Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Hana Bryanne. Together we discussed being an emotional brunette, songwriting process, teeth, their latest single “Visions”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?
Thanks for having me, Mustard. I’m doing well! Currently coming at you from a train between San Francisco and LA.
2. Mustard wonders what your relationship with music was growing up?
There was always music in my house as a kid. My mom plays the piano and has a beautiful singing voice, and my sister and I both danced ballet since the time we could walk. My parents were always playing Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Patti Griffin and country radio when I was little. I started to develop my own tastes when I was 8 or 9, and got an iPod shuffle for Christmas.
3. You consider yourself an emotional brunette. Is this common among all human beings with brunette hair?
I do call myself an emotional brunette. I’ll confess, I’m not sure I even know exactly what it means, or maybe I just couldn’t explain it. It’s a calling. You either get it or you don’t. Emotionally, I’m a brunette.
4. Some humans get anxious or nervous about sharing their feelings. How does songwriting help you express yours?
I definitely find I can be vulnerable in my songs in a way I can’t elsewhere. What I like about songwriting is it feels like a distillation of a particular emotional moment, a vignette of all the things I was feeling at one time or another. Memory is so fallible, but songs last forever.
5. Is there a song or album that had a significant impact on you?
Too many to count. Most recently, probably Soul Journey by Gillian Welch. A cover of Look at Miss Ohio by Miranda Lambert played all the time on the country radio my dad and I listened to in the car, and then I completely forgot about that song until I was about sixteen and living in New York for the first time. Someone played on a bill with me at a show and covered that song, and it reignited something in me. I listened to that song on repeat, all summer long. I was miserable in New York, so Gillian’s words really held me. I have “I wanna do right/but not right now” tattooed on my shins.
6. Who or what influences you?
Lots of things. I love to read, personal essays especially. Joan Didion is one of my favorites. I love Bourdain, too. I think personal essays parallel my songwriting style more than any other kind of writing. A lot of my songs start as poems, but my favorite ones start as essays.
7. What is your songwriting process?
Like I said, a lot of my songs start as poems. Often, I’ll have a melodic idea and kind of mutter it into my voice memos wherever I am (the grocery store, the shower, the car). Then they really come to fruition when I get the chance to sit down with my guitar on my floor. Tears are often involved.
8. You’re based in Los Angeles. How does the city of angels help influence your work? Do you have a favorite spot in Los Angeles?
I haven’t lived here long, so I don’t think I’ve written my “LA album” yet. In terms of favorite spots, I adore spending time by the LA river. Love the beach. Bar Moruno has great Spanish food. The Ruby Fruit is an excellent lesbian wine bar. There’s so many good places.
9. You have a tattoo of a tooth. What do you teeth symbolize to you? Would you recommend all humans floss and brush?
I do have a tooth tattoo!! Teeth are featured heavily in the visuals of my first project. I think they symbolize getting older — losing your baby teeth, etc. I also like how kind of weird and off-putting they are. I would recommend good oral hygiene. You only get one set of teeth! I’ve never had a cavity (exclusive Hana Bryanne fact to be debuted on Music Shelf).
10. According to your Substack you are the only living girl on the internet. How did you achieve this?
Blood, sweat, and tears.
11. 2020 saw the release of your EP “Holy Ground.” Could you share what it was like to put this EP together?
I started writing Holy Ground when I was sixteen. I was writing about a lot of experiences I hadn’t had yet, but I had all the feelings. Even though a lot of the stuff I say in the lyrics didn’t actually happen, it still feels true. I think that’s what being 16/17 is about. The stakes feel so high all the time. I produced it with BT Gibbs at Tool Shed Studios in Morgan Hill, CA. We worked on a lot of it remotely over the course of 2020. It was a very weird process creatively because of the context of the pandemic, and was super formative for me as a person and an artist. I’m really grateful to BT for giving me a shot, and seeing something in me I’m not even sure I was convinced of.
12. Mustard wonders what you consider holy ground?
Some of my holiest spots are the house I was raised in, my uncles’ cabin in the mountains of Idaho, and most of central California. Oh, and Future Music in Highland Park. They’ve done such great work on my guitars when I really needed it.
13. What are some examples of favors that you’ve come across in your life? Do humans actually follow through with an IOU?
Most of being a broke young person, especially as an artist living in an expensive city like LA, is just constantly doing favors for your friends and knowing when you’re in a bind next, they’ll help you out. I have such a great community here in LA, which I’m so grateful for.
14. You released “Klepto” on your birthday. When did you decide to release this song on your birthday? Could you share more about this release?
It’s both my birthday and BT Gibbs’, who produced! A super fun coincidence. That song first got some attention online, which was a crazy experience for me. Really grateful for the community of people who found me through that song, and especially for those who have stuck around even as I kind of pivot away from that sound/online presence.
15. If you could steal one thing without getting caught what would it be and why?
Definitely the medical debt records of everyone in the US. That, or student loans.
16. You recently released “Visions.” which is about loneliness and forgiveness. What was the inspiration behind this single?
Visions is about being in love with somebody who’s not very nice to you. It’s also about feeling like a bull in the china shop of the hearts of the people you love, feeling like your mental illness makes you unlovable. Loneliness from self-isolation is a particularly potent drug. It’s also about how a New York winter SLAUGHTERED me. I’m from California! I’m very sensitive.
17. What is next for Hana Bryanne?
I’ve got more music coming really soon, and a bunch of west coast shows this summer. I’m opening for Eliza McLamb in Portland and Vancouver, as well as playing Capitol Hill Block Party, all in July. Got a few San Francisco shows coming up too (details to come).
18. Where can readers listen to your music?
Anywhere you stream! Spotify, Apple Music, etc etc.
You can find more about Hanna Bryanne at her socials here.