Airling (Hannah Shepherd) will hit the road this month to showcase her new album Hard to Sleep, Easy to Dream. Jodie Bellchambers chatted with Hannah about her passion for this album – two years in the making – on its 28 April release.
You’re kicking off your album tour in May after release of Hard To Sleep, Easy To Dream. You must be looking forward to showcasing your new work to your fans in particular your home town audience at the Black Bear Lodge in Brisbane?
I can’t wait, to be honest. We played an album launch party at a record store (Jet Black Cat Music) in Brissy last week, and the feeling I had while playing a bunch of these album songs live for the first time was unparalleled. Each city tends to have a different vibe at my shows so I’m excited about the gigs for different reasons. Obviously a bunch of my family and friends will be at the Brissy show so that’s always an amazing and supportive vibe. Also Brissy crowds tend to turn up the rowdiness for some reason so I can always expect a party vibe. I’m stoked because I’m playing my first ever headline shows in Adelaide and in Freemantle. I’ve been bursting to extend to lots of other places across Australia so this feels like some sweet big steps in the direction I want my music to go.
Your album has a 14 track song list, do you have a track on there you are most fond or proud of?
I’m ridiculously proud of the whole thing and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to have a favourite child! At the moment, my faves are probably Shut The Light Out and A Day In The Park. I’m not sure if this is because these are some of the more recently recorded ones or because their meanings are more relevant to me at the present time. But playing these ones live just feels so damn good and I can be emotive with so much honesty and ease.
You have mentioned in the past that you were once afraid of collaborating but enjoy it now, what or who helped you let go of that fear?
Tom Iansek and Graham Ritchie (my producers and main collaborators) are big inspirations for me. They’ve strengthened me as a person and a musician and they probably had the most to do with this. I’m also just more content and confident with myself and my musicality now. I still enjoy writing by myself the most, but I’ve recently done some incredible collabs and co-writing sessions that have shown me how much fun it can be to mix it up.
In the middle of the album, there is a beautiful and poignant moment with my track A Day In the Park which was written with Tom. It began unintentionally, when I walked in on him in the studio playing the piano riff. This makes me think that I should be delving more into co-writes in the future because the results on this album are just so beautiful, and were often happy accidents!
Your music and song writing is passionate, heartfelt and playful. Would you say that best describes who you are and where you are at on your creative journey?
Other people have often described me as those three things, yeah. I was an attention seeking kid and one of the naughty class clowns at school. I also tend to tap into my ‘feels’, other people’s pain and wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m just trying to be honest and true in my songwriting these days, while also trying to push my boundaries. My mind can sometimes play tricks on me, so understanding these tricks is important to me in order to be in control of myself when I need to be
Any chance you might come down to the Gold Coast soon to dazzle us with your beautiful melodies?
I would love to and hopefully that will happen soon! Burleigh Heads is my favourite place in the world, and I do a bit of my writing down the coast. I’ve played a bunch of gigs on the coast over the years with my music and other bands I’ve been in, like at The Loft, Soundlounge, Elsewhere, The Basement, and even performed at the Gold Coast Arts Centre when I was supporting Vance Joy. I’m definitely going to come perform there again soon, it’s just a matter of expenses for this tour and a bunch of places I wanted to visit have been missed out. But, I promise it will happen someday soon
Airling’s new album is out now and she kicks off her national tour on Friday 19 May in Adelaide before hitting Black Bear Lodge in Fortitude Valley 27 and 28 May.