Mojo (UK) - - Contents - Ian Har­ri­son

Hang­ing out in Cardiff, New Zealand’s most in­trigu­ing new tal­ent breaks si­lence to dis­cuss the mak­ing of her next al­bum in Wales and Bris­tol .

“I’m vol­un­teer­ing three days a week at a dog groom­ing par­lour, just for a while,” says Han­nah Hard­ing, on the phone from Cardiff. “It gives me some­thing to do dur­ing the day – hang­ing out with some an­i­mals that don’t say a word.” You can un­der­stand why she’d like things quiet. Life got busy around the 2017 re­lease of her sec­ond LP, the rich, strange and mag­netic Party. Its vo­cal shapeshift­ing, acute emo­tional states and height­ened per­cep­tions gained in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cal ac­claim, and she played over 100 shows across the con­ti­nents. As she toured, she was also writ­ing most of the songs des­tined to ap­pear on her third al­bum. She started the record in late June, with 15 days record­ing and 10 days mix­ing, at Rock field Stu­dios in Mon­mouth and J& J Stu­dio and The Playpen in Bris­tol. As on Party, John Parish pro­duces. “My ini­tial feel­ing was I should try some­body else if only to do some­thing dif­fer­ent, but we got speak­ing and af­ter that I didn’t re­ally see the point,” says the singer. “We’ve got a good thing go­ing on. We didn’t muck around, we didn’t do it with any drama. The songs are full of drama or what­ever, but we just kind of got it done… when I’m do­ing it, I’m quite stressed, you know. It doesn’t feel like it too much at the time, but when I look back I re­alise I am.” Guest mu­si­cians were Cardiff-based multi-in­stru­men­tal­ists H. Hawk­line and Stephen Black from Sweet Ba­boo, plus drum­mer Gwion Llewe­lyn and Bris­tol vi­o­lin­ist and reg­u­lar Parish player Clare Mac­tag­gart. “I had to co­or­di­nate per­son­al­i­ties and in­stru­ments,” says Hard­ing. “It’s quite a bit big­ger than the last record in terms of in­stru­men­ta­tion. Party was a jump that way, and we’ve jumped again.” This being her first in­ter­view in some time, she apol­o­gises that she finds it hard to be more spe­cific about the songs and what they sound like – she even texted Parish for “some tips, some buzz­words” to help her out – though she does prof­fer that one track she wrote in the stu­dio “has lots of dif­fer­ent parts, with a lot of male back­ing vo­cals”. “One thing I will say about the record is, I don’t know that it’s lighter, but it feels lighter,” she adds. “The first two came from a kind of place of des­per­a­tion, a lit­tle bit, y’know? And this just feels, I dunno, warmer. John said some­thing like, you sound like some­body who’s com­fort­able in the mu­sic. I lis­ten to it and I go, yeah, I un­der­stand that.” She adds that her song­writ­ing is also in a healthy state. “When I fin­ished [the al­bum] my first re­sponse was to keep writ­ing,” she says. “I guess I’ve turned into a bit of a worka­holic. My kick comes from, y’know, mak­ing the mu­sic. I wrote three or four songs while we were record­ing that I didn’t use, and in my mind I’m go­ing, that’s half an al­bum. It’s fuck­ing mad, but you know…”

“I guess I’ve turned into a bit of a worka­holic.” ALDOUS HARD­ING

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