THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITERS' QUESTIONNAIRE: Hachiku

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THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITERS' QUESTIONNAIRE: Hachiku

Melbourne-based Hachiku's debut album I'll Probably Be Asleep was one which slipped past us a month ago while we were diverted by other work.

But belatedly we get the chance to bring its hypnotic, lyrically incisive electro-kissed dark alt.pop (with gritty guitars) to your attention courtesy of an insightful interview.

Hachiku – aka Anika Ostendorf – is certainly well out of the starting gate with the album: it came out on the Courtney Barnett-founded label Milk! and picked up excellent notices in NME (“even the topics usually relegated to inflammatory newspaper op-eds take on new depth and heart”), Clash Magazine (“whipsmart indie rock with an alt.pop appeal”) and Triple J (“vast and intimate all at once”).

Born in Michigan, her family itinerant between the US, UK and Germany and finally settling outside Cologne, Ostendorf played in teenage punk bands, went to London to study biology, and spent a formative year on exchange in Melbourne where she interned at Milk!

She had found her spiritual and musical home and much of her politics, peripatetic life and diverse musical influences (she thinks of herself as “more as a producer than a songwriter”) have fed into the impressive debut which is atmospheric, chock full of discreet pop smarts and covers a lot of interesting lyrical and sonic territory.

Screen_Shot_2020_11_24_at_10.20.46_AMThe album is available on vinyl through Rhythmethod or on Spotify here.

We bring Hachiku (in Japanese the ideograms translate as “breaking bamboo”) to your attention . . .

The first song which really affected you was . . .

BR5-49 - That’s What I Get. When I was 10 my father got me into this American Rockabilly country band and it’s the first CD I ever owned and that song is the opening track. I would listen to it over and over and read along to the lyrics and try to sing them in English. I did not understand a single word but somehow was fascinated.

Did you grow up listening to music, and if so who or what bands when you were 14?

Uuh, let me check my last.fm stats. I was not very cool at 14 but I guess it is what it is. Adam Green, Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson, Arctic Monkeys, Panic at the Disco, Vampire Weekend, Fall Out Boy, The Kooks, Hellogoodbye. The only ones in that list that I would listen to these days are probably Beach House and The Shins.

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

London double-decker bus driver.

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia or instruments at home ...

I’m a big fan of Casio’s keyboards and the random world of music to be discovered within them. I have around 9 of them that I bought on eBay for $50 or found in hard rubbish on the street. I get a little embarrassed sometimes when people come into my home studio and want to check out my ‘synths’ - nothing fancy there!

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be?

Mhhm tough choice!! So many people that I admire but I think being on a stage with them would make me feel very weird. Let’s say a massive late-night DJ disco set with Ratatat.

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include...)

Elizabeth - the wonderful world of nature. Sunfruits - Mushroom Kingdom. Perfume Genius - Set My Heart on Fire Immediately.

One piece of mainstream pop music, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . ‚Äč.

All I Want for Christmas is You. 100%.

The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

I’ve got an A2 sized plastic poster of Grimes’ Art Angels album release that I think I will most definitely put up in any future room of mine. Because it’s made from plastic it’s quite sturdy, holds its shape and doesn’t need a frame. I guess even more importantly I really love the album artwork.

haDavid Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where and doing what?

With my family and girlfriend on a tropical island that has white beaches, flamingos, pina coladas and tiny dogs. I would tan and not worry about skin cancer. I would delete my social media accounts and read nothing but literature. I would get bored after 3 months and relocate to a mountain retreat in the Swiss Alps. Then I’d miss my tan and connection to the world and re-activate my social media accounts and feel sorry for myself and my pending doom and how much time I had wasted not doing anything of relevance.

People often speak of certain instrumental pieces as “music for imaginary films”. Is there a piece of your music you could say would fit perfectly in THAT film?

We once got a review that compared our music to ‘if Wes Anderson recorded Beach House’s album devotion’. Wes Anderson movies are quite imaginary and whacky - I reckon a fair few of our songs fit in that category. The biggest compliment I received recently was someone telling me to keep doing weird stuff. Weird is a lot better than boring. 


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