Currently in the midst of a run of dates in the UK, Hatchie aka songwriter Harriette Pilbeam and her band from Brisbane, have captured our hearts this year with a run of gorgeous gleaming jangle pop songs, (‘Sure’, ‘Sugar & Spice’, ‘Try’, ‘Sleep’) that will culminate with the release of her gorgeous debut EP Sugar and Spice on the 25th of May. With swoonsome bittersweet melodies, she distils the giddy ups and downs of love, into a shimmering pop soundtrack that has echoes of The Sundays, The Lightning Seeds and early Cranberries, yet retains an individuality that’s infused by Pilbeam’s entrancing vocal tone. Her personal couplets are like pages pulled from her diary or a story book put to song. So, Hatchie’s songs don’t just have brilliant hooks they possess that rare ability to speak to you personally yet be universal at the same time. We caught up with Pilbeam mid tour for a run down of the world according to Hatchie.
Hi Hatchie, how are you? I’m great! Just woke up in Salford after a great show at Sounds From The Other City last night.
Will these be your first dates in the UK?They will be! It’s very exciting.
Who is in your band?
Joe on acoustic guitar, Paddy on electric, Ritchie on drums.
What was the first song you wrote?
I wrote a bunch of songs for myself and other bands before Hatchie, but Try was the first song I wrote for this project.
What artists did you love growing up?
When I was a teenager I loved Kylie Minogue, Carole King, Todd Rundgren, Broken Social Scene, Grizzly Bear.
You mentioned that ‘Sleep’ and ‘Sugar and Spice’ were written around the same time, were they an attempt to figure out your feelings and a relationship?
‘Sugar & Spice’ was written when I was falling in love for the first time, but ‘Sleep’ is a bit more of a fictional song. I was thinking about that idea of trying to speak to someone in their sleep, but it was more of a general concept rather than being about my relationship.
‘Sure’ was the first song of yours that I heard; it totally floored me. It’s such a swoonsome song that captures the joy and pain of love, was it all based on your own life or observing other people’s relationships?
That one is about other people. I haven’t been through that push and pull of breaking up and making up over and over again, but it’s a concept that fascinates me as I’ve watched so many other people go through it – in real life and in books and films.
Are you looking for a melodic hook or line to build a song around or do you write them in one sitting?
I start each song differently – sometimes with a melody/hook that I build off of, or sometimes starting with something specific like lyrics or a chord structure. A couple of the songs on the EP were done in one or two sessions but often they’re done over a few weeks.
Do you write them on a guitar initially?
It totally depends – I wrote Try starting with the guitar parts but others have started with synth or just vocals.
When you envisage a final song are you trying to capture a moment in the studio? Was your producer Joe intrinsic realising the finished sound?
I’m more often trying to recreate a feeling I had when I was writing the song and figuring out how to get it across with new sounds. Joe helped me develop my sound particularly in the demoing process of ‘Try’, ‘Sure’ and ‘Sugar & Spice’. He came to the studio with me to help figure out how to round out each final recording too.
Robin Guthrie remixed ‘Sure’, how did this happen? And what did he bring to the song? Why do you love the Cocteau Twins?
I think somebody sent him the song and asked if he would be interested in working together. It was a shock to me when he actually got back to us saying he was keen! He really opened up the song and made it more melancholy, which I love. He’s a great producer and a lovely person. When it comes to Cocteau Twins, I love that it’s hard to figure out how they made those distinct sounds. I’m also more interested in melodies than lyrics so I was immediately drawn to Liz’s vocals for that reason.
What albums do you listen to in your tour van?
We don’t have a tour van!! We’re all into Yuck, Teenage Fanclub and Alvvays though.
Australia seems to have a really vibrant music scene at the moment what do you put that down to? Any Australian acts we should keep an ear out for?
I guess maybe because the community is so small it means it’s quite tight knit and supportive. There aren’t many cities you can tour and it’s about 12 hours drive between each major city, so it’s very different from the UK or US. People play a bunch of shows in their hometowns and develop relationships with the other bands in their cities early on. I think that’s why there’s a big punk scene, especially in Brisbane. At the moment I’m listening to Body Type, Holiday Party, Moaning Lisa and Laura Jean.
What can fans expect from the Hatchie live show?
Huge guitar and drums, some unreleased gems and awkward banter.
What was your first release back home?
My first release in Australia was Try.
How did you end up on Heavenly records, it must be such a thrill it’s a great label?
Heavenly contacted us a few months ago which was amazing, we’re a big fan of their roster. Their whole team is so amazing, we’ve developed a great friendship over the last few months and they really know how to party.
Are you working on songs for an album?
I certainly am, I’m very excited to be writing and demoing any chance I get when I’m home from touring.
10th May – Shacklewell Arms, LONDON
16th May – The Social, LONDON
17-19th May – The Great Escape, BRIGHTON
22nd May – Sebright Arms, LONDON