Melbourne artist Eva Popov has been writing, producing and performing adventurous inimitable indie pop as Hello Satellites for over a decade now. Eva’s expansive and genre bending sound has traversed many realms of the music landscape, undulating seamlessly through folk, pop, neoclassical and experimental tropes across three studio albums, each navigating the world with the sure-footedness of a true exploratory artist. Now, the sonic nomad is excited to reveal her latest offering ‘No Delivery’ lifted from her forthcoming 2021 album There Is A Field. We had a chat with Eva about the new single and her forthcoming Hello Satellites record.
Hey Eva, congratulations on the new Hello Satellites single ‘No Delivery’! Tell us a bit about this track, what’s it all about?
Thanks! I wrote the song at a point where I had gotten sick of myself and the time I spent on Social Media looking at other people do awesome things. It’s the realisation, and kind of self coaching that I had to take risks, feel all the things and be my imperfect, flawed self in the world. That even if I was shit at it, I was going to have to go out and do it
You have created a really eclectic sound with Hello Satellites. How do you generally go about writing your songs? What inspires you musically or otherwise?
I pretty much write all my songs on guitar or piano – they start in a pretty gentle and reflective place where I am just processing the world and all the things that don’t make sense to me. Because I’m not working with a band at the moment I use a lot of virtual instruments and home recording techniques to build the songs, which often takes them in a very different directions to where they started. They grow into their own sonic worlds and I spend a lot of time finding and crafting the sounds for that sonic world, like a collage of sorts.
On this single, you worked with acclaimed producer Nick Huggins who’s previously produced songs and albums for a massive spread of artists such as Seagull, Leah Senior, Mick Turner of the Dirty Three, Whitley and more. Had you worked with Nick before? What was this experience like?
I first saw Nick play when I started gigging and felt he turned sound into light, or magic, something very difficult to capture, and that has been my experience over my long time of working with him. He was the first person who told me I should make an album, and so I did, and he came and played slide guitar with me. Over the years he became an established producer, and he supported me with mentoring, gear advice, and we co-produced most of the records I released together. This time it was almost impossible to work with him because of lockdown and restrictions preventing travel, so I ended up having to send him all the files for mixing – it was a lot more independent than I would have chosen.
Last year you released a self-titled album just prior to the peak of Melbourne’s strict stage 4 lockdown. How was your 2020, and what was it like releasing music but not being able to perform live shows?
I released a single “Thief” (rather than an album). It was the first song from the album, and we were lucky enough to have a break in restrictions enough to make our own music video in the beautiful coastline of Boonwurrung/Kurnai country in Victoria. Making studio music and digital art has been great in lockdown, but I’m currently working on rebuilding my sense of myself as a performing artist as gigs have not existed for so long
Did you get into any virtual gigs yourself, either performing or “attending” as a punter? Any notable ones?
In the early lockdown days I with the support of my family incorporated “comfort songs” as part of our daily routine, just doing casual livestreams of hopeful songs over social media, taking requests, and connecting with the community that way. As lockdown extended we kind of went into survival mode and the album became the creative outlet.
As a punter I really enjoyed “Reckoning” by Samuel Gaskin and the Merindas – a First Nations music/theatre performance as part of Melbourne Fringe Festival. Powerful storytelling and amazing music.
This song looks at social media and the online space and how to manage a good phone-life balance. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this from an artists perspective. How do you find navigating the online space as far as reaching and engaging with your audience, do you feel it’s a necessary step to take these days? Do you enjoy it?
In all honesty I struggle with it. I struggle to be generous and share myself the way I want to, yet find it a necessary part of creating music that I want to offer to the world. The whole album kind of wrestles with that idea in different ways. I feel like my life and consciousness has been so broken up by that addiction over so long that I don’t even know how to manage it in a way that looks good to me. I don’t think I’m alone in this and I don’t have any answers.
How have you enjoyed the recent opening up of Melbourne venues and Australian live music, have you got along to any shows yourself? Any upcoming performances in the works for Hello Satellites?
It has been amazing that things have opened up again. The highlight was Share the Spirit Festival on the 26th of January, a day of mourning and a celebration of resilience and spirit for Australian First Nation Musicians. The energy was incredible and moving, and I was reminded at how sharing songs and energy is so important.
I’ve booked a small gig on March 25th at Some Velvet Morning to test the waters.
And finally, what’s next for Hello Satellites?
Another single will come out in March, then the full album in April. It’s going to be a time of finding ways to share the work with the world, do shows, and then work out what the next project is!