King Hannah

King Hannah

interview by Michele Corrado

Hi guys, how are you doing? Where are you now?
Hannah & Craig: We are in Liverpool writing the next album!


You are very active on Instagram, always posting a lot of Stories, kind of documenting where you go, where you play. Looking at it I could figure how intense and successful your last year was, travelling all over the world, filling up venues, every week bigger. How has it been to receive such a hug and warmth from your fan? Could you expect it at all?
Hannah: It’s been the most incredible year of our lives! Doing what we do and getting to share it with the world is the bestest feeling on the planet. Seeing crowds of people sing back our lyrics has been a vision for as long as I can remember, so seeing it actually happen is mind-blowing and often quite teary on stage! We never feel settled at all though, and just want to make the best music we can for the rest of our lives.
Craig: It’s been such an overwhelming and crazy year, we couldn’t have wished for a better year. Playing all around the world to all these people, it’s a dream come true and we feel so lucky that we get to do it.


Always very moving and emotional, your music is a blend of many different styles, where post-rock, post-hardcore, psychedelia, trip-hop and dream pop can coexist happily. I know It is a weird tricky question, but how did you get to find a balance to such a mix?
Craig: Thank you, that's a very kind thing to say. I think our music is just a combination of all the music that we love and have grown up loving, I don’t see us fitting neatly into a specific genre which is probably why we have such a blend of different styles. The music we love will find its way into our own music in some way.
Hannah: Definitely. We listened to quite different music growing up, and while making the album, so naturally this influenced our individual writing and ideas.


How do you write Your songs? Tell us about the creative process behind “I’m Not Sorry, I Was Just Being Me”…
Hannah: I take my time writing the majority of the songs in my room and then one-by-one show them to Craig once I think they’re in a good place. From there, we work on them together in the flat, discuss their structure, individual parts, mood and reference tracks which we often put together into a Spotify playlist for the rest of the band. It's so important that we’re all on the same wavelength, sound-wise. Craig’s really hands-on in the studio, both technically and musically, and loves the experimental, spontaneous approach to recording, which really works. Honestly, we just focus hard on what we want and go from there and that’s all we can do!


Even before listening to your first Lp, I’ve been struck by its cover, that wonderful sunset in pristine land. Lately you used other pictures clearly from the same shooting for other versions of the record and so on. Where did you shoot them? Could you give us a bit of background? Why is Craig hiding his face?
Craig: The photographs were taken in North Wales close to where Hannah grew up so it has a lot of sentimental meaning, which is quite fitting with the nostalgic feel of the album. I’m not hiding my face on purpose, we just chose a photograph that felt like it had more of a story to it, something that could exist with and elevate the music a little, that's the kind of art we love most.
Hannah: We prefer natural/candid photography too, in a location setting as opposed to a studio, we just feel a lot more comfortable being shot this way! We’re really happy with the outcome!


Listening at your live in Berlin last spring, when you played “The Moods That I Get In”, most likely your most escapist song, I saw in the incredible guitar style of Craig also something of David Gilmour, which is not exactly the first name that come to mind thinking at your music. Does Craig like him or is it just my impression?
Craig: I listened to Pink Floyd a little when I was in my early teens but not so much any more. I’m far more influenced by the guitar work of people like Neil Young and Nels Cline and Richard Lloyd, people who use the guitar to create different textures and energy and are a bit angular and awkward but have such feel and emotion in their playing.


During your live performance you often play, if not always, an incredible cover from Bruce Spingsteen’s “State Trooper”, which is itself, if not exactly a cover of, very inspired from Suicide’s “Frankie Teardrop”. Why this song? What does it mean for you?
Craig: Well we love Springsteen and love the Nebraska album, because it doesn’t really feel like a typical Springsteen record. It’s lo-fi and he recorded most of it by himself on afour-track, and it just has that DIY quality we love in music. It also has the imagery and atmosphere and pacing that we love, so we just thought it was a song we could do something cool with.
Hannah: I’ve never been massively into Brucey the way Craig is, but I love this song’s pace, mood and drive, plus I generally sing in my lower range, which I think (and hope!) suits this song! Also, any song that allows for a huge ending, we’re all for!


Last spring you also played in Italy, in Milan, Genova and Rome . How did you like our country and crowd? Some nice memories about those lives?
Hannah: Ah, Italy’s the best! Our Italian crowds are always so responsive and warm, and super supportive! They make us feel great, we love them!! A few memories, yes! I remember our sound check was cut short at Milan because there was a pilates class taking place at the same time haha. Also, I remember we ate the best pesto pasta we’ve ever had before the show AND I remember FaceTiming my big Sister who told me the news that she was expecting her second child! So many wonderful memories, too many to mention!
Craig: The crowds were some of our favourite crowds ever, they’re so vocal and have so much energy, we really felt like they got behind the band and helped us put on some of our best ever shows.


I find your music also very cinematic, sometimes you really are under the impression that your songs could accompany a dramatic scene of a movie. Are you inspired by cinema? Which are your favourite movies?
Hannah & Craig: Thank you, that’s such a lovely thing to hear! Yeah we love movies and cinema, and it’s definitely in our minds somewhere when we are writing and recording. We love the idea of our music being cinematic and emotive in that way, as we love the connection music and images have, how one can elevate and bring something out of the other. It’s all very magical.
Craig: My favourite films are probably ones from the 60 and 70s, films like Badlands and Five Easy Pieces, and French films like Breathless. They’re all so warm and human, you get a sense that cinema at that point was really pushing itself to be innovative and experimental, both in the technical aspect and in the stories it was trying to tell.
Hannah: I love films that make me feel homely and warm and that I like the look and colouring of, and that are shot at real locations, real houses, real streets. And of recent times, we’re both big Ruben Östlund fans, everything I’ve seen of his I’m pretty obsessed with and can’t stop thinking about for a long time after.


Are you already writing new music? Plans for the future?
Hannah & Craig: Yes we are writing new music! It’s been a really busy year for us, and we like to write music in our own little way and with as much time as possible, so it’s been really great to get stuck into it. We are just focused on writing the best album we possibly can at the minute.


It’s almost the end of the year chart time, play with us! What’s your Album (or albums) Of The Year?
Hannah & Craig: So we really loved Built To Spill’s new album, When The Wind Forgets Your Name. It sounds like a record from the mid-90s and has lots of interesting guitar parts, We’ve listened to it non-stop for months. Also loved Tomberlin’s i don’t know who needs to hear this… and Babehoven’s Sunk EP.


The last one is going to be hard, I warn you. You are from Liverpool, a city amongst the most important ever for pop music. Which are your favourite “musical fellow citizens”? The ones from the past and the ones from today!
Craig: It’s funny because we never think of ourselves as a Liverpool band, but I suppose technically we are. It’s an obvious answer but The Beatles had a massive influence on me growing up and are definitely my favourite band, even though they don’t influence King Hannah too much. In more recent times Bill Ryder-Jones has put out some of our favourite ever music.
Hannah: Same answer, for very obvious reasons! In more recent times Bill Ryder-Jones has put out some good stuff.


Thanks a lot guys, have a good rest of the day!
Hannah & Craig: Thank you so much for having us an

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