We featured Hannah vs. The Many's "Muse" as our Song Of The Day back in November. With a new album, All Our Heroes Drank Here, coming out on Tuesday, we thought it might be time to get to know her a little better.
Describe your music for our readers who may not be familiar with you.
It's a musical theater take on punk. Or a punk take on musical theater. The cultural eras that I find most fascinating are the 1920s literary scene and the 1970s punk scene. Someday I will perfect the hybrid and emerge as a glam flapper.
Who are your musical influences and idols?
The first music I remember being introduced to was Hounds Of Love by Kate Bush (by my dad) and Different Light by the Bangles (by my mom). I spent my teens listening to a bizarre mix of Top 40 pop songs and Broadway flops. When I got into the indie music scene in college, I realized that bands like Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes and The Decemberists were writing rock songs that were as smart and weird as the musicals I loved most. Best of both worlds!
What was the first album, cassette, or CD you bought with your own money? Cassette: Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt. CD: I actually can't remember. It was either the original Broadway cast recording of something or a Matchbox 20 album, whichever is less embarrassing. The first vinyl I ever bought was an original copy of Court And Spark, which is still my favorite Joni Mitchell album.
Why Hannah vs. The Many?
Most singer/songwriters are called "name of person plus name of thing," which I thought was kind of limiting. Plus I enjoy the mental image of myself, armed for battle, preparing to fight off a horde of nameless enemies.
You played all the instruments on your debut album, Paper Kingdoms. What made you decide to have other musicians appear on All Our Heroes Drank Here?
Most of the songs on Paper Kingdoms were meant to sound very acoustic, but there are a couple that I conceived as full-blown rock songs that just didn't get to where I wanted them to go. Working with other people on All Our Heroes meant that the ballads could be ballads and the rock songs could be rock songs. You'd think working alone would give you more artistic freedom, but I found that collaborating gave me much more to work with.
One of my favorite songs on All Our Heroes Drank Here is "Muse." Who or what is your muse? Where do you find your inspiration?
"Muse" originally had a very different, much more positive set of lyrics. I kept changing them to be angrier and more biting as the Gentleman In Question became less and less... inspiring. A lot of my songs are inspired by relationships (my own and those of my friends), but I also draw a lot from movies and literature. I have several songs that are retellings of fairy tales/myths, and the closing track on All Our Heroes is named in honor of a secondary character from The Great Gatsby.
All Our Heroes Drank Here will be released on January 17th. What do you think your heroes drank?
Dorothy Parker drank whiskey and Edna Millay drank gin. Paul Westerberg seems to have been a whiskey and beer kind of guy. If I ever meet Stephen Sondheim I want to drink port with him. I think Kate Bush neither eats nor drinks, but subsists entirely on magic and whimsy.
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