Hannah Cameron is a weaver of emotionally wrought, poetic folk music that navigates the spaces between relationships, trust, acceptance and forgiveness. A master in the art of subtlety, Hannah’s nuanced songwriting has amounted to two full-length albums and a B-side EP in five years – her unique folk-pop sound deepening with each release. Following Hannah’s beloved 2018 LP I Lay Where You Lie, the accomplished singer songwriter is thrilled to now share her first release of the year, with new single ‘Backsliding’. We had a chat with Hannah all about her new track, the multiple musical projects she’s involved with and a massive year of touring and travelling.
Hey Hannah, congratulations on your new single ‘Backsliding’! Can you tell us a bit about how this track came to be?
Thank you! Last July I decided I’d write a song each day for a week and this was actually the first song to come out of this period. I’d had a baritone guitar in my possession for a few years and decided to try writing on it. It started off more or less as a bass line and the rest of the song just came out really fast. I posted a snippet on social media that night and Matt Redlich who I’d been working with on a few other songs sent me a message saying that this new one should be the single. We recorded it live to tape with my band a few weeks later in a friend’s living room so it all came together much more quickly than I’m used to.
This is the first single to be released since your 2018 LP I Lay Where You Lie. What’s been happening since then? How has life changed for you as an artist and person?
Oh boy, that’s a big question haha. After I put out my last record I felt like I needed a break. I think I was pretty burned out and also nursing a bit of a broken heart and I knew I didn’t want to be singing about those feelings for another album cycle haha. So I gave myself some time out from my own project and gave more energy to the other projects I’m involved with. I listened to a lot of music, travelled around the US for a month and then got to tour Europe playing with The Paper Kites. All of that travel and collaboration was super inspiring both personally and creatively and I definitely felt very energised by it. I don’t know that my life has actually changed that much since 2018 but I think I just have a very different relationship with myself and my music.
Can you give us a bit of an insight into your music community? What’s the local music scene like in Melbourne?
I love the Melbourne music community. I honestly think it’s the best in the world. And I’m not just saying that. I genuinely think that the music being played here on any given night is the best you could hope to hear anywhere. I think that the community of songwriters in particular is just incredibly strong. If you asked me to list my favourite songwriters, most of them would be based in Melbourne.
You play in a whole stack of other Melbourne bands such as On Diamond, Grand Salvo, Clio and the recently fledged duo Brain Romance with Brian Campeau. How has playing in these bands shaped the songwriter and performer you are today?
Immeasurably. All of the artists you just listed are in my aforementioned list of favourite songwriters. I kind of feel like by playing with them I get to secretly ingest some of their musical genius. I have undoubtedly been influenced in one way or another by all of the bands and artists I play with and I’ve also been pushed to learn new skills/instruments/techniques which I then get to take to my own project.
Last year you were also invited to go on a European/North American Tour with The Paper Kites, what was that experience like? Any interesting tales from the road?
That was a very incredible time. I’ve never done anything close to that level of touring so I got to play in some unbelievable venues to some very adoring crowds. It was an amazing learning experience and those guys are just the best. There are definitely a lot of great stories but my personal favourite (retrospectively) is the time that our tour bus broke down on the side of the road 2.5 hours out of Nashville (on one of our few days off). We broke down at 10am and waited for the mechanic until 7pm at which point we were told it would need to be towed and we’d need to get a shuttle bus into town. The fairly dodgy shuttle bus arrived at 7:30pm and made it 300m down the highway before also breaking down. So we waited a few more hours for the owner of the shuttle bus company and a few of his friends and family who drove us in various people movers to Nashville. Not the best day off but an excellent story.
This new single ‘Backsliding’ was produced by Matt Redlich who’s worked with artists such as Husky, Holy Holy, Ball Park Music. Have you worked with Matt before? How important is collaboration and having a team of creatives around you to bounce ideas off?
This was my first time working with Matt and it was a great time. Collaboration has always been very important to me but I think I can also be a bit of a control freak when it comes to my music. I’m in the habit of going into rehearsal and recording situations with arrangements fairly fleshed out in my mind which is sometimes good but sometimes makes it hard to be receptive to other (potentially better) ideas because you’re too attached to the old ones. In this case, because the song was so fresh (literally a few days old), when Matt came at me with all of these great ideas it felt really exciting to roll with them. Also Matt is a genius with incredible creative instincts so it just felt very easy to trust his judgement.
Anything else we can look forward to hearing from you anytime soon?
Hopefully some more singles in the not too distant post Covid-19 future.
Hannah Cameron’s new single ‘Backsliding‘ is out today, take a listen below and stay up to date on all upcoming music and gigs via Hannah’s Facebook and Instagram.
Stream or Purchase ‘Backsliding’ at Hannah Cameron’s Bandcamp.