Hatchie – WPTS Interviews
The sugar-coated dream-pop sounds of Melbourne native Hatchie are best played loud. Her debut EP quickly turned heads last summer with its refreshing mix of shoegaze and pop. Now, Hatchie is gearing up for her full-length debut, and Pittsburgh debut! We met up in Philly a little while ago to discuss Vegemite, Hillary Duff, what’s next for them, and so much more!
Scales: Many People consider you a shoegaze band. How does that affect your lyrics?
I don’t know if that really does! I think sometimes I start with an idea that’s really close and personal to me for a verse or a chorus but then I really expand it be be a lot more broad or something that hasn’t happened to me that I can relate to. Most of my songs don’t just tell one story or convey just one feeling. When I was starting this project, something that I really loved and took influence from was shoegazey dream pop bands that had either really sad lyrics over really poppy music, which is what my EP is like, or lyrics that you can’t hear or don’t mesh at all with the instrumental. I guess like Cocteau Twins and even MBV. Sometimes it’s like they’re singing about something that you would never guess that they were unless you’re really paying attention. I like that it’s the complete opposite of what you think it would be and then you listen closely and you’re like “Wait what? That’s what this song is about?” I guess I can definitely see how people would make that relation to the EP.
Scales: Your new album is coming out soon (June 21). Where do you think this new album will take you?
Hopefully it will sonically open up some doors for me. I really wanted to expand my sound. it’s still ultimately a …. hardcore dream pop album??? Like indie pop??? Whatever you want to call it, it still falls under the same umbrella as the EP. It gave me a chance to experiment with new sounds I wanted to try out. I really see it as a stepping stone into other stuff. It feels like I’ve opened up and stepped out of our corner a little bit, and I’m excited to see what’s next for me.
I can’t believe it’s only been 4 months and we still have to wait a couple of months.
Scales: How was the process with your album different then when you recorded your EP?
People always say you have your whole life to make your first release. Then, for your next release you have a year or two. It wasn’t extreme pressure timing wise, like I had a date, but I didn’t feel like the countdown was really on. With this album I took a lot of older songs and reworked them. I’ve been working on these songs for a really long time. I’m just really excited for it to be out. It feels like so long since we finished it in December. I can’t believe it’s only been 4 months and we still have to wait a couple of months.
Scales: Did John Castle lead you to any new sonic experimentation?
Yes, definitely! Especially with a couple of tracks. Usually when I come to the studio my demos are like 90% done. It’s just a matter of making them a bit better, which is usually just replacing lo-fi things with Hi-Fi things. There were 2 or 3 songs where I didn’t really know how to finish them. I just wasn’t sure about the arrangement or the structure and he really helped experiment with a few sounds and structures and instruments. He plays drums and percussion really well, which is something that I don’t do and something that Joey who helps me out doesn’t do, so he really brought us to a new level in the percussion department.
Scales: Where there any specific songs?
Mainly on the songs “Secret” and “Unwanted Guest” because it has heaps of screechy guitar and different kinds of industrial drum sounds.
Scales: You mentioned industrial sounds. We already got a taste of that with your lead single “Without A Blush.”
This was one of the areas I wanted to experiment with. It’s definitely a pop version of that. I was really excited to play around with all those harsh guitar and drum sounds. That track is one that I definitely did that on, “Unwanted Guest” too.
Scales: I was watching some of your acoustic performances videos online. I was surprised how well these shoegaze/dreampop songs translated when played acoustically. Do you have any theories as to why this is?
When we were putting together the live show we hesitated to put in an acoustic guitar because if your not sure exactly how the recording sounds or you’re not sure about references to bands like the Sundays then may seem like an odd choice for an indie band to have an acoustic sound. It becomes more like a singer songwriter vibe rather than like a band. We weren’t concerned but we thought about it a lot felt like every song has acoustic guitar in the recording and maybe it’s cool that no one else really does it. Sometimes it doesn’t translate depending on the sound and sometimes depending especially on videos. I’ve watched a few videos of us live as well and it’s like maybe this doesn’t work. So, we are doing a three piece on this tour and we don’t have the acoustic guitar with us. It only really works when it’s with other guitars and it’s really a part of a sound. If it sticks out it’s not really what we’re going for. It’s funny you ask that because, at the moment were kind of deciding if we’re going to continue that or not.
Scales: When I see your name it’s often with the tag 90s nostalgia.
It’s cool, it’s flattering. Nostalgia is such a huge part of pop culture. I obviously have a lot of 90’s influences. it’s not as intentional as people think it is. I just write music and produce it as it suits. It just ends up sounding that way.
Scales: If you could be sponsored by any company, why would it be Lay’s potato chips?
Because I eat them so much! On tour it’s like he number one thing to eat. I mean on any road trip really, it’s like chips are the number one snack. I seem to come across lays the most. they have some good flavors. I recently tried the dill pickle one for the first time, and I quite enjoy it. It’s like the salt and vinegar with its own kind of dill twist.
Scales: Do they have them in Australia?
Yea, Lay’s you can definitely find in Australia. I remember eating them heaps as a kid. they are not really around that much anymore, I don’t really know why. There’s a really similar brand called Thins with a really similar logo so, I wonder if maybe they have something to do with each other.
Scales: Are there any American food you have not tried yet but, really want to?
Scales: But, you were already in Chicago this tour?
I know, but I’m vegan so it’s hard to come across certain things. We were only there for one night. Also, I’ve only had one Philly cheese steak in Australia, so that doesn’t really count. I’m really trying to find that tonight. **Update from the future: she had a vegan cheese steak for supper that night**
Scales: How do you feel about Vegemite?
Oh, I love vegemite. I brought some with me. I love it, but you have to have it the right way.
Scales: Most Americans don’t know a lot about Triple J. can you explain what triple j is to an American audience?
Triple J is a huge radio station in Australia. There’s commercial radio, and then there’s Triple J, which is public funded. and Triple J is really the number one station if you’re an alternative artist and you want to get your music heard because they have a massive amount of listeners and are connected to festivals. Being played on Triple J is just a cool thing to have under your belt. I got discovered by Triple J Unearthed, with is an offshoot of Triple J for new bands and Australian bands. It’s a really good way to get your foot in the door with getting radio plays. It’s just a cool station.
Scales: What’s your favorite way to pass the time in the van?
We’ve been listening to a few podcasts lately. Our drummer Ritchie is kind of in the know. He had listened to S Town, but we hadn’t, so we listened to S Town on one of our 12-hour drives. Also, some random episodes of a few other podcasts like This American Life. We weirdly talk a lot. Many people are surprised when we say that. A lot of bands just put on their headphones and do their own thing.
Scales: You’re from Brisbane, which is known for its tight knit DIY scene. Are there Any Australian bands that don’t get enough love?
One artist that I really love is a singer named Clea. She just put out her album a couple months ago. It’s a beautiful album that was recorded with her partner Ally. I love Cub Spawn as well and they’ve either just done a tour here or are about to. They’re some good friends of mine. They’ve been working really hard for years and they’re finally getting the recognition they deserve.
When you can tell your’re getting a bit of an audience over here, you kind of want to jump on it while you can.
Scales: This is your second US tour in about a year. Is there a reason you and many other Australian artists tend to tour internationally so much?
Partly Australia has a couple of really good grants to get bands touring overseas which is really helpful. Sounds Australia is a really good organization that helps with overseas touring. I was lucky enough to get a grant from Levi’s Jeans for touring. Partly there’s a lot of support but, When you can tell your’re getting a bit of an audience over here, you kind of want to jump on it while you can. I’m really lucky I also have a manager who’s really connected with a lot of people over here and we have a booking agent over here. So, it’s kind of just made sense. Also, WE LOVE IT!
Scales: Your new Record is being released on Double Double Whammy in the US, Heavenly in EU, and Ivy League Records in AUS. How do you keep all the legal stuff straight in your head?
It took me a bit at first. We have a different booker in every territory, a different label in every territory, different publishers, different PR, so it took me a bit to wrap my head around it. Even though I had been in bands I didn’t have experience with all the different teams you could have. But I’m on top of it now! I think once you meet everyone and put faces to names, it helps.
Scales: something that make you different than a lot of indie bands is that you’re very vocal about liking pop music. are there any other pop acts that you really admire or take inspiration from?
I Like Charlie XCX. She’s probably my favorite at the moment and has been for the last few years. I love Carly Rae Jepsen and Kylie Minogue, who’s Australian. Pop is so hard to define these days. It’s becoming a bigger and bigger genre. I love the new Ariana Grande albums, but it depends what you define as pop. some people define The 1975 as pop and I’m not them but, different people have different definitions of pop.
Scales: You were in New York not too long ago and I saw that Hillary Duff approved your concert. What does that feel like?
I’m very excited! I’ve become friends with her partner through Hatchie. He’s a fan! I think he brought her along, so it was very nice. We didn’t get to meet up with them, but it was really nice that they came.
Scales: You released a song through Adult Swim song at the end of last year. What was it like working with them?
It was really cool. I liked how it didn’t need to fit in with anything else. It didn’t need huge promotion or scheduling. It was kind of just a song we had ready to go. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to record it or not. it just felt right when Adult Swim messaged us about it. I loved it. It was really low pressure!
Hatchie’s debut album “Keepsake” is out June 21 on Double Double Whammy. They are also playing at Club Cafe on September 8th. While you wait you can check out the new singles, including “Without A Blush” and, her newest song “Obsessed” below.
Edited for Content and Clarity by Nick Jacobyansky