because I had only ever joined bands that had already started. I never started my own thing. Yeah, so it was a different experience for me.

Yeah, and I can also imagine approaching your band, who are all friends as well, would be quite a tough conversation. But at the end of the day, if they’re your friends they’re going to support you with whatever you want to do.

Totally. And it was, it all happened in the least dramatic way possible. It was so fine, it was just super casual, especially when I did “Try” I didn’t think anything would come of it. So I was like “Oh, I’m just putting a song online.” So it was very organic I guess in that sense.

That’s the way you’d want it to be. You wouldn’t want some sort of dramatic breakup.

Yeah, like a One Direction situation.

Oh, yeah you’d be the Harry Styles or Zayn Malik of that band.

Yeah, like the Camila Cabello, the Fifth Harmony thing, wouldn’t want that to be me.

Oh God no, but she’s doing incredibly well so…

Yeah totally, but maybe in a sense you would but yeah.

You would want the success part but not the diva part.

Exactly.

Let’s talk about 2019 because this year has already been a massive year for you. You have toured with Death Cab For Cutie and Kylie Minogue. Then you have got your debut album Keepsake out on the 21st June, plus a string of tour dates. We have got a lot to cover. So tell me about touring with names like Death Cab and Kylie Minogue? What was that like?

It was so cool and a bit daunting, but really nice. Those are two good examples of completely different kinds of touring and then there’s a third different type of touring which is the touring we do when we have one which is the tiniest little show where we do everything ourselves.

I have really had so many different types of shows and tours and things which I am very grateful for and I think it’s really helped strengthen and… I don’t know it taught me a lot about what I want to do with my own touring stuff or how to go about different tours whether you are supporting, or headlining, or whatever, or playing a festival.

There are really different experiences and the Kylie shows, like A Day On The Green festivals pretty much. They were so big, everything was like, there were so many points of contact and so many… we had to be there so early during the day to get everything ready and then it was go, go, go as soon as you were… like time to sound check your track. Sound check was half an hour before you played or an hour before you played. I have a lot of getting there and waiting around and then it’s all systems go.

Then Death Cab was similarly super professional with heaps of people running it but it was really nice because it was in that Hamer Hall in Melbourne. So it was really, I don’t know just a different vibe and it was cool to do, those two for example because they’re just… and they were in the space of a week or two. Two very different experiences and supporting bigger acts you always learn so much about everything so it was really cool and I was really grateful for that experience.

I can imagine that warming up a crowd is a lot different to then also headlining your own sort of tour which you are in the middle of at the moment. You have a sold-out East Coast tour. How’s that been?

Yeah, totally. It’s very different, it’s cool. We realised we hadn’t been headlining shows in ages, it’d probably been at least six months, I don’t know the exact timing. Doing so many festivals in support, I forgot what it was like. Even how late you play, right? One of our set times was at 11.00pm. On the first night I was like “Oh my God, we are so used to playing 8.30 or 9.00pm”. So even that kind of stuff it’s very different the logistics of it. It was awesome, it’s so rewarding.

It’s so rewarding playing any show including support like the ones we’ve done. We just did a tour with GirlForward in America and it was the first time on an overseas tour where we’ve had people coming to us and people coming and buying merch. Because, they usually just don’t sell much merch full stop at shows for whatever reason and the GirlForward tour was the first time we had heaps of people buying heaps of merch and autographs and it’s gratifying and rewarding and these headline shows we’ve kind of been like that as well, where it’s “Oh wow! People are here to see us!”.

It’s really weird because we have definitely done a few supports like you mentioned, with like the Kylie one and the Death Cab one and when we supported The Vaccines in the UK we’re like, hardly anyone was there for us, we were just a warm up act. It’s definitely a different experience. You get something different from every different type of show really.

Absolutely but also I guess it’s the exposure and the whole exponential growth is why people are becoming a bit more thirsty for your merch and I imagine that you are becoming an act that people want to see in it’s own right now so when you are supporting for acts it’s like an excellent double bill almost, the way I see it.

Well that’s a nice way of putting it. Thanks.

You’re welcome. So you are off to Europe and then the UK and then the US – you’ve got a little world tour about to happen. Which place are you most excited for?

Oh my God! I think I’m super excited for this first stop, which is Barcelona for this Primavera, which is so many people’s favourite festival which is like a massive…

I don’t know if you have seen the line up but there are so many people playing. I don’t know how people would see everyone they want to see. The guys were like “I want to see this person and this person” and I’m not even looking at the schedule yet because I just feel like I would get upset because I won’t be able to see everyone.

You will have to do like ten minutes of one act and sprint the whole time.

Exactly, exactly and that’s what makes me really stressed. But I’m very excited for it. I’m excited for Barcelona in general. But, also Amsterdam, which is one of our shows because I’ve been there once and the weather was two degrees. I had the flu and sat in my hotel for half the time and the other half the time when we were walking around it was so cold I was like “I may as well have been crying”. I was so depressed about how sick I was and how cold it was. I’ve always wanted to go back to Amsterdam during Spring/Summer. So I’m very excited for that.

Oh! Amsterdam’s amazing, that’s going to be such a great time. Let’s talk about your latest single “Obsessed”. That dropped on the 17th and is the third single from Keepsake, so tell me about this song.

So, “Obsessed” is one of the songs I wrote later on for the album. I was just wanting to write something, it was fun and casual and light and simple and I feel like I somehow ticked all of those boxes, which I am really happy with. Usually when I set out with a plan to write a song it doesn’t happen. So, I was just sitting one afternoon and was feeling like all the songs I’ve written are really heavy and really serious and emotional and I was like this is silly because I am not really like that. I felt like they weren’t really anything that were reflecting the light side of me. So, it’s like, I want to write a fun song and I wanted to write it from that friendship because they are important to me and I felt like all my songs sounded like they were about romance and break ups, so I want to write a song about making friends.

So I did that and I really loved it straight away. We just came together and I think I started with the guitars, and the drum tune, and it’s just about making friends and when I was a teenager and up until the last couple of years I’ve always had a best friend, and I have had a few over the years, and I felt like they’re like romantic relationships without the romance. They are so emotional and we got super close super fast and did everything together and saw each other every day, and I think that’s a beautiful thing that happens particularly with teenage girls and sometimes there is a dark side to it where I would get so caught up and worked up about stuff like the person… like worrying the person didn’t like me as much as I liked them and worrying that they were like cooler than me and smarter than me and prettier than me and that was just more like a dark side of it to me. Then I started to want to write about the happy part and then kind of stick that in as well.

Female friendships can be quite intense. I know what you mean.

Yeah, totally.

I think this theme of friendship is also something that sets Keepsake apart from your EP Sugar & Spice which was very much a romantic based EP in my opinion. How would you describe your album Keepsake?

Yeah well I think that’s definitely… I think you have nailed that. A big part of the album is I wanted to write more about friendship, because even if I wrote a song that’s kind of vague, it doesn’t mention a person or something it doesn’t… people are very quick to presume it’s about a guy or you know, romantic relationship, which it’s not.

So, I wanted to write something more explicitly about friendship or I don’t know, those songs about independence, like “Her Own Heart”, which is about kind of finding your way after a break up and becoming your own person and really falling in love with yourself.

There’s songs about anger and there’s songs about kind of nothing really at all. That’s what I like about it; some of it’s super vague and I really want people to take what they want from each song because that’s how music should be, or at least a lot of my favourite music is not too literal, so then I can kind of relate to it myself.

It’s nice when the audience gets to find their own journey within the lyrics, I agree. Is there anything else on the horizon for you? You’ve got Splendour coming up.

Yeah, I keep forgetting about Splendour for some reason I don’t know why – I think it’s because it doesn’t involve a flight which all the other shows here have involved. So I am very casual about it. I’m really excited for Splendour. I think I’ve been to seven Splendours so it’s cool to be playing it and I don’t even know what to expect in terms of how many people will come or what. I think it will be pretty special and hopefully just fun.

So that’s the next place we’ll be able to catch you then?

It will be especially if you live in Queensland or NSW.

Well best of luck with Keepsake and I can’t wait to see it drop on June 21st and thank you so much for chatting with me Hatchie.

No, thanks so much, have a nice afternoon.

You too!

Hatchie‘s debut album Keepsake is set for release June 21st. To preorder the album head HERE

You can catch Hatchie at Splendour in the Grass in July. Tickets are sold out, but you can head HERE for resale availability.

Header Photo: Joe Agius

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