Self described as a blend of indie-rock, blonde-folk and Saturn-punk, Hannah & the Wick Effect caught our eye as an interesting prospect on the local music scene. A singer-songwriter with musical odes to Courtney Barnett and her unique, stream-of-consciousness storytelling, Hannah Brown’s music is a compelling fluidity of genres and an absorbing yet brief insight into her life.
If you had to describe your style in a sentence, what would you say?
I’ve described my music in different ways before, but I’ll go for angry poetry slam meets the campfire in Abba’s Fernando music video.
Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially inspired you?
Martha by Tom Waits. When I first heard it all I wanted was the ability to write like that. It sounded like perfection and still does.
Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform?
Not as such, because I enjoy performing different songs for different reasons. But if I had to choose it’d be State. I love it because the verses are really sparse and the focus is on the voice and the lyrics. When the drums kick in it starts to build into a Pink Floyd-esque guitar solo at the end. My favourite lyric to sing is “She says I’ve got a sharp tongue but she doesn’t mind when it’s between her teeth”. When I sing that it feels like I’m lighting a match then everything goes a bit mad.
What do you think is the overriding influence on your songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture of all of these?
My songwriting is influenced by so many different aspects. A lot of it is just my own emotions and personal stuff, and often the song ends up writing itself. I find that starting a song off with a ‘meaning’ is restrictive and the meaning or the story of the song changes, even long after the song has been written. It’s easy to keep writing about the things you know and stay in that territory, and I don’t want to get stuck there. I’d like to stray away from that.
Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in?
There’s a cool venue back in the North East, where I’m from, called the Surf Café. It’s absolutely tiny and it’s right next to the beach. It’s cosy and lovely and always packed. I prefer small venues, there’s something more personable and there’s a different atmosphere that you don’t get with bigger venues.
Why is music important to you?
Music is crucial as an art form. For me it’s a means of expression and a career. I was lucky enough to learn guitar at school when it wasn’t expensive, otherwise my parents wouldn’t have been able to afford it. Now I’m worried that kids who can’t afford lessons or instruments aren’t going to get a fair chance at music, and it’ll become limited to the kids whose parents can. It’s no secret that funding is poor and music is being eradicated from school curriculums. Music is vital; I’m very fortunate.