Interview: Hannah Georgas

Hannah Georgas Photo by Tristan Casey
Hannah Georgas
Photo by Tristan Casey

Sometimes in life, you just need to try something else. Whether it’s deciding to not opt for your standard vegan no-foam chai macchiato, or taking a walk on the wild side and jaywalking, change is always in order. Hannah Georgas knows this better than anyone. After growing up in Newmarket, Ontario, the songstress flew to BC, where the Vancouver music scene adopted her as its own. Since then, Georgas has experimented with acoustics, electronica, the most upbeat melodies and the most sobering refrains. With this new arsenal, Georgas put together her self-titled album, producing hits like “Robotic,” “Shortie,” and “Enemies.” We gave Georgas a call to talk about her record, Ontario vs. BC, and the perfect music video.

LotusLand: Hey there! Who are you?

Hannah Georgas: My name is Hannah, I make music, and I’m from Vancouver. That’s me in a little nutshell, trying to answer a very big question.

LL: Your latest album–and the ones before it–have been smash hits. Is it strange getting all this exposure suddenly?

HG: It’s been a good. I feel really lucky, being able to do what I do and focus all my efforts on what I love: music. It’s been a really positive experience so far. It’s nice to hear you think they’ve all been hits!

LL: You’re from Vancouver, but you actually grew up on the east coast in Newmarket, Ontario. How does Vancouver stack up?

HG: I moved out to Vancouver six years ago, but I moved to BC from Ontario about ten years ago–it’s kinda insane to think about that now. I originally moved out to go to school in Victoria. I was testing the waters with that, but I really wanted to focus all my efforts on music. I changed up, moved to Vancouver, and found that I was really embraced by the Vancouver music scene at the time. I’m also in love with how beautiful it is. I like to be outside and go for runs and Vancouver is catered towards being active and all. I’ve made some really great friends out here too–it’s been a good place for me to be and start things out with my music career. But I’ve also kind of been contemplating Toronto for the last little while as well, just because I have a soft spot for that… I made this latest record out there and fell in love with it again. You never know.

LL: While you were over in Newmarket, you were in a band with Tim Oxford from the Arkells.

HG: Yes indeed!

LL: What was that like?

HG: It was awesome. I was 17 when I met Tim and he was 15, which was crazy. It was high school and I was figuring things out when I met him. I was playing in another band, and the guitar player introduced us. We jammed together and managed to get some really awesome connections. We ended up being the house band for the lacrosse team, and we were playing at the Air Canada centre once a month for a season. It was ridiculous to get all those opportunities when we were so young. We even had all this crazy “merch” stuff–all of that was my first…well, I don’t know…

LL: Rock and roll experience?

HG: Exactly! Rock and roll experience! The first taste of “Oh, actually, this is what could happen, these are the opportunities we could have!” But it was also a time when I was really young, we were all trying to figure out what we liked, and we all had really different tastes. I think for me it was a learning experience. It’s so awesome to think that after playing in that band, I left Ontario, went to school, and lost touch with Tim… and then 10 years later I’m going to a show to see this band called the Arkells, and I find out right there that he’s playing in that band. “WHAT? That’s crazy!” Since then we’ve connected and we touch base all the time now, it’s awesome.

LL: Any chance of a collaboration with the Arkells or Tim?

We haven’t talked about it, but I have so much respect for Tim and the gang–they’re sweethearts. I would never say no to it!

LL: On that subject, we’ve got a lot of talent in Vancouver here. If you could make a song or album with anyone, who would it be?

HG: If I could make an album with anyone, any band? What immediately pops into my brain is working with James Murphy from LCD soundsystem. I’ve wanted that for a long time, he’s on my wishlist. I love LCD and now listening to that Arcade Fire record…it’s just awesome. I’ve been saying this for a while too, but I’ve always wanted to do a song with Chad Vangaalen because I’m a big fan of his. I’ve also been super obsessed with the Frank Ocean record Channel Orange. Doing something with Frank is a dream because I have so much respect for his music. It’s so simple but also so heart wrenching and beautiful.

LL: A lot of your writing can shift between being very upbeat to being very emotional and heartfelt. What goes through your head when you’re writing?

HG: It varies, it depends. I find that a lot of what’s on the last record is just stuff that I’m experiencing at the time, personal stuff. If it’s not personal, then it’s affected me in some way–I’m trying to get it out in my writing, I suppose. I find that a lot of the time, I’m writing because–I don’t want to say “therapy,” but a way for me to release some things. That tends to be where the emotional stuff comes out. When I’m listening to music I get really excited about things, and I try to trigger that feeling, that energy.

LL: Your music videos, especially “Shortie” and “Thick Skin” both have kind of dark, abstract themes. Is there any surrealist inspiration in your music videos?

HG: For the music video stuff, I try to work with people that I’m really inspired by. The treatment for the Thick Skin video was put on the table. It wasn’t my idea but when that idea was put forward, something about it spoke to the actual song. I liked the really dark theme for the video too… I just try to find people who can make the video come to life. The way the videos have been happening so far, it comes naturally, or I’ve just started a thought and I talk to someone about it and it is set in motion. Music videos are still a really new thing for me. I’m getting better at it and finding more interesting ways to listen to music by seeing music.

LL: Is there anyone you have in mind for a music video?

HG: Good question. There are obviously videos that I really love, but I don’t know any of the directors.

LL: Do you have a favourite video?

HG: I love a lot of Smashing Pumpkin’s videos. “1979” is so gritty, it feels really simple and it ends up being perfect. “Ava Adore” as well! Besides Smashing Pumpkins, Chad VanGaalen has really unique animation and stuff in his videos. It’s really original, especially in comparison to a lot of the videos that you see–the majority of music videos are really bad. So when you come across Smashing Pumpkins’ stuff or Chad VanGaalen’s stuff it’s something you’ve never seen before.

LL: Most artists, when they start playing music, have a really, really bad band name. What’s the worst name you’ve had?

HG: I really didn’t love the name “Sister Satellite.” That’s the band me and Tim were in. We literally just sat together and were like “let’s take different words and put them together!” But its hard to think of things that are original, that have never been taken, but still evoke something that represents the music well. The first band name that we had was Turn it Around, or Turn Around–something really cheesy like that.

LL: Thanks Hannah! Well, that’s a wrap. Anything you want to say to the fans out there?

HG: Thanks for the support! I have a Pledge Music campaign happening right now for my song “Enemies.” If you want to check it out, I’ve got some cool stuff you can pledge towards!

***

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