Having been big fans of Danish artist Hannah Schneider (also of duo AyOwA) for some time now, we were super excited to welcome the release of her latest album (her first solo release in seven years), Ocean Letters. A collection of immersive, celestial soundscapes, it perfectly showcases Schneider’s ability to bathe your ears in a euphoric, soothing grace as her rich, crystalline vocals ripple with a dreamy ethereal haze. A blissful sonic accompaniment to calm the senses as the temperatures drop and the darkness draws in.
We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of Ocean Letters, we caught up with Hannah Schneider to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. See below for her choice of her five favourite albums.
Beach House – Teen Dream
As a surprise to no-one, Beach House is a huge inspiration for me, and this is one of my favourite albums ever. The songwriting is off the charts amazing – wild, advanced and still it seems you can hum along to every one of the tunes. Many of the texts and titles have such a suspense in them, and they each create a scene or a story that catches your attention. And then of course, the sound. I have always been extremely inspired by their hazy dream pop sound with significant guitar lines, drum machines and beautiful vocals, and on my album Ocean Letters in particular I go all the way on a few songs in my Beach House tribute. The demo for ‘The World’s Gone Still Now’ from my album was even called “beach house vibes” before it got its real title after my friend and magic guitar player Anna had come and laid down the guitar parts on it!
Hania Rani – Esja
For me, Hania Rani is a fairly new acquaintance, but I have been very inspired by her in my work with this album. From the sound of the piano, to the simple and yet complex compositions, and the sparse layers that still create such a full sound and beautiful cinematic scenes. This music gives such space for imagination, and that’s what I have been trying to create with my album as well.
Portishead – Portishead
I don’t think there’s a time in my life where I haven’t listened to Portishead. It’s a constant source of inspiration, how they make such intense music without shouting at the listener. Such slow paces, such minimalist productions, simple chord structures, and yet the melody and Beth Gibbons’ voice is so wild – complex and completely vulnerable, and unnerving, at the same time. I am forever inspired by their way of orchestrating music and making suspense and drama, and the way they dare to combine musical genres in their music has been a big inspiration for my album as well.
Emilie Nicholas- Tranquille Emile
Norway is the country with the most happening right now music wise in Scandinavia I think. One of the first in this new wave of interesting artists is Emile Nicholas, and I love her way of creating new R’n’B/soul with such a distinct Nordic flavour. Interesting melodies, beautiful instrumentation and Emilie’s million dollar vocals on top – wow, how she can create lines that amazes! I just gave in to this album, and have enjoyed it very much while creating my own album. I think I have also let myself be inspired by the gospel-ish chord changes in some of her songs, and in my song ‘It’s The Season’ I have let myself dive in to the slow more soulful chords and musical phrasings.
Agnes Obel – Myopia
This album is a true masterpiece of orchestration and melodies – such beautiful compositions, and Agnes Obel’s magical voice on top. There is such a cinematic quality to all her albums, and this has been a great inspiration to my album, Ocean Letters. Her albums also seem very conceptual thematically and sound wise, and this is something I have also approached in my work with Ocean Letters.
Massive thanks to Hannah Schneider for sharing her Five Favourites with us!
Ocean Letters, the new album from Hannah Schneider, is out now via Midnight Confessions.