With only a few days left on her first solo tour with Lonely The Brave, Hannah Lou Clark sat down with The Verse at the cosy Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar.
Hey Hannah, how’s the tour been going?
It’s been really fun. Every night I think I’ve been getting into it more and more. This is my first solo tour, so it’s been kind of weird doing it totally on my own but definitely getting into it. It kind of feels like at this point, I’m actually enjoying getting up there. I don’t know, I feel a lot less nervous than when I started. So it’s kind of a shame that it’s almost over, but it’s been really good.
When you’re on stage on your own, you’re a lot more exposed I guess?
Yeah definitely. When I’m playing on my own I know how a song should sound but obviously people watching that don’t know that. So to have the band there and put that across is great and so it’s nice to have a bit of energy on stage whereas if it’s just me it’s a bit awkward.
You must be thinking, “Who do I turn to”?
Exactly, but there is something quite empowering. Yeah, I’m enjoying it.
So you’ve been on tour since the beginning of the month with Lonely The Brave, have you developed any pre show rituals or routines?
I suppose, actually. I’ve been listening to this song by a guy called Demi Roussos, a really old song. It’s called My Only Fascination. For some reason [I’ve been] putting it on and singing along to it, trying to get in the mood. I know it’s totally not the same music… yeah that’s kind of happened in the last week! I’m normally quite composed and then like an hour before the gig I’ll start freaking out a bit, but I’ve been finding out that dancing and being all stupid is kind of a good way dealing with it for me.
Do you ever look out to the crowd before and get freaked out by the amount of people?
I try not to but sometimes I see by accident and then that’s kind of nerve-wracking. But it’s actually quite nice to be able to play to a full room because obviously everyone’s there to see Lonely The Brave on the whole so it’s like a ready-made audience, which I’m really grateful for.
Their music is kind of different to yours, so do you feel that people don’t really vibe to yours or are they a bit more open?
It’s varied. I can definitely get the sense that some people are into it though some people clearly aren’t. That’s music. On the whole people have been really into it, I’ve had some nice comments. I think there’s a bit of a cross over with their fans.
Are you excited to be in Brighton?
Yeah I love Brighton! We went on the pier earlier and went on the ghost train, which was good. I think it’s the first time I’ve been to Brighton in a while where it’s not been rainy or windy. Though you have the sea breeze.
So you released the Silent Type EP last year, are you planning on releasing anything else or are you going to concentrate on doing more shows and festivals?
Well after this tour I’ve got a few random festivals and things coming up. I’m playing at The Great Escape here at the Old Market, a few other things and in the meantime I’m getting an EP together. That’s kind of written; it just needs to be recorded. Looking forward to having some new stuff up.
When it comes to writing your songs, how do you get inspired?
Um, I’m quite a situational kind of writer so I guess it’s inspired by people who are in my life and certain events and things. But I can go for like a month without writing anything and then something will just kind of spark. I’ve found that I can’t really force it. Usually it starts with lyrics in some way, some kind of phrase or something – the catalyst.
Who would you say is your biggest influence?
Probably, top three I would say… The Beatles, Nirvana and Polly Harvey.
So you’ve been travelling the country for a bit now, what would you say’s been your favourite place to visit so far?
York was a good gig. It’s a really cool town actually, lots of good architecture. And a good crowd as well, I felt like they were really into it. I’ve got family in Glasgow, so that was good and that was also a good show. Lonely The Brave had a good night as well, just a great crowd overall. They were really attentive during songs, which is quite weird. I don’t expect that because usually there’s a fair bit of chatter between songs. Everyone was really paying attention to the songs.
Being the only female act on tour, that must be quite interesting right?
It’s actually not as interesting as everyone makes it out to be. It’s mainly travelling in a van with quite a few terrible jokes, that’s it really.
If there was any place in the world or any venue that you could play where would it be?
I just want to play Glastonbury. I know it’s in this country but it’s a bit of a dream. Growing up, seeing it on TV and stuff. I’ve just always loved the idea of playing there; that would be incredible. On any stage, any stage will do.
Compared to last year, you’ve progressed with the venues you’ve been playing… they’re getting bigger and bigger, so fingers crossed in a few years we’ll see you at Glasto!
Yeah, and it’s quite nice being back here because I played here, probably my first or second show in this solo project was here maybe a year ago? It’s nice to come back as a part of a tour.
I was about to ask, you used to be in the side project Foe. What made you switch from using a band name to your own name?
Foe was always supposed to be like a solo project, but it was meant to be like an alter ego thing. And I just got to the point where I just didn’t want to do that anymore – it felt a bit forced. I just wanted to be myself. I don’t regret any of it because I had to do that in order to get to what I’m doing now.
This is for the university paper; did you go to university?
Not really. I went to Art College after sixth form but dropped out to work on my music. But I feel now that I need to learn something new, I might do an OU (Open University) course or something. It can get quite boring just concentrating on music; I need to do something else!
Thank you very much for taking the time to have a chat and we look forward to the show!
Interview by Sarah Vaz