Hannah Kate made their first foray into the Melbourne music scene last year with their debut EP Late Brunch. Over the past year, the band have switched up soft melancholy for gritty, garage-pop sounds, releasing their latest single ‘Cry July’ in September 2018.
At only 20, frontwoman Hannah Wales uses her songwriting to explore intimacy and inconsistency in relationships, ideas of identity and the constant limbo between going out, (knowing full well you’ll have to eat noodles for the next week) and staying in.
Regulars on the northside gig circuit, Hannah Kate is made up of Hannah on guitar and lead vocals, Tali Harding-Hone on guitar and backing vocals, Dougal James on bass, Sam Drew-Rumuro on drums (formerly Tom Hueston). You can usually find them performing at The Tote and The Gaso in Collingwood.
We sat down with Hannah and chatted about her background, music dreams and the challenges of starting another northside garage band.
On getting started in music
I started playing guitar in year eight, and at first I was just doing lessons and trying to learn funny covers. Then later my music teacher said e something like, “Hey you’re pretty good at that,” and the year nine band needed a guitarist, so I played for them for about two years.
At that time, we started writing our own music and playing gigs at places like The Espy for dodgy battle of the bands comps. It was around then that I started getting annoyed at not really having creative control, because I was just the guitarist. I started to write my own music and after a year or so I got a band together and, voila! Hannah Kate was formed.
On starting Hannah Kate
I had these six songs I had written and so I got my two mates Dougal and Tom to jump on drums and bass. We recorded them pretty much instantly (being our debut EP Late Brunch), and after that the gigging really started kicking off.
On the new single, ‘Cry July’
We wrote it about six months ago at uni when we were practicing for a gig. But I only just came up with the name recently (in July), when some of my mates were doing Dry July and I remember shouting to my friend Shelby during a set, saying good on ya mate for doing it. But what I didn’t know is that she had caved that night and was holding a pint as I said it. So that’s why it’s called ‘Cry July’.
On the ultimate dream
I guess I’d just really like to be able to live off playing my own music. It’s very hard to do this in Melbourne, but I’m going to give it a go. And if that fails and I end up teaching little ratbags how to play the recorder in primary school, then hey, I could do a lot worse.
On the biggest challenges so far
Just taking a lot of shit from entitled men in the industry. Whether it be my music teacher in high school telling me I’m not good enough, that I have to go to America to make money from music, that he could “Easily sell me in the industry” based off my looks, or sound guys telling me “You’ll figure out your own tone eventually, but here let me just adjust your amp setting for you”. Like yes, fuck off mate, I’ve been gigging for three years so yes, I know what tones I like, I know how to set my own amp settings and yes, I do in fact know how to use the pedal that I own.
On Melbourne’s music scene
I think it’s great. The fact that you can go and see a good band play any night of the week is really sick, and we have a very accepting scene, well at least the scene I’m in.
That being said, the divide between male and femme musos is still very prominent in Melbourne. But a lot of venues have now said no all male line-ups, which is great, but getting one female to open is not enough. There is also a lack of people of colour on a lot of line-ups, which is something people are starting to notice and speak up about.
Basically, I think we are travelling in the right direction, but we still have a fucking long way to go.
On current inspo
Artists like Angel Olsen, Cate Le Bon and Julia Jacklin inspire me a lot.
On the best cafes and bars in Melbourne
The Evelyn is my home, and I work there now, so I guess I’m pretty biased. But it’s the god damn best. I will always have a soft spot for The Tote because we played there like six times in two weeks last year and have now sold out two launches there. Old Bar is really great, so is The Gaso, and if you’re feeling saucy Bar Romantica is always good for some Aperol Spritz and free pool.
On tips for aspiring musicians
Record everything! The number of songs I’ve hated and then once I recorded them I loved them. Also, don’t think you can’t ever start a band, because you can. I know a bunch of bands who barely knew how to play until they started, and now they’re very successful. Mainly though, just constantly listen to and see music, and stay passionate.
Want to learn more about Hannah Kate? Check them out on Triple J here.
Image credit: supplied