HANA DALSTON

Get to Know HANA: The Mysterious Purple Locked Queen of Electro- Beat Pop Who has Caused an Internet Explosion with her Self Produced Sounds and Fantastic Hair.

Written by Thistle Prince, photography by Thistle Prince

Despite the scorching afternoon sun the DIY Alcove tent at this year’s Latitude festival is brimming with people and with good reason. HANA, the internet’s newest musical infatuation is about to take the stage. She strides out statuesque and incandescent and the heavy beats begin to fall over an awe struck crowd.

The first song of her set-‘Avalanche’ is comprised of a low and catchy industrial bass with which HANA layers her own voice to form the chords and melody of the song. She seamlessly leans over her equipment to fiddle with buttons and appears to be in some kind of trance throwing her body into swan like shapes. In between the ferocity of her Del-Rey like vocals and carefully manufactured beats it’s difficult to take your eyes off of her.

HANA performing live at the DIY Alcove stage, Latitude
HANA performing live at the DIY Alcove stage, Latitude

 

Her recent success in the industry has been no mean feat, Hana has in fact been working hard in the music business for years. Until she reached her 20’s she had been largely working on a host of acoustic shows performing and recording under her full name Hana Pestle and travelling from place to place just her and her guitar. Though, after some reshuffling both in life and with her equipment she found a sound that she was happier with, mastered her craft and HANA was born. Writing and producing the bulk of her work herself she sits amongst a handful of current solo artists who are truly taking ownership of their work.

HANA

Her schedule has been pretty full over the last year or so. She’s been touring non stop often performing twice in the same day. Once blowing away her ever growing audiences as a solo artist and alongside her fellow electro-popian Grimes (Claire Boucher). But despite clocking thousands of hours on stage Hana’s energy never seems to falter, she is as bright and breezy as ever and positively glowing after her show.

I caught up with HANA after her set in the long hours of a busy Friday afternoon at Latitude. She sits gloriously opposite me in a pair of the best sunglasses I’ve ever seen and I feel as though it would be more appropriate to move this chat into one of the gondolas that is gently punting around on the lake next to us.

Touring must be pretty exhausting does the novelty ever wear off?

I actually had the best sleep I’ve ever had on our tour bus yesterday! Touring can be exhausting but no I don’t think the novelty does wear off. I’m performing two shows a day but we have a really fun tour bus and I’m touring with my best friend, so it’s really sweet and we support each other.

I was thinking it must be fun touring alongside your best friend. Going it alone as a solo artist must be pretty lonely at times so to have one another must be great. 

Yeah she’s awesome we have a great time. She’s so much fun we hang out and of course perform together so we spend a lot of time with one another and we have a lot in common.

HANA with Grimes
HANA performing alongside Grimes on the BBC Radio 6 stage at Latitude. Also featured are dancers Linda Celine and Alyson Van

You’ve travelled a lot, especially during this tour; you’ve been to Singapore and more recently Bilbao, do you have a favourite destination?

I couldn’t name a favourite, there have been so many incredible places, we visited Milan recently on this tour and that was really beautiful I miss it now, but it’s hard to choose I love them all for different reasons.

You visited the Cloud Forest dome in Singapore right? 

Yes it was so beautiful! so so gorgeous. We flew over it. (The cloud forest dome in Singapore became the location for the filming of Realiti by Grimes- Hana’s partner in pop! In fact if you look closely Hana herself features in several of Grimes’ music videos including California in which she plays the part of a rather shiny sequinned mermaid!

Do you think you and Claire miss each other when your tour together is over?

Well we live in the same city so we see each other a lot, and spend a lot of time hanging out though I do get separation anxiety! But Mike (Mike Tucker, musician and producer AKA Blood Diamonds) misses Claire and James a lot when they’re on tour and I miss Mike and my dog so so much right now. I’ve only been home for five days in the last however many months.

You moved to LA when you very young right? That must have taken a huge amount of bravery. 

I just had to get out of Montana, I left when I was 17 which was young, probably too young really but I went and lived with my friend which was fun and started creating more music.

You’ve managed to acrew a wicked group of people around you back home, purity Ring, Blood Diamonds obviously, and of course Grimes, how did you find yourself working alongside them?

I was doing studio sessions with different people and then I met Mike and from that point we just hung out and never stopped hanging out and then started dating. He’s very close with Claire so I met Claire though him and we all got along really well. I’ve known them all for about three years now I think.

It must be a creative dream!

Yeah they’re beautiful people and we all share in our creative energy!

Have you always worked in the music business or have you had other jobs alongside?

I used to play at farmers markets when I was much younger and I’d teach guitar to kids to earn a living but I’ve always been involved with music really, I’m very stubborn and now I’m at a point with it where I can pay all of my bills with it!

HANA LATITUDE

The music you’re putting out now is quite different from what you were producing four or five years ago. That evolution must have been an enormous process mentally how have you found it? 

Well back then it was difficult because I was young, I didn’t have a great team around me and I was trying to get out of shitty relationships but now I’m so much more settled and I’m producing MY music, and it’s music that I’m happy with. It’s been a learning curve and it was huge but I have so much support and I’m in a very different place now producing stuff that I like.

As well as being a musical virtuoso Hana does of course have her hobbies and would certainly be the first to point out that she’s a bit of a nerd.  I ask her if she’s had any interesting premonitions about the next series of Game of Thrones and a smile flickers across her face.

Everyone’s talking about Deanery’s and John Snow meeting up and doing whatever they’re going to do but I’d like to see Tyrion sitting on the throne, he deserves it, he works hard and he’s an interesting character. It sucks that they plan on splitting the next season into two but whatever happens it’s going to be interesting. I think Jaime will kill Cersai after she blew up kings landing but it’s difficult to say. (At this point we both share in our disappointment for Cersai’s cept obliteration not having been a bigger explosion than it was!)

I’ve also heard on the grape vine that you’re a bit of a Harry Potter wizz who would you have played had you been offered a part in the films?

(She has to think about this one) I think I’d play Luna. She’s interesting.

 Can you reel off encyclopaedic Harry Potter knowledge?

Well I’m definitely a bit rusty with my knowledge but actually when I first met Claire she said that she really started to respect me when she realised that I knew more about Harry Potter than she did.

So you all just nerd out together?

Yeah there was a time when Harry Potter was just always on on the tour bus. Like constantly!

I want to ask how often you cut your hair because clearly you have the mane of of unicorn right now.

I don’t cut it very often, just the odd trim off of the ends, our friend who cuts Mike’s hair cuts it occasionally but really very rarely.

(We both agree that cutting your hair when it’s that long is just too painful an experience!)

Lastly when you released your EP I noticed that there are a few songs that you play live in your set that aren’t amongst the mix and I feel like I need those songs in my life, will you be releasing those any time soon?

Yes, I want to put out more stuff, and I’m very excited to, but during this tour I’ve only been home for like a few days! So I’ll work on releasing some more stuff when I get some down time.

Will you get some down time after such a successful tour? 

I will, I’ll probably rest for a few days and then get back to work, I can’t stay away for long!

Well we can’t wait!

In the mean time HANA’s EP (aptly named HANA) is available on I tunes and is an eclectic mix of her electro-pop rebirth featuring ‘Avalanche’ and the smasher of a debut single that everyone is talking about; ‘Clay’.

If you get the chance to go to one of her live shows this year then do! HANA is on the up and with critical acclaim from the likes of Lorde her rise to stardom is sure to be swift.  Her electrifying hand crafted songs and ethereal stage presence certainly make her worth seeing and I can definitely promise you that her performances are an addictive experience. She is without doubt one to watch just try not to be too distracted by her swaths of flowing purple hair! Oh and be sure to get her name right it’s pronounced hah-nah like Fauna not Hannah like Hannah!

HANA DALSTON
HANA performing her set at Birthdays, Dalston

 

 

By Thistle Prince

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