FEMMUSIC: I see White Sea is involved in this album. Whom else did you have come in? Whom were you most excited to work with?
BH: Yes Morgan (White Sea) did a beautiful, sort of orchestral, remix of the song Oh Anatolia. I felt like she made a film of the song and turned it back into a song again. It’s really lovely. Xander Singh (who I met when his band opened for a Submarines tour, and who went on to be in Passion Pit) remixed the song Before the Ice. I sort of freaked out when I heard his remix — it’s so creative, he totally took the thing apart and put it back together in this intricate, pretty way. I love it. And Arne (DJ Styrofoam) remixed the song Hey, really opened up the track and gave it this whole other modern life. So interesting to basically hear a song produced in a completely different way. I had written with Arne for one of his albums, and he did a beautiful remix for the Submarines some time ago.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
BH: Normally I really labor over a song, and it can take months to feel like the lyrics are in a good place. With this record, though, things moved much more quickly. I wrote a few of the songs in just one sitting, like I was telling a story from start to finish. It felt good to work that quickly for once. In general, I keep notebooks and write songs on just one or two pages without much rewriting. I don’t really journal, though I’m always telling myself I ought to. And I record lots of voice memos on my phone along the way.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the most impact on you and why?
BH: It’s impossible to choose just one! And it seems like your influences can change so much over time, or different aspects of what your musical heroes have done come into play in your own work at different times…. With this record, I thought a lot about Ricki Lee Jones’ first two albums, Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark, Van Morrison’s Astralweeks, though a lot of other influences came up once we got into the studio, as well. This song The Waters of March by Tom Jobim and Elis Regina was definitely an influence as I was writing this album, too (on songs like Safety Circle and This Heart). It sounds so simple, light, and is musically so great. This video of the two of them singing kills me, it’s so charming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBEesrdaRog
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
BH: I think it’s an incredibly tough business for anyone, really. At the moment, I can’t think of times when I knew I was being discriminated against for being female, aside from massive amounts of mansplaining when I first started out, especially on tour. I honestly haven’t noticed that as much in recent years, though, and I think that’s a sign of progress, with more women musicians and engineers being out there.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with and why?
BH: I’d love to make a new Submarines record. John, my co-Submarine, is also working on a solo record right now. Hopefully when we’ve both done our solo work we can get back to it. I’d also love to do more co-writing with people, and more remix collaborations.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
BH: I’m not sure this is in the cards, but, I would sincerely love it if more people decided to buy music again. That would change everything for the better in the simplest way I can imagine.