After a killer 2017, this year is looking no less exciting for Brisbane singer/songwriter Harriette Pilbeam, aka Hatchie, whose dazzling and infectious dream-pop sound has recently gained approval from many publications – most notably, Pitchfork
Hatchie has just released her debut EP, ‘Sugar and Spice’, which features the well-loved singles ‘Try’ and ‘Sure’. We chatted with the singer about the release, the development of her songwriting and sound, and what’s next for her.
First of all, congratulations on the release of your debut EP, as well as the recent international recognition you’ve been getting from publications like Stereogum and Pitchfork. After a massive 2017, it seems like this year’s becoming another whirlwind for you. Has there been any breathing room?
Thanks! It’s already been an even bigger year than the last. I quit my job recently so I feel like I’m finally getting a little bit of time to myself between shows and recording but there’s definitely room for more spare time to breathe and see my family!
Has the release of this EP always been the plan? Were some/all of these songs written and recorded with an EP in mind, or were they first created separately as standalone songs?
They were all written at different times over the last few years with no real plan. Try, Sugar & Spice and Sleep were the first songs I was really happy with and wanted to complete in the studio. I wrote Sure after Try came out and knew straight away I wanted it to be my next release. Bad Guy was added to the mix in the second half of last year because it felt like it fit in and balanced out the other four tracks really well, but I started writing it before I released anything.
You’ve mentioned that the song ‘Sugar and Spice’ actually predates ‘Try’ and ‘Sure’. Was writing this song a turning point for you in terms of lyrics and/or style?
Only the verse lyrics were written before those songs, Try was the first full song I wrote for this project. It was definitely a turning point for my music style and myself. Lyrically, it’s not about any particular situation I was in, but it did cover new ground and made me think more about what I wanted to cover in future songs.
One thing that’s stuck out to me about your music is how well suited the sound of the tracks you’ve dropped so far is to the lyrics of these songs. Was there a lot of trial and error before you came across what you thought was the right sonic direction for the songs you had written, or was the process pretty immediate?
After I wrote Try, I knew instantly it was the direction I wanted to head in. I already had a bit of an idea of the kind of bands I wanted my music to be influenced by, but after I wrote Try I got a really clear idea of what I wanted it to all sound like, lyrics included. I knew Try wouldn’t fit in with anything else I was already working on so it encouraged me to start a new project.
You also said that, before writing ‘Sugar and Spice’, you had written some sadder, darker material. Do you think that will ever see the light of day?
Some of it has and some of it still will, but a lot of it I can’t really relate to at all any more so I’m shelving it until I feel like the time is right to explore it further.
‘Sleep’ very much has an ‘end-of-the-movie’ feel to it, maybe, more specifically, the credits of a teen romance movie. Was this something you were going for?
Not at all but I’ve heard that a few times, it’s cool.
‘Bad Guy’ is the only track from the EP not to be released prior to its release. Can you talk us through it?
It’s about having the same problems with someone over and over again and trying to find someone to blame. Eventually I realised it doesn’t matter whose fault the problems are; you have to either figure them out or move on.
Given the name of the EP, as well as the lyrical themes of a few of these tracks, youthful romanticism, or the joys and trials of young love, seems to be a key theme for this release. Would you agree?
Definitely. Not entirely, but for most parts of most songs yeah. I didn’t intend for it to be that way but writing it during my first relationship, growing from 21 to 24 made it kind of unavoidable.
What’s your personal favourite track on the EP?
Right now it’s Sugar & Spice but it changes often.
You’re about to embark on an Australian tour supporting DMA’s. How are you prepping for that?
We’re feeling pretty good about our live show after just playing a bunch of shows overseas, but there’s always room for improvement! I’m working on my singing mainly and we’re all tightening up generally.
After the EP and your debut headlining tour in July, what’s next for Hatchie? Is an album in the works?”
I’m working on a bunch of new material, most of which will probably end up on my next release. We’re also heading back to America in September, which I’m very excited for!
Sugar & Spice EP is out now!
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Find tour dates for Hatchie here.