Sydney based singer/songwriter, Huckleberry Hastings is a true marvel. His gut-wrenching blues folk songs stand proud in their potent glory, containing all the anger, passion, love and frustration that encompasses life. His songs may be sweet but they also cut deep and speak to your very soul, often sometimes painful to the thought but nevertheless emotionally driven and heartfelt. It’s rare to come across an artist that can create such power within their music but also being at the same time someone that’s like the glint of light at the end of the tunnel.
I caught up with Huckleberry to discuss everything from his upcoming début EP, his inspirations, the first song that he wrote and much, much more.
Firstly, I’d like to say thanks for this interview. What’s one thing that we should all know about Huckleberry Hastings that we might not know about you yet?
Firstly, it’s my absolute pleasure…hmm something you may not know about me…My favourite food is raspberries…or pizza. 😮
Your songs are so personal, do you ever feel like you’re bearing too much of yourself?
All the time.
When it comes to writing the songs, what kind of headspace are you in at the time?
I’m usually either intensely vulnerable, or ferociously empowered.
Which song of yours are you the most proud of writing?
“Let me…please?” It’s a new song, a love song…it is the hardest most rewarding song to play live.
I hear that you’ve been working on your début EP, how’s it progressing? Is Huckleberry Blues a good introduction to what we can be expecting from the EP?
It’s finished! Has been for quite some time…it’s just a matter of sorting out all the fun stuff like artwork and such. I’m quite particular. I would definitely say HB is a good introduction to the record, in fact it’s actually the opening track.
To me it’s a bit of an audible landscape and my producer Chris Rollans and the musicians that worked with me on the record really are all magnificent and helped me to take that landscape from my head and turn it to reality. My favourite song on the record is the closer “Sideshow”.
I’m always fascinated by song lyrics and phrases, you’re particularly good at writing the perfect lyric. So I wanted to ask, what’s your favourite lyric that you’ve written?
Thank you very much. I’m too erratic to pick a general favourite…but the lyric that hits a note with me at the moment would probably be from “The Sick” and it is:
“sore I ran, sore from hiding my sick, I’ve become in the thick, of a war. I’m sick of fighting off gravity, the grip that you have on me, my love makes me weak, I am sure”
Who are your musical inspirations and influences?
Too many to name! Joni Mitchell started me writing and nurtured my love of lyricism. Vocally I’m obsessed with Billie Holliday and Nina Simone. I’m Patti Smith mad. Laura Marling, Connor Oberst, Baths and Best Coast are all on repeat perpetually…to name a few haha. I get inspired by anything with gut and grit. I like shit that walks a tightrope between light and dark.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would that be and why?
ONE?! Probably Patti Smith. She has a really amazing way of looking at the world, I think we could come up with some whacky kind of stuff. Though I really would love to do something more electronic…so Baths would be rad too.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote and if you do, can you tell us a bit about it?
Haha yup. Super emo…four chords…I think the chorus was “does it hurt your heart? to know that you broke mine? and does it feed your lungs (sung “laaahngs”) to know that I can’t breathe without you, can’t breathe without you, breathe without your love”. I think it was called Valentines Day…I’ve always been a sap.
What are your thoughts on the music scene in Sydney? Is there quite a buzz around the city surrounding the music scene? Are there any venues that you’d recommend checking out?
I think it could be better…but I think it gets a hard wrap. There is a whole bunch of amazing stuff out there, Sydney folk are either just too busy or too lazy to go see it. I find that if any gig is further out than say…anywhere on Oxford Street…it takes a push to get people to go out of their way to come.
For instance…The Captain Cook Hotel on Flinders Street…it’s a five minute walk from Taylor Square, it houses excellent music pretty much all week long but because it’s not on that main strip I think it misses out on a lot of well deserved attention. That’s one place I would recommend getting your butt down to. I went to Doc Holliday Takes The Shotgun’s single launch at The Unicorn in Paddington the other night…Its one of the coolest bars I’ve been to in a long time, and I have a feeling it’s going to start housing some awesome gigs.
You are very active on social media, twitter and facebook in particularly. How important is to for you to connect with your fans that way?
I think it is imperative in the age that we live in…but you don’t have to look at it purely as a marketing platform. It is quite a beautiful thing in a way…twenty years ago, say you are an illustrator or a painter and you wanted people to see your work. It is going to take a lot of effort to have your work hung in a gallery…let alone be a success.
So I kind of look at social media like that…It’s a huge gallery of people’s minds…it allows me to share my photos my drawings…my brain…just another way to express myself. Any connection made goes both ways. So yes…very important to me…though I am a massive drunken tweeter…which does make way for some embarrassment. 😛
A special thanks to Huckleberry Hastings for this interview and for more info on his music, check out the following links below.