INTERVIEW: Carlie Hanson

Later this year Wisconsin teenager Carlie Hanson will head to Australia for the first time to play some massive shows alongside viral favourite LAUV. The two are no strangers to success through streaming services and are really leading the way with the current re-modelling the music industry is going through. Her debut singles ‘Why Did You Lie’, ‘Only One’ and ‘Us’ introduced a strong understanding of who she wants to be as an artist. They were bold songs with real heart, vulnerability and slick production. Following in the footsteps of Noah Cyrus and Dua Lipa she is finding her feet as an artist and has created a bold first collection of tracks. ‘Junk’ will see the singer-songwriter following up her latest release ‘Back In My Arms’ with a couple more confessional based tracks that take her indie-pop sound to new heights. 

I recently chatted to Carlie Hanson about using a dismissal word like ‘Junk’ to title her debut EP, the double meanings behind songwriting and discussed her upcoming Australian tour with LAUV and what she’s expecting from her first time down under. Check out the chat HERE; 

TB: Your debut EP ‘Junk’ will be finally released on June 7. So what does the word ‘Junk’ represent to you because a lot of people would see that word as quite a dismissal word? 

CH: Yeah, that is apart of the reason why I wanted to name my EP ‘Junk’. It’s not something you would usually use to represent your project. I came up with that because of the songs that I worked on for the EP were stupid little things I quickly wrote down on my phone, notepad or recorded in my voice notes and they were all “junk” to me. I It was nothing that I thought would turn into what it has now but it has and it’s amazing. 

TB: Your music has this very raw and emotional layering to it, so what would you say is the most vulnerable moment on ‘Junk’?

CH: I think the last song on the track listing, ‘Hazel’ was the most honest and vulnerable I’ve been in a songwriting session. That song is very personal to me. It’s a real story about one of my friends back home in Wisconsin who was going through a rough patch in her life and was hanging out with all the wrong people and doing drugs and just lost her self a bit. I hadn’t really been in too many sessions before this so it was really hard for me to open up with the co-writer and producer but they were great and super understanding. I felt like they were the right ones to write this subject with as they just made me so comfortable. But yeah, that song is probably the one where I’m the most emotionally raw. 

TB: With songs like this, do you struggle with performing them live and breaking down those barriers?

CH: No, not really. I don’t really have any trouble when it comes to performing live because that is where I feel the most safe and secure. There is such an emotional connection there between me and the crowd that I never get nervous or scared. It’s super comfortable and cathartic. 

TB: What I love about music is that people can take away different meanings from what the songs personally mean to you. Your new single ‘Back In My Arms’ is quite a vibey little track about falling in love and being intoxicated by it. But I also picked up a vibe about getting a little complement and comfortable in a situation and not wanting to let that go. So do you ever think about double meanings whilst songwriting? 

CH: Yeah! I try to incorporate that a lot in my songs. I don’t know if you saw the music video for ‘Back In My Arms’ yet but that was exactly what I was thinking when I was creating that video. The song is about my first relationship with a girl but I didn’t want the music video to be about that at all because I like to throw people off and give the unexpected. I don’t think anyone thought it would be a video of me robbing an armoured truck to bail my dad out of jail. I wanted to go the total other way with it. So yeah, that’s definitely something I like to play around with. 

TB: Looking at the concept of being stuck in a continuous cycle and being a bit complement in general, do you find with your gruelling touring and creative schedule that you find this is a common situation for you in relationships and friendships. Or are you trying to be more self-aware? 

CH: I feel very secure right now. I’ve learnt so much about myself over the past couple of years through touring and releasing music. But also moving from Wisconsin and living with my parents, my sisters and my dogs to straight to California and living by myself in a studio apartment was a bit shift. I’ve become a lot more comfortable with myself and living in my own skin. I’ve had such a great year really finding myself and I’ve been in a really great place. 

TB: I’m so glad to hear that because California can be a CRAZY place!

CH: It really can be but I’m so lucky to have the best team around me. I feel like I’m in really good hands!

TB: The music video for the track is very cinematic and see’s you amongst this truck heist. It looks like it would’ve been quite a fun and gruelling shoot. So what was one of your favourite moments from that shoot?

CH: When the two little sisters turned up on the set they were so cute and I was so nervous because I didn’t want to scare them. They were so shy as they were seven and eleven years but we had so much fun. My favourite scene was the one where we were in the house or were in the truck blowing the money around and I’m sitting their lip synching with them, it was so much fun. OH, I also loved the scene where I was doing donuts in my dads car, that was wild!

TB: Since debuting in 2017 with ‘Why Did You Lie’ you’ve toured with the likes of Troye Sivan, Gnash and Yungblud. So from playing these shows and being able to test out new songs to a live crowd, what would you say is the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself as an artist? 

CH: I think what I’ve learnt about myself over the past year touring with them is confidence. I’m a lot more confident now than when I first started. My first show was May 18 last year and I remember being super nervous and practicing what I was going to say between songs. But then I got up there and the crowd was a lot closer to my face than I imagined and it was a lot to deal with. I was a little startled. But now I’m so fucking comfortable and can just say what I want. I could walk out in a towel, no, I could walk out naked on stage and I would be comfortable.

TB: Really though?! *laughs*

CH: *Laughs* Honestly I could! Let’s do it when I get to Australia. 

TB: First Australian show of the tour, “Hi guys, I’m naked and this is what a Carlie Hanson show is all about” *laughs* 

CH: Literally though! *Laughs*

TB: You started hustling in this industry at quite a young age, hoping to follow the footsteps as some of your idols. So how did you find peoples perception of you and did you struggle at any point to maintain that persistence to keep going?

CH: Since I was very young, I was singing. I was three years old and the first song I sang was ‘Survivor’ by Destiny’s Child. But then when I was at Elementary School I would call my mom when she was at work and be like “you need to come home quickly because I’m doing a talent show in the living room for everybody”. I was always trying to be the centre of attention. It’s something I’ve grown up with and always believed in. If someone told me “you’re not going to be able to do that, you’re just a small town girl from Wisconsin” it didn’t bother me as It was nothing I wasn’t able to envision. Justin Bieber was a huge inspiration to me because he was from the middle of nowhere in Canada and got found from doing covers on YouTube. I thought that was so cool as this young kid could do that himself. So I always believed this is what I was going to be doing. 

TB: You will be heading to Australia for the first time in November with LAUV. So what expectations or bucket list items do you have for Australia?

CH: I honestly don’t even know what to expect. The first thing I think of when I think about Australia is kangaroos so if I don’t see any kangaroos I’m probably never coming back *laughs*. I’m kidding! But I honestly don’t know what to expect from this trip. I’ve gotten a few dm’s recently about how excited people are for me to come so I’m just excited to see what it’s like. What should I expect, are you guys fucking wild down there?

TB: Well you are coming in Summer so it’s going to be very hot. And yeah look, Australian crowds can be pretty fucking wild, so you better prepare yourself and we’ll have to take you out clubbing while you’re here. 

CH: Oh yes please! I am ready! Let’s go!

Carlie Hanson’s debut EP ‘Junk’ is out June 7

Carlie Hanson Australian Tour Dates *

Friday 22 November – The Tivoli, Brisbane 

Saturday 23 November – Enmore Theatre, Sydney 

Sunday 24 November – Forum Theatre, Melbourne 

Tuesday 26 November – Astor Theatre, Perth

* Please note these shows are supporting LAUV

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