Five Favourites: Hannah Schneider

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.

LISTEN: Beach House – ‘Once Twice Melody: Chapter 1’

A cinematic introduction to their new record, dream pop outfit Beach House have shared the first four tracks from their upcoming album, Once Twice Melody. Set for release via Bella Union on 18th February, the record features 18 tracks which the band have chosen to share in four ‘Chapters’ in the lead up to the release, with ‘Chapter 1’ being available to listen to now.

Featuring eponymous track ‘Once Twice Melody’, ‘Chapter 1’ is a lilting, majestic showcase of the band’s new material. Produced entirely by Beach House and using a live string ensemble for the first time, ‘Superstar’, ‘Pink Funeral’ and ‘Through Me’ shimmer with the duo’s trademark lullaby-esque vocals, dramatic riffs and atmospheric beats. Bittersweet lyrics and heady synths combine to make this first instalment a captivating, tranquil listen.

Beach House will be releasing a new ‘Chapter’ of music each month until the full album is released in February 2022. The band will be touring the UK and Europe in Spring, which will include a night at London’s Brixton Academy on 26th May. Tickets for each date are on sale from Friday 19th November (more info here)

Listen to ‘Chapter 1’ of Once Twice Melody below.

Follow Beach House on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: David Belisle

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Cuffed Up

“I have a bachelor’s degree in guitar performance but really I’ve just wanted to write songs and play in rock bands,” explains Cuffed Up‘s vocalist and guitarist Sapphire Jewell. “I had a sad realization this year that I’ve never had guitar role models. To think I’ve been playing guitar for 14 years now and I’ve never been taught anything on guitar by a woman…not even on YouTube or anywhere online. I wish I could’ve had more badass female guitarists to look up to, I think I’d be a better guitarist if I did.” Jewell doesn’t let a lack of representation hold her back though. She fronts LA alt-rock band Cuffed Up with genuine tenacity, stepping into the musical spotlight trying to fill the gaps she’s painfully aware of.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Sapphire Jewell to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five tracks that have inspired her song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch Cuffed Up’s video for ‘French Exit’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Foals – ‘Two Steps, Twice’
First of all, I love Foals and I love their debut album Antidotes. This song is so insanely fun to listen to. It just bops. It’s mathy, poppy and heavy all in one track. How is that even possible?! I think it was one of the first songs I’d recognized as being perfectly crafted to be played live. There’s so much room to change the arrangement and build it out as a banger live track. Now, whenever I write something new I think about the live aspect of it and what it could do in a live setting that’s elevated or different from the recorded version. Even now, 12 years after Antidotes was released, Foals close their shows with this song because it still rips. I gotta have a song like that someday.

2. Nick Drake – ‘River Man’
I’ve loved this song for many years now. It flows so smoothly despite being in an odd 5/4 time signature. I am enamoured by the chilling chord changes, the way his voice sounds like a breeze passing through a quiet town and the strings that just melt me away. It’s so mysterious and fleeting. This song is hauntingly beautiful. Maybe this isn’t a desirable sensation, but it makes me feel old and almost wise for those few minutes. Nothing has ever moved me in that way before. I think more people should know Nick Drake and this song.

3. Grizzly Bear – ‘Yet Again’
Okay, so no one has the right to make such a perfect guitar tone! Especially not in the first four chords?!? God damn this song is unreal. Literally every time this song starts I’m just like “this is IT.” The best part?! It feels new every time I hear it. How can that be? It’s one of those songs that I wish I’d written. I’m not sure I could pinpoint exactly what it is that’s so perfect about this song, but Grizzly Bear sure knows how to layer and produce marvellous music and this is my favourite of theirs.

4. Beach House – ‘Zebra’
This song and this band take me back to the better parts of my life in high school. I didn’t have many friends who were passionate about music, really just one, and we both loved Beach House. Most of my friends didn’t pay much attention to what they listened to but my friend Deric and I would share music with each other. That was really special. Whenever I think of Beach House I think of him. ‘Zebra’ was one of my favourites of older Beach House. They have a zillion amazing songs and they all remind me of the good times during those hellish years of high school.

5. Miike Snow – ‘Genghis Khan’
So this song RIPS and the music video is BRILLIANT. The song stands on it’s own but the video just seals the deal and now it’s unforgettable. It grooves so hard and makes me feel all giddy. This song and its video are untouchable. It’s too good. It’s too fun. I love it way too much. I can’t explain further, it’s one of those you gotta see and hear for yourself. You’d be a fool not to thoroughly enjoy the might and power of Miike Snow’s ‘Genghis Khan’!

Thanks to Sapphire for sharing her favourite tracks with us!

Watch the video for Cuffed Up’s single ‘French Exit’ below.

Follow Cuffed Up on Spotify, bandcamp, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Ana Karotkaya