On “Sugar & Spice,” the title track from Hatchie’s debut EP, the Brisbane, Australia songstress sings, “We could outlast it all.” Though the song’s lyrics revolve around an uncertain future, they could easily double as a mission statement for Hariette Pillbeam’s unique brand of pop music, which feels less tethered to modern conventions than it does to universal feelings, like longing and lust.
Hatchie’s songcraft relies heavily on massive, major-key hooks, with reverb-drenched vocals and jangly, shoegaze guitars giving depth to the EP’s intimate lyrics. Upon first listen, the tunes are honey-sweet, but repeat spins reveal some vinegar beneath the surface, like when Hatchie sings, “Baby, I’m a piece of glass, I shatter so fast,” on “Sleep.”
Ahead of her Hopscotch performance on September 6, Pillbeam spoke with AdHoc via email about her earliest influences, the story behind the Hatchie moniker, and when fans can expect some new music.
AdHoc: When did you first starting writing music? Is there someone in your life who inspired you to pursue music as a career?
Hatchie: I toyed around with ideas as a teenager, but didn’t really write full songs until I was about 19 and started taking it more seriously. I wouldn’t say there’s one person who inspired me to do it; I’ve wanted to do it since I was a kid and always had support from family and friends. I always wanted to write my own music and play it myself, so I looked up to singers like Carole King and Jewel.
When did you start using the “Hatchie” moniker, and what caused you to perform under Hatchie rather than your given name?
It’s a childhood nickname that I never thought would end up leaving the household. When I wrote the songs on my EP in 2015 and 2016, I knew I wanted to release them under something other than my actual full name, because I see this music as a specific project, so more similar to a band than a singer-songwriter situation.
How would you describe the local Brisbane scene? What impact has it had on your music?
It’s small, with a few different scenes going on in different areas and age groups. I don’t think it’s really had a direct impact on the music I’ve written for Hatchie, but I’ve been playing in bands here since I was a teenager, so I’ve made a bunch of friends and bandmates along the way. I guess it had a bit of an impact on my decision to make music that wasn’t like anything I was hearing in Brisbane.
What’s your songwriting process look like?
I usually sit down and start recording a demo really [early] on in the writing process, when I just have a little idea I want to expand on. I have a horrible memory and need to get ideas recorded before I get distracted by a different idea. I mainly focus on lead melodies to begin with, then add everything else as I’m writing and recording all the parts.
You’re playing a bunch of upcoming dates in the US, including Hopscotch and OctFest. Do you have any favorite spots to play in America or cities you’re looking forward to visiting?
We can’t wait to play more festivals! They’re always a bit different in every city, but have the same familiar sounds, smells, and feel. I haven’t spent much time in any US cities other than LA and New York, so I’m really excited to go to Chicago, Seattle, Portland and San Fran! I love Canada too. I’m sure it will be really beautiful in Fall.
One of your closest collaborators is Joe Agius, who is your romantic partner as well. What’s your creative partnership like, and what does Joe bring to the Hatchie project?
It couldn’t be better. He completely gets everything I’m going for without me needing to explain it, because we have almost the exact same taste in music. If we don’t agree on an idea at first, we can always talk it out and try every option before coming to a decision. I can always bounce ideas off him and know that he’ll give me honest and valuable feedback about my writing. He’s also really visual and more creative than me, so he has brilliant ideas for videos, artwork and posters—all of which I have little experience or expertise in.
What are some bucket list items you have for 2019?
I’d love to play shows in New Zealand and/or Asia, play more festivals in the US and UK, and put out an album!!
When can fans expect more Hatchie music?