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Interviews, Music

Interview: Hannah Georgas on Crowdfunding, Collaborating, and Her Craft

By: Luke Ottenhof

“Shad is like one of my best friends,” says Hannah Georgas, laughing gently.

The Vancouver singer-songwriter has found no shortage of support in the Canadian music scene. Her most recent record, 2012’s self-titled release, earned her not only a spot on the Polaris Prize long list, but also two Juno Award nominations.

“It’s just another way to be positive about things and a way to kind of keep propelling my career,” Georgas says of the album’s kind reception. “It’s nice to get that recognition and know that people are enjoying it. I’m making music for everyone else, not just myself.”

For the album, the west coast musician enlisted the help of weathered Canadian staples like Wintersleep’s Loel Campbell and Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck, who produced the record. Walsh’s experience with electronics aligned with Georgas’ vision for the new material.

“I was experimenting with the stuff that I have in my studio with a lot of electronic elements, and I really wanted someone who could help me realize that,” Georgas explains. “Just from being a fan of his and then hearing through the grapevine that he is a producer as well, I just wanted to pick his brain and find out if he’d be interested in what I was doing.

“Luckily he was into it, and he was the one who helped me realize a lot of that stuff.”

Walsh played consigliere to Georgas’ Don Corleone throughout the process, expanding and weighting the skeletons Georgas had already structured.

“We started from the ground up,” Georgas recalls. “He and I just sat together in a room. I played the song on a guitar and he would just sit there and jam with me, so it happened quite organically.”

“We went and tracked drums and bass in this beautiful barn that [they gutted] into a studio, and we spent seven days there. The songs were there, me and guitar, then Graham and I just started building it.”

The lead single, “Robotic”, garnered praise for both its’ sonic arrangements and lyrical fidelity. The same inspiring breadth of honesty and insight that fuelled her earlier work comes out swinging.

“When I fall in love with music, I get really emotionally connected, and I hope that my listeners kind of have the same experience.”

Like most do, did she ever struggle with that vulnerability?

“Surprisingly, not at all. For me, music is such a personal thing. When I fall in love with music, I get really emotionally connected, and I hope that my listeners kind of have the same experience. It gets personal sometimes, but I feel the same thing when I’m listening to somebody. It’s more how I relate to it in my way. I make it personal for myself. I hope that my listener takes their situation and makes it personal for them.”

It seems to be the case that those things closest to heart and perhaps tough to discuss make for the most powerful and important music. Georgas shed some light on the matter.

“I like finding my inspiration in the stuff that maybe effects me in a negative way, but kind of also making it a positive thing,” she says. “I find all of that stuff that you go through in life, music, for me, makes it positive. It’s a way of kind of releasing that energy too.”

“I was influenced by the female singer-songwriter that was empowered and writing about things that were personal. Basically being honest, that’s what’s influenced me a lot. I just remember getting so inspired by that at a young age.”

“Enemies”, a track from the last album, is getting the music video makeover in the coming months, but rather thangoing through the usual numbers for creating the video, Georgas is opting for an increasingly popular option: crowd-funding.

Hannah Georgas’ new self-titled album features collaborations with Wintersleep’s Loel Campbell and Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck.

“I like the connection you can have with your fans and going straight to them to be a bit more involved in your process of making a music video,” she says. “In the campaign I’ve created, you’re able to have fans pledge toward certain things tocontribute to making your video.”

Based on the contribution, donors can win varying items, ranging from an unreleased acoustic EP to an in-house concert.

“They can get more out of it as opposed to me going in to make a video. It’s a way of connecting more closely with your fans, and getting a little more out of it.”

And you can count on the money being well spent, and not on some mish-mash of live-footage set to the track. Georgas’ music videos through the years have captured the same strength and vision as her music.

“It’s my art, so I put a lot of thought and heart into my craft. That’s all part of it for me; it’s not just the music. There are other ways you can be creative.”

With friends near and far in the Canadian music industry, Georgas tips her hat to her current favourite, Chad VanGaalen.

“I have all his records, and I’ve never been disappointed by anything,” she says. “His lyrics are so mind-blowing, everything about him is really amazing. He’s got a lot of electronic elements to his music as well, but it’s also still very songwriter-y in that it’s really kind of rough around the edges.”

“But there’s tons of Canadian music that I could go on about.”

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