Having been massive fans of Liverpool duo Hannah Merrick and Craig Whittle – aka King Hannah – for a couple of years now, we’re extremely excited to hear about the release of their debut album, I’m Not Sorry I Was Just Being Me, later this month. And, with acclaim from the likes of The Guardian, Stereogum and Brooklyn Vegan already under their belts, it seems as though this year is going to see big things for them.And, with their knack for creating a beautifully atmospheric musicality, paired with Merrick’s trademark rich, sultry vocals and a spellbinding, iridescent splendour, the album promises to be a truly compelling listen.
We caught up with Hannah and Craig to find out more about the album, what inspires them and what’s next… Have a read!
Hi King Hannah, welcome to Get Inn Her Ears! Are you able to tell us a bit about how you initially started creating music together?
Craig: We met when working in a bar together, but I had seen Hannah performing at a university band night a few years before and she had blown me away with how good she was. So, we quite quickly got to talking about music and got along really well, then eventually we would meet up before night shifts and play music together. It was a very slow, natural process for us – getting to know each other, figuring out what we liked in music and how we wanted to sound.
I’ve been a big fan of your exquisite, spellbinding sounds for some time, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thank you so much! And thank you for being so supportive for so long, longer than anyone else! You were one of the first sites and radio shows to shout about ‘Creme Brulee’, back when we self-released it!! Our influences change a lot from month to month, but our biggest influences at the minute are artists like Bill Callahan, Mazzy Star, Courtney Barnett, PJ Harvey, Silver Jews… People who make honest, real music.
You’ve just announced the release of your debut album I’m Not Sorry I Was Just Being Me – which is so exciting! Are you able to tell us a bit about it? Are there any particular themes running throughout the album?
Yeah, we are super excited! And nervous, but mostly excited. We wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered the record in about eight months, which is really quick for us. It was full on. There are no intentional themes; we didn’t set out to write about anything in particular, but there is a definite feeling of nostalgia and sentiment on the album, and quite a few of the songs tend to be about childhood and memories and the warmth that they bring to us.
Do you have a favourite track on the album? And if so, why?
C: I have a few! I’m really liking one called ‘Go-Kart Kid (HELL NO!)’ at the minute. I remember Hannah showing me this song on her acoustic and being blown away, I felt like I was right there with her during her childhood, her writing is so vivid and personal. I just love it. And then it also has this grungy, sludgy, 90s end that is really loud and aggressive. It has a bit of everything that we like in music.
Hannah: I’m big into that one too but also really like ‘The Moods That I Get In’ and ‘A Well-Made Woman’. When touring the UK last October, we experimented a little with a few of the songs live, ‘The Moods That I Get In’ being one of them and it completely grew into this body of work that no one expected. And I just love ‘A Well-Made Woman’ as it’s so dark and sounds like it’s from the 90s… well it does to me at least! Plus Craig’s guitar work is phenomenal, as always.
How have you found recording and promoting an album during these strange times?
Well, we have nothing to compare it to really! The recording process was probably helped by the fact the world wasn’t fully open – it gave us more time to devote to the writing and making of the album, and we used that as much as we could.
How is the music scene in Liverpool at the moment? Would you say live music has made a full recovery after the last couple of years?
We have weirdly never really felt a big part of the Liverpool music scene. We’ve always just quietly done our own thing, building towards this. I don’t think the music scene has fully recovered – some people are still rightly apprehensive about being in crowded spaces, and gigs can be cancelled at such short notice if cases rise or someone tests positive. We think that uncertainty and apprehension will be lingering for a long time over live music, unfortunately.
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
C: I don’t know what the cut-off for ‘new’ music is, but I’m in love with a band called Babehoven at the minute, and their album Nastavi, Calliope. I think they’re based in Portland, and they make this beautiful, lo-fi, intimate music. Their latest single ‘Fugazi’ is on repeat in my bedroom right now.
H: I’m absolutely shocking for discovering new artists… It’s something I really need to get better at!! When I ‘discover’ an artist, I later discover that they’ve been around since the ’90s!
In addition to the album release, what does the rest of the year have in store for King Hannah?
C: We have our first ever EU tour and our first ever US tour coming up! Which is so surreal, it still hasn’t sunk in that we will be playing in all these wonderful places.
H: Totally!! We often get asked how all of this feels, but honestly, it’s all happening so fast that we very rarely actually sit down and chat the whole thing through! It’s a whirlwind and we’re so incredibly grateful. Thank you so much for having us and again, for your continued support!! You guys are the best!!
Massive thanks to Hannah and Craig for answering our questions!
King Hannah’s debut album I’m Not Sorry I Was Just Being Me is out this Friday, 25th February via City Slang. And, for a taster, watch their latest video for spellbinding single ‘All Being Fine’ here: