Hanya are easily becoming the first cult success story born out of sleepy coastal town Poole, and for us we couldn’t be happier to say those words. The now four piece band have taken the ‘traditional’ route to success- from bedroom solo project- to 2 piece emotional outlet- to DIY hard graft- to tiny indie label (which they’re still fond of but outgrew)- to slightly bigger label and a small team around them. Having followed the groups work for many years we’ve seen all these steps as they unfolded, which honestly needed to happen. The band we see and hear now is that result of hard work and a journey of self development; Hanya are now producing the work that is ready for bigger stages. If Hanya become a well-known cult touring band they will become a band of idols- a band that prove that with hard work (both musically, but also behind the scenes- Heather is fiercely dedicated to promoting the band as best she can) success can happen without having to sign to the biggest record label as soon as you pen your first half decent song. For those feeling inspired by the above paragraph for summarise in brief, Hanya are a dream pop shoegaze four piece fronted by Heather’s stadium sized vocals.
Hi Heather, thanks for taking the time to chat to us ahead of your EP. The response to your recent work has been deservedly phenomenal, how are you and the rest of Hanya feeling right now?
Hey! Thanks for having us. We’ve been lucky to get a great response from our recent releases, we’re all pretty focused to get back into the studio and to get moving on the next record!
We’re led to believe the very earliest work of yours was just a bedroom project that never planned to leave those four walls, can you tell us about the early history of Hanya previously known as Post Heather and how you met your first collaborator Jack Watkins?
Jack and I met 10 years ago now. He was cycling to his job at Toys R Us in Bournemouth, and we bumped into each other.
We’ve been friends for so long, and this whole time I was writing music, but it was initially a very personal solo thing that never left small pub gigs in our hometown. We started playing together about 5 years ago just to test it out, I genuinely have no idea why it took so long, but we got there in the end!
First as a duo you became Post Heather before becoming Hanya and adding Benjamin Varnes on bass and lastly more recently Dylan Fanger stepped in on bass duties and Benjamin moved over to playing guitar along with you. What made you realise that you needed to add bass to your creations? And then later what brought about the choice to become a four piece with 2 guitar players?
Some bands know what they want from the very beginning, but if I’m honest, I’ve never known what sort of ‘sound’ we’d have. Our music tastes are so diverse, and so we’re more experimental. Over time we’ve played around with ideas, and ultimately as we’ve changed we realised we needed more people in, in order to give the live songs what they deserve. It reflects a growth in our musical ability I guess and knowing what we want the songs to end up feeling like.
As a band now does it feel a finished shape at four members and what are the thoughts on this from everyone? Have any other instruments been discussed or tried in practice rooms or the studio?
Oh, well that would be telling…
With this project having started as your bedroom work, we suspect your work began as something as solely the work of yourself, now as a four-piece band how does the song writing process work for Hanya?
I think we’re still figuring that out! Dylan wasn’t in the band when we recorded this EP, so we wrote it as a three-piece. It’s great having Ben involved as my theory is awful, but I can sing and strum an idea I have, then we can then flesh it out together. It’s a much quicker process to me recording everything and experimenting over it for weeks!
Latest single I’ll Do It Tomorrow and Dream Wife are taken from the forthcoming EP Seas Shoes, can you tell us more about why the EP is named Seas Shoes? And we wanted to explore where Hanya feel they fit in the world having grown up in coastal town Poole before choosing to move to coastal city Brighton and now choosing the EP title Seas Shoes; how do coastal landscapes shape the sound and vision on Hanya?
We’re all super close friends in HANYA. We’ve known each other collectively for at least five years, with three of us all from various coastal towns in Dorset. We’re never far from the sea in Brighton, and so it’s a natural part of our day to day lives.
We chose Sea Shoes because the pebbles at Brighton beach are a killer on the feet. On hot days here we spend most evenings on the beach, swimming in the sea as much as possible.
We’re desperate for more info, what else can you share with us about the Seas Shoes EP?
There are two tracks we’ve yet to unveil… it’s been really tricky choosing the ones to release as singles as they’re all so special to us for different reasons. Make sure you’re online on the 19th February is all I’ll say!
With an EP due for release this spring it feels like it will be an exciting year for Hanya, can you tell me about the rest of Hanya’s 2020 plans?
2020 has us heading stateside for this years New Colossus Festival in New York, as well as some great live shows we can’t say much about yet. As with everything creative, who knows what’s around the corner.