Following a sell-out show at Wave Livehouse, Suzhou, last December, British alternative rock artist Hani has just released his debut album The Polar Route.
Hard at work on a follow-up LP, and preparing for more live dates in Eastern China, That’s Suzhou caught up with Hani at his studio downtown to pick his musical brain.
How was the London launch of The Polar Route?
I was dwelling so much on London and my home country while I was working on the record, so it was really exciting to play there again and see how the songs felt. The London shows were epic and so far people seem to be really positive and excited about the record, which is great.
Are you happy to be back in Suzhou?
Honestly, I can’t even describe how I feel whenever I’m back here. Deeply relaxed and excited about life and music. It brings out my creative side like nowhere else.
Do you think Suzhou influenced the record?
Without a doubt! I didn’t make any lyrical or musical references to Suzhou, so I made sure that it was featured prominently in the art design of the record. The songs somewhat float around a theme of peeling away self-doubt and becoming quietly confident, and it was life in Suzhou which inspired me to think that way. So to me the record very much feels like a product of Suzhou and London.
Photo courtesy of the promoter.
How do you write songs?
I rarely write by singing and playing guitar. I tend to do everything except that. I’ve always written film music and instrumental music so I tend to write songs in a similar way where it’s really the musical atmosphere which inspires lyrics and structure. But it’s always different. Sometimes it starts with guitar, sometimes piano, bass, even sometimes drums.
Any surprises for the upcoming show this week?
The show in Locke will be special as it always is. Locke is an epicentre of the Suzhou arts scene which I feel very connected to. There’s probably no place more homely for my band to perform so you can bet it will be a crazy epic night.
[Cover image courtesy of the band]