Remember primary school piano lessons? Check out musical production duo HANNIE’s Instagram and you’re about to regret giving them up.
HANNIE is made up of pianist Hannah Koppenburg and guitarist Annie Wagstaff (see what they did there?), hailing from South Germany and Surrey respectively. Call it fresher’s week small talk or call it fate, they met on their first day of uni at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music.
Now based in East London, the pair have already released their own tracks “Cosmic Bound” and “Target”. Their latest is “Low Key”, out today, which features vocals by close friend Carys Selvey. The catchy, upbeat tune has a bright pop energy and carries off exactly what it was intended to do – “make people dance”.
We chatted about the first time they met, dropping “Low Key” and what they’ve got lined up next.
Hey Hannie, how are you?
Hey, we’re great thanks, loving the sun, just a bit upset England is actually coming home now…
What have you been up to this week?
We’ve had a couple of writing sessions getting new songs together, so excited to show you what’s coming. And we’ve just spent the past 2 days in Southampton getting our power boat licence. We both passed, keep out of the waters!
Going back to the beginning, how did you two meet?
We met on the first day of uni. We happened to sit next to each other in induction, then the next day we were put in some of the same classes and figured out we were the only girl instrumentalists on our course so ended up playing a lot together and becoming really good friends.
Was it “let’s make music together” at first sight?
Yes, though we didn’t immediately decide to make a project together. We just started jamming together straight away, and did a lot of practice together. We had our own little sight reading group where we met every week to play through jazz standards.
You guys play loads of instruments – how did you first get involved with that?
We both started when we were about 7, just having lessons from the get-go and never really stopped. We picked up other instruments along the way. Once you have solid knowledge of one instrument, some theory and good rhythm it’s a lot easier to start learning another instrument.
If you could pick one instrument that was your fave, what would it be?
Hannah: Piano, obviously.
Annie: Guitar, but I do think piano is such a beautiful instrument.
How have you grown since when you first started?
We’ve got a lot better at songwriting and production. We had always done production but when you’re put in a position where you need to get full song together and create nearly finished tracks it forces you to go beyond what you know and just get way better, learning as you go. We had never really done much songwriting before we started Hannie, we both grew up just practising our instruments and lyric writing wasn’t something we even really thought about. Now it’s what we do almost every day because that’s such a vital part of a song. Especially as we are really picky with what we want to get across in our music, it’s really important that it comes from us.
You’re about to release your new track “Low Key”. Can you tell us a bit about how it came into being?
We were in the studio with our friend Carys, who also sang on our first single “Cosmic Bound”. We went in not knowing what we were going to write about but just having a general vibe of the song. It started with the bass line and the chords and then we just started coming up with melodies. We nearly always find that the concept or lyric ideas come when the melodies are there and they naturally flow. We always have a bank of things we want to write about and say, so then we just draw from that. We actually had a few different versions of the chorus until we were recording the final vocal and we heard other lyrics, and changed it straight away and that’s what you hear in the song.
What’s the track about?
It’s about the beginning of a relationship where everything is super easy going and fun, but you’re actually really infatuated with the person. When they make you feel euphoric and like you want to go and do crazy things and you really want to know if it’s mutual, but you’re playing it cool and keeping it chilled. I mean, we’ve all been there…
This is leading up to your debut EP! What juicy exclusives can you tell us about it?
We’ve gone a bit sideways with genres, we played around a lot and have some really cool stuff for you guys. We’ve also written about things we didn’t necessarily think we’d write about, which was really fun to do. We’ve got new feature singers who are amazing and we’re so excited to share it all with you.
What can listeners expect to take away from the record?
We just hope that everyone gets good vibes from our music. We want to make people dance, have a good time and relate to what they’re hearing. You know when you hear a song and you’re like, yeah, I feel that too. We want that to happen when people hear our songs.
What else have you got planned for this year?
A lot – we’re most excited to get playing live. We are rehearsing the set at the moment and it is so much fun to play! There’s loads more songs coming for you and a music video too. Watch this space.