Nine Songs: Hatchie
Harriette Pilbeam’s synthesis of shoegaze and bubblegum pop as Hatchie began not in the studio, but with her ‘most-played’ on Spotify
The Brisbane native, who writes beautifully layered dream-pop songs under the moniker of Hatchie, draws upon her diverse range of musical knowledge for inspiration, which she’s discovered from sources such as Social Media, her older brother’s record collection as well as her friend’s playlists.
The confessional feel of Hatchie’s lyrics and a talent for catchy hooks tips a hat to pop icons like Carly Rae Jepsen, whilst the hazy, vintage feel of her music can be traced to a love of bands such as Cocteau Twins and The Sundays. Reconciling a blend of eclectic influences, from sun drenched pop melodies and the introspection of shoegaze, her songs reveal an inimitable artistic vision.
Hatchie is back home in Australia after a UK tour when we talk about the songs that have been integral to her development as an artist. As well as love of relatable songs, she reveals a fascination for the production process and a devotion to detail, where she hones in on the subtlest of sound effects and the slightest of tone changes.
With a debut record in progress, she tells us “I’m working on a bunch of demos at the moment for an album, which should be coming out next year.” The songs that inspire Hatchie also share the theme of the first time she’d heard a band or artist, which for a student as well as a creator of wonderful music, led her down musical rabbit holes that added to her arsenal of inspiration and desire to create something new.
“This is the first Cocteau Twins track I heard or which I remember hearing, so it was definitely a big moment and it kind of stopped me in my tracks. It was on someone else’s Spotify playlist which I was listening to and I just couldn’t believe I’d never listened to them before and hadn’t heard of them before and it opened up that kind of music to me.
“’Lorelei’ is the most significant memory I have of hearing Cocteau Twins and I always go back to it. I don’t know about any direct influences for my music but it definitely has influenced my music, particularly the music I’ve got coming out. A lot of the music I’m working on at the moment is less pop than my EP.
“I love that the chords are pretty simple changes that get added to along the way. The more I listen to it the more little things I hear that I’d never noticed before. I just think it’s an amazing song - the writing, the production and the performance, it’s all perfect and it makes you feel something straight away.”
“Wolf Alice are one of my favourite bands. What I love most about this song is that it’s about friendship and not about love or hatred. It’s about loving your best friend, like a bromance, which I think is really important, especially as a young woman.
“I think all of Ellie’s lyrics are relatable to me and probably to a lot of young women too. There’s something in all of the lyrics in every song that she writes that I can really relate to. I realised when I was 19 or 20 that I didn’t really listen to that music; music by women or with female singers, so it’s weird and they were one of the first bands that really turned my taste around. Now that I’m 25 and I look back I realise that most of the artists I listen to now are females or have female singers and this was really a starting point for that, which is really cool.
“It’s especially the lyrics that really, really get me with this song. I like that every song they have is really different, writing songs is something I want to do and this a really good example for me. ‘Bros’ is a really special song.”
“I’d never really listened to The Go-Betweens much before last year, which is a shock to lots of people because I’m from Brisbane, they’re from Brisbane and they’re like the Brisbane band that everyone knows from the 80s’. I really got into them last year when I was actually nominated for a fellowship, which was The Grant McLennan Fellowship and Grant McLennan wrote this song. I delved really deep into his writing and this is another song that I was instantly obsessed with and I listened to over and over and over again.
“I think again, especially with the lyrics, they’re so heartfelt and they really remind me of older music I listened to when I was younger, like Todd Rundgren and Carole King. There’s these beautiful, tender lyrics about regret and love and desperation and just aching for someone, wishing and hoping and praying that someone will forgive you for something that you’ve done.
“It’s another song that’s really beautiful and one that maybe I can’t relate to personally, but the lyrics just really stuck out to me. I covered it and it was a really nice song to play and I really want to cover again, the whole band knew their back catalogue. ‘Apology Accepted’ is definitely my favourite Go-Betweens song, it really made me explore their music a lot more and really understand Grant as a writer.”
“’Young Adult Friction’ is the first Pains of Being Pure at Heart song that I heard. I think that a lot of these songs are the first song that I heard by an artist before I got obsessed by them, which is why I chose all these songs.
“I was really influenced by my brother’s taste in music when I was a teenager and he gave me a hard-drive with heaps of really cool American indie bands like Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Grizzly Bear and Beach House and it really opened up that whole world of music for me and this song in particular. It’s a really good example of modern power-pop music and this whole album means a lot to me. It really influenced my writing at the time when I was like 19, 20, when I was just starting to become a writer.
“It’s a really fun pop song and when I think about the lyrics I can’t tell if they’re sad or happy. I love the recording as well, their later albums are so hi-fi, but this is super raw and it’s a cool example of how lo-fi can be really good.”
“I only discovered this song six months ago and I thought it was an old song when I heard it. I saw it on this Instagram account that posts vintage Cure and shoegaze band T-shirts. They sometimes post these old videos and when they posted the video for this I thought it was an 80s’ song.
“I looked it up when I saw the video and I thought ‘this is so cool, how have I not heard of this?’ It’s exactly what I’m into, it’s like a perfect song to me. I think the pre-chorus melody is my favourite part but it’s everything about it, the production, the lyrics, the vocals and all the little sounds on it, like the bells. Then I realised it only came out in 2015 which was just a huge shock, because it perfectly captures all of the different aspects of the 80s’ music that I’m into. I think the production is the main thing that sticks out, it doesn’t even seem real, her vocals especially.
“Everything Tamaryn does sounds really cool and I know she works with the same producer, Jorge Elbrecht, I think they’re a perfect team and I really look up to them and the music they make together. ‘Cranekiss’ is definitely a song I would like to play around with.”
“This is probably one of my favourite songs of all time, it’s probably between this and ‘Age of Consent’ by New Order. Again, it’s another example of a song that brings feelings of euphoria, the feeling of falling in love and being so happy that you can’t even really explain it, it’s something about all of the elements together. It’s also one of those songs that’s super long - at least the version I listen to is, which is an extended version - but it never feels long enough. I’ve listened to it on repeat before and I still do now.
“I had this experience where I went to see New Order live a couple of years ago and we almost didn’t make it, there was a stuff-up with our tickets and they didn’t let us in for the first half of the show. When they finally let us in I think ‘Temptation’ was the next song that was playing, so it was just this massive adrenaline rush as we ran in and found our seats. It was the perfect song to soundtrack that moment of euphoria and it brings up all those feelings for me.”
“Emotion is one of my favourite albums of the last couple of years and I can’t believe that ‘When I Needed You’ wasn’t a single, I think it’s the best song on the album.
“She worked with Ariel Rechtshaid on this song and everything he touches turns to gold, they’re the perfect combo for me. I listed to the Song Exploder podcast episode where this song was on an episode, it was really nice and there were so many little elements to it that I didn’t notice before I listened to it. There’s this moment where they keep in her laughter at the back of the song and you can barely even hear it, but it makes a difference when you know it’s there.
“‘When I Needed You’ is just this huge, massive pop song. I love the synths and the slap bass that pops out now and then. I think it’s really smart pop music, there are so many elements to it and there’s something new every time you listen to it. I don’t think there’s any kind of shame in liking that kind of pop music and I think it deserves more of a platform. Carly’s amazing and Ariel’s amazing, it’s just perfect.”
“It’s kind of similar to ‘When I Needed You’ in that it’s this perfect pop song. I remember when this song came out, I couldn’t be sure, but I was pretty young. Kylie Minogue is a pretty big deal in Australia, so it was in the charts for ages and always on TV.
“It does a really good job of balancing serious, dark lyrics, especially in the verses, with more kooky, light-hearted sounds and ideas in the chorus. I love the light and shade between the chorus and the verse and her weird, cutesy singing voice. I think a lot of people didn’t like Kylie Minogue in the 80s’ and 90s’ for her singing voice but I think it’s the best part about her. The smiley, cutesy voice is what makes her music so fun and cool.
“There’s this part where she goes ‘The joker's always smiling and the violin goes up. There’s lots of cool sound effects and samples in it, which makes it a really cool song and different from other pop songs. I love all the harmonies and the outro is really cool.”
“The Sundays are one of my favourite bands. This song was a really big inspiration for my song ‘Try’ which was my first single, so it’s really important that I mention it.
"This is probably the only one I would remember leaving out. ‘Here’s Where The Story Ends’ made me realise that you can have super-pop vocals and all of these elements that could kind of be really not cool, like acoustic guitar, but they can be cool when they’re put together in the right way and when they’re produced in the right way.
“When I found this song it was like I was looking at a treasure box and it made me realise that you can have all of these pop elements but you can still make it sound really cool. I really love all the sad, melancholy lyrics like ‘the souvenir of a terrible year’, but then there’s these pop, summery sounds. So it’s a really happy sounding song, but you realise there’s all these layers to it and its very multifaceted. It’s not a simple, one-dimensional song. It’s probably one of my favourite songs ever and it’s a really big inspiration to me as a writer.”