On a brief hiatus after wrapping up several live shows in California and continuing with the rest of her five week tour, Harriette Pilbeam (professionally known as Hatchie, a nickname she garnered from her mother,) blends dreamy soundscapes with pop hooks and has expanded her sound into post-punk and electronic depths with her upcoming debut album Keepsake, out June 21st on Double Double Whammy. The 25 year old Brisbane native remarks on how her local music scene embraced her talent at the age of 18 when she initially started performing. Getting involved in her music community was inevitably how she found her guitarist/partner, Joe Agius, as well as the drummer for her band, John Castle.
Inviting an encompassing and accessible groundwork in her 2018 EP, Sugar & Spice, Hatchie also taps into a distinctive and heavenly air of infectious dream pop that caught the ears of 4AD’s notorious Robin Guthie of Cocteau Twins, who worked on putting out a remix for her track “Sure”. When asked how the collaboration came to fruition, Pilbeam states, “I had just written “Sure” that week. It hadn’t been produced or anything, I had just done the demo for it”, which inevitably led to further phone conversations and Guthie’s melodious spin on her recent song. While their involvement was fleeting, it also furthered its unique and memorable nature. “It just made sense to do one song together […] I like that it was contained to this one song, and a couple conversations and we both went on our way. It was really pleasant.”
Experimenting with different techniques, Pilbeam comments on the gradual expansions she’s taken and branching out to various sub-genres while still maintaining a steadfast sweet and poetic sound. “I feel like I’ve filled in a few more gaps between different types of songs I wanted to do”, as she carefully balances her initial strengths as a pop songstress on Keepsake, being aware to not alienate her original visions and audience. Defining her own trajectory, Hatchie maintains 100% of the say in the packaging of her records and merchandise, continually conversing with her boyfriend about the layout and design of her products. Initially with Keepsake, she played around with ideas involving actual keepsakes and memorabilia around her house and objects closest to her, but instead went with a happenstance choice of a promotional photo, distorting and affecting her physical features, that wasn’t planned for the album cover. “I really love the color scheme, I knew that I wanted [the album cover] to be green or blue”, Pilbeam gushes, settling on a dreamlike vision that portrays yet another extension of her carefully crafted record.
When asked about the dynamic and involvement of Joe in her project, Pilbeam remarks at the constant and consistent work they put in together without having to worry about the communication of a middle-man and the support they extend to one another. “We work on stuff 24/7 […] we live together, we’re always on tour together”, which inevitably leads to playing off each other strengths and weaknesses, carving out an equilibrium between Agius’ knack for developing visual ideas and Pilbeam’s strength at songwriting. “It’s crazy to think we weren’t doing this at one stage, because now it’s just how we work together. It has really strengthened our relationship.”
Embarking on a further North American tour, Hatchie will be playing shows in some cities for the first time, as well as allowing more room to visit audience’s hometowns without rushing off to the next destination. “We all enjoy drives and driving through the States. America is more interesting than driving through Australia and the UK. There’s, like, diners in the middle of nowhere! […] some things that are normal to you guys are crazy to us”, Pilbeam laughs. Taking advantage of tourist stops and vintage shops, Pilbeam notes that meeting crowds in places where they least expect to have a fanbase has been incredibly special and noteworthy for the band. You can catch Hatchie in the following cities below:
San Francisco, CA
St. Paul, MN
Ann Arbor, MI
New York, NY
Asbury Park, NJ
Baton Rouge, LA
San Antonio, TX
Oklahoma City, OK
Santa Fe, NM
– Words by Trish Connelly