Hatchie is the musical alias of Harriette Pilbeam, under this nom de plume the artist has released a clutch of stellar tracks, each slightly more evocative than the last and becoming of a vital voice. Her writing centres on the introspective buoyed by threads of youthful experience and complicated love. The project was officially christened in May of 2017 with the release of ‘Try,’ a song that manages to blend obvious pop credentials through the lens of indie cool creating a bi-product of sun-kissed hypnotics and dazed vibrancy. Guitar pop for a new generation.
‘Try’ received critical success in her home country of Australia and soon spurred ears from beyond the border to pick up the enticing sonics of Hatchie, leading to label deals in the States and the UK (Double Double Whammy & Heavenly Recordings respectively). Hatchie has also had the good fortune of sharing stages with Alvvays and Snail Mail in the past year, bands who match the essence of Hatchie’s warm and fuzzy dream pop down to a T.
Starting out 2019 in the UK Hatchie joins indie icons The Vaccines for a hopscotch around the country before jetting back home to play an assembly of milestone shows with Kylie Minogue. We catch the artist amidst her touring spell with the Vaccines to discuss confidence, process, the importance of maintaining routine whilst on tour and a few lighter topics here and there.
Welcome back to the UK, how does it feel to dive into a new year and go straight out on tour overseas?
“Thanks so much! It’s been all systems go since just before New Year’s as we were on a touring festival in Australia before jumping over to the UK. I’m loving it! I’ve missed doing big driving tours.”
As we’re talking about the live shows, I wanted to delve into your skills as a musician a little more. What first drew you to the bass?
“When I was a teenager playing acoustic guitar, my friend needed a bassist for a band and my sister had an old bass guitar she didn’t use anymore, so I gave it a shot. Then I moved on to a new band in 2011 called Babaganouj after the singer was looking for a bassist, and that was when I really got into it and didn’t really care about playing guitar anymore. I’m much better at bass than guitar now. I find it really hard to wrap my hands around the chords I was needing to play with these songs when I tried to switch to electric guitar for the first string of Hatchie shows.”
What do you like about the bass?
“I like how rhythmic it is, and I seem to be one of few people who find it much easier to play bass while singing! I think I also find it more of a relaxed position to be in, as when I hit the wrong note or play a bit out of time it’s way easier to correct the mistake without anyone noticing, haha.”
Recently I’ve started to notice that more and more musicians fronting bands are actually choosing bass as their instrument, what do you think might be driving this movement?
“I have no idea! I hadn’t really noticed that myself. Maybe more people find it easier to play while singing. I feel like I can relax a bit more and focus on my vocals.”
Thinking about it you’ve been in bands for a while, and to a degree some of your experience has been standing up front and singing. Is it a natural fit for you to take the position of band leader or has it been a gradual process?
“It’s not at all natural for me, it’s been an extremely slow, gradual process that I still struggle with. I think I’m getting there though, standing my ground more with decisions and the creative process. I don’t think I’ll ever adapt to being a great leader on stage though…”
2018 saw you constantly on the road, what did you take from those experiences?
“I learnt how to look after my body and mind a lot better than I was previously, after a lot of trial and error. It can be really easy to just totally let go of diet, exercise and general daily routines when you’re on the road, but I’ve come home from tour feeling my absolute worst vocally, physically and emotionally a few too many times to let it unravel again this year. I’ve also learnt how important it is to have a strong friendship and fun dynamic with everyone you’re touring with, while balancing it with hard work and as much alone time as possible to recharge. I’m figuring out how to calm my anxiety when feeling out of place or sad about being away from home, by sticking to certain routines, packing certain items and visiting certain places to comfort myself.”
The Hatchie debut album is virtually mixed and complete, yes? Is the current live show a good indication of what the album might look and sound like?
“Yes it is! It’s very exciting. We’re only playing one or two new songs in the set on this tour as we have a shorter set, but additional album tracks will start trickling into the live show over the next few months.”
Have you noticed a change in your relationship with the songs that you’ve made public?
“I guess I get a bit sick of certain songs at times on tour, especially if they’re harder for me to sing or play than I initially thought. It’s always the most exciting to play newer songs as they feel and sound so fresh in comparison to the EP tracks we’ve been playing for almost two years now. I actually try not to listen to my released tracks at all as I always hear little things I wish I’d written or recorded differently and freak myself out!”
You’ve mentioned how your writing has started to take new forms, what has been the most significant breakthrough for you creatively—and has that informed any personal developments?
“This is a tough question! I’m not sure I had any significant breakthroughs. I just really slowly pushed myself over the last year to write songs in different ways – whether it be through different programs; using new guitar pedals; weird difficult synths; or processes that used to feel backwards to me, like starting with lyrics rather than melodies. I think personally it’s made me realise I can make my music sound however the hell I want it to and not stick to any one ‘sound’ or genre, which I started getting a bit caught up with after the EP came out. I also think I’m a lot more open to co-writing after recording this album with more input from the producer on certain tracks.”
Do you have any ambitions for your music?
“I just want to keep playing it in new cities around the world and be able to create freely for years to come.”
To finish up we thought it would be cool to end on a song title-inspired random round…
Sugar & Spice: Is it best to sugarcoat the truth or rip off the band aid?
“Rip off the Band-Aid, I am SO blunt most of the time, sometimes it’s the only way to get things done.”
Try: You play a few different instruments, which one took you the longest to learn and what was the most important element you discovered about that instrument?
“I honestly don’t think I’m very good at any instrument I play. Guitar will always be the hardest to get better at, for me. The most important thing is to just practice practice practice.”
Bad Guy: In your opinion who is the best movie villain in history?
“I guess The Joker? I have no idea.”
Sure: What gives you confidence, and what instils you with nerves?
“I’m so dubious about my own work and everyone’s compliments, that I’m the only person I can really trust to boost my own confidence. It’s something I’m still working on every day. Meeting new people instills me with nerves and playing in front of crowds who don’t know my music. I feel like I have to win them over, and I’m not good at that!”
Adored: Have you ever met someone famous and totally lost your cool?
“Honestly not that I can think of, but only because I haven’t met or tried to speak to many famous people! I’m a firm believer in not meeting your heroes.”
Hatchie’s debut EP ‘Sugar & Spice’ is out now – available to Stream/Purchase here.
Photo Credit: Joe Agius