REVIEW & INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY CURTIS LOCKHART
Hansmole’s latest release, “Endless Abundance EP”, is a four track EP that is sort of like spending a rainy day in Victoria; it's mellowed out, but uplifting and enjoyable. Hansmole, aka Hannah van Adrichem, conveys this feeling through her signature droning vocals, floating synth tracks and poppy bass lines. She utilizes more string instruments on this release, featuring ukulele leads on “Yeah (pt 2)” and gentle guitar chords strummed out on “Second Softest”. Her classic, spooky synth sounds appear throughout the entire EP, giving it an overall mellow, chilled-out atmosphere — a perfect EP for the rainy fall season.
HS: How did you come up with the songs on the Endless Abundance EP? What is your songwriting process like?
Hansmole: For those ones I was just trying to figure out how to write songs that weren’t desperately sad, because every other song I’ve ever made I’ve just been feeling really awful, and thats where the creativeness comes from. But then with these, it was just like an exercise in figuring out, in still having something to say, and just trying to figure out how to be re-creative in a different mental space. The songs are like, super fast and quick. They’re like demos, but more in that I worked on them a bit more to make them polished, but I’m not very attached to them compared to other songs of made. I don’t know if that means that I don’t like them or not.
HS: Yeah, (pt 2) seems pretty upbeat.
Hansmole: Yeah, there’s another song off of 'Comfort' that’s called Yeah, and the only lyrics are “did you fuck up,” and then me shouting “yeah,” and so Yeah (pt 2) is just me being like, “everything is just the opposite now, everything is just fine and great, and just yeah." It’s also just a funny song title.
HS: Will your new EP be put out on tape via Shake! Records or are what are you planning to do with it in terms of releasing it?
Hansmole: It’s just gonna be digital, for free download on bandcamp, probably. There’s a publicist right now who’s helping me disseminate it a bit more, so there’s gonna be an official release soon, but it’s just gonna be purely digital. The next thing I do probably won’t be through Shake!, I just plan to go a bit bigger next time around. But yeah, Madi from Shake! is like the best person ever, she’s super helpful.
HS: Your artwork, including your album covers, have a very unique style. Where do you find inspiration for this? How would describe your artwork?
Hansmole: Wow! I don’t have an answer for that. I’m doing concurrent degrees, I’m doing a BA in anthropology and a BFA in visual arts right now at UVIC, so I have the advantage of being in school and being immersed in visual art right now. Before going to school I was doing pretty out there, weird, figurative paintings using a pretty specific visual language that I made, and now I’m starting to branch out a bit more. But I don’t know how to describe my visual art at all. It’s more about creating something and documenting something, but I also just like things in how they look, and base my value on their aesthetic appeal. That's really frowned upon in art school, but I don’t really care.
HS: Sometimes it’s just nice to see something that just looks nice.
Hansmole: Yeah! Just appreciating something on a very superficial level, like design wise. Just immediate, satisfying, no thought put into it.
HS: In creating your music, do you follow the same sort of ideals? Do you apply the ideas in creating your art in the way you create your music?
Hansmole: Everything is pretty intuitive. I write songs just on guitar or ukelele, and they’re basically just shitty folk songs, and then in the process of bringing them into Ableton and producing them, they become more electronic, so it’s like very process based from one point to the next. The motivation is always to make something dense and interesting. I tried one time to replicate dubstep but I couldn’t figure it out, so it just became another song. It's like trying to figure out how to do things and not take myself too seriously even though the songs seem serious. It's kind of a hard thing to get away from.
HS: You’re a rather creative person not just in terms of music and art, but in the sense that you create physical crafts; for example, on your website, you’ve made home-made backpacks. Does this DIY aspect influence the production your music?
Hansmole: I just have this major desire to create finished products and just get the most immense satisfaction from making stuff. It’s the same motivation that drives the art, the music and craft that I do. It all comes from the same place, they’re all pretty intertwined. There’s some real parallels between my visual art and my music just in density of detail. I think they’re just different iterations of the same thing.
HS: Would you entertain creating your own merch items in this sort of sense?
Hansmole: Yes! I made a bunch of shirts and no one bought them, so that was kind of frustrating. Merch I think is very, very cool. I played a show with this band called Basic Nature and they made this cool bead bracelet (holds up her wrist to show bead bracelet). I just thought it was a very interesting and accessible, fun, cool merch idea, because they’re cheap and they’re cool, and you’re not declaring your tastes as much as wearing a t-shirt with a huge graphic. As a person who doesn’t like wearing clothes with logos, I get why people don’t buy band shirts, but the merch idea that I really wanna make is those holograph sunglasses that usually have weed-leafs on them. Instead of weed leafs they have Hans (on one lens) and mole (on the other lens). I think that’d be really funny. I’d have to have 3,000 made for them to do it, which would be cool. I cannot sell 3,000 sunglasses though, there’s no way!
HS: You could give them out with your tapes!
Hansmole: Yeah, or Halloween’s coming up. I could put them in goodie bags, hand them out to kids!
HS: Where does the name Hansmole come from? I assume part of it stems from your name, Hannah; is there a significance to this?
Hansmole: No. My friend Rod and I in high school had art class together and he pretty much just started calling me Hansmole. I think it's a joke on Hans Moleman from the Simpsons, and just a play on my name, and I thought it was a really gloopy nickname. I signed up for a Tumblr to post google art about 5 years ago and I needed a name to call it, so I just called it Hansmole. It just sort of became a pseudonym that way. Just deciding that it’s ridiculous and doesn’t mean anything, anything I produce will fit it. It’s not like a genre-specific stage name. Also, my full name is the worst possible stage name; no one can pronounce it and it’s really long.
HS: You’ve done live shows with a band in addition to your live shows as a solo artist. Do you have plans to continue with this?
Hansmole: That’s Hansmole Family Band. My first ever Hansmole show was at Good Party 2013, and so the following year, I enlisted my friends, Kyle and Justin, to cover my songs. They were playing them and made them sound totally different, and I was just drumming along to them. It’s something that we’ll do every year I think, and actually, for some reason, we’re playing on Troy’s CFUV radio show in November sometime — the basement closet sessions. It's funny because it’s just a joke what we do, but it’s something that we’ll do every year, as it’s a way to not get sick of the songs. The way I do live stuff on my own is very bottled because it’s just me and there’s only so much I can do, so it’s pretty much the same every time, except I just fuck up in a different way every time. So it’s just nice to approach the songs in a different way and to hear them differently, and probably for other people so they don’t get sick of the songs. I also vainly wanted to prove to people that I did know how to play instruments and that I wasn’t just a laptop musician, but I’m over that now.
HS: So now with your new EP coming out, what does the future look like for Hansmole?
Hansmole: Well, it’ll be nice to have four new songs to play live that I haven’t sung a thousand times. I’ve already started recording more songs. I just finished one yesterday. So probably just like another LP and I think I’ll release that through a label this time, like a proper record outfit, as I have the opportunity to do that and I think it’d be stupid not to. Maybe touring if I have money. It’s still just a fun thing that I do. It would be cool if it became sustainable but its just fun, and it’s impossible to fuck up on Ableton, so I might as well just release it. The future of me is just doing the same stuff and having fun doing it.
Catch Hansmole at the Copper Owl, November 17th!