WORDS BY ISABELLA ROSS
Hattie Oates has started 2021 off strong with her single Used to Be. This track picks up the pace with sun soaked memories of an unforgettable summer. Her soaring vocals are complimented by an ethereal production, Used to Be is an exciting introduction to Hattie’s latest project. Recently, I had a chat to Hattie about the track and what is on the cards for the rest of this year.
Isabella: I know you had a chat with our Editor here Tara last year, I am keen to check in and see where you are up to. Did you want to start off with your process of writing “Used to Be”?
Hattie: I wrote it when I came back from South Australia, which is actually where I am now. We go to a little place called Robe every year for summer. This is last year’s summer just before COVID hit. I had one of the best summers I have ever had, it’s kinda ironic that we didn’t know a couple months later we were about to go into lockdown. I came back and I wrote this song called Used to Be. I finished the holiday on such a little high and I knew I had to write a song about it and express how I wanted to go back to how it used to be which would be summer time with friends and family. This song really just poured out onto the paper quite quickly. It is probably one of the most personal songs I’ve written. Within releasing it I have been able to perform it down in Robe to those friends and family that make the song what it is. It’s personal being able to have that connection with the place, now sharing it with the world is pretty cool. The writing process was really quick but I did sit on it, it’s been a year or so from writing to release. When I went into the studio to record it was one of four songs during January (2021) and it was the one I knew exactly how I wanted it to sound. This one I had a very set idea that I was sure about.
I: The pre-chorus has some incredible energy, how did it feel to hear that produced sound for the first time?
H: Amazing, I definitely went in with that set idea of what I wanted. That pre-chorus was something writing wise I wanted to experiment with really quick lyrics. Almost but not quite rap, a rhythmic verse, so that pre-chorus came out and I am super happy with it. Now hearing it produced with all the cool instruments in behind it, built from ground zero writing it in my bedroom to now it fully produced is super cool. These four songs are all completely different and will be released throughout the year. I had the brief of driving music, one of them is a lower tempo but the rest are quite upbeat. This one is the perfect mix between sing along and groovy.
I: I am sure you are familiar here at Temporary Dreamer, we like to ask if your song were a colour what would it be?
H: I would definitely say blue because of the ocean. If you have a look at the single cover it is a self portrait and my head is a mix between ocean and sky with a bit of cloud and white water. It is all a bit weird and conceptual, blue definitely stands out in connection with the ocean and the place i wrote it about
I: Previously you have said you enjoy experimenting with a few different genres, are there any artists in particular you look to for inspiration for this.
H: I think it is always different for each group of songs. I say group of songs because I feel like I go through stages of intensely listening to some sort of genre. Maybe it could be a mix of genres but then I write a group of songs together and they all seem to draw on what I am listening to around that time. When I was writing Used to Be I was listening to a lot of Harry Styles new album and some indie rock with some more organic instruments. These days on the computer you can make any sound and build it up from ground zero. Amy Winehouse is always an inspiration for my music. I don’t think sticking to a genre as an artist is as important these days as it used to be because the music world is so single based. You could do a whole album of completely different genres and you would be picking a different audience for each track which I don’t think is a negative thing. A lot of artists are doing this now, if you look at Taylor Swift she started out as country, then she went really pop and then dark pop and now she has wrapped back around to her country roots.
I: Are there any Aussie artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?
H: I have no plans as such but I would love to work with so many different people. I love the Aussie artists at the moment; G Flip, Lime Cordiale those guys are so cool. Any of those triple j people would be amazing. I would love to do a song with a male artist I am just not sure who yet. I would love to produce a song with male vocals on the track, also to collaborate during the writing process would be amazing.
I: Can you share what your experience has been like getting back on stage after a year of lockdowns?
H: It was such a weird time being so separate from live performance because that is where it all begins. Now it is so close to being back to normal, it feels so good to be back at gigs where people can stand up in front of you. Even when people were sitting down I was surprised by the amount of engagement you could actually get from an audience. I think that was created when we were all isolated, now there is a new appreciation for what we have right now in front of us. Even when we did have to sit down the audiences at live gigs were just as enthusiastic as they were before if not more. Performing live is invigorating, it’s awesome. I have a couple of gigs down in Robe at Easter time and I am definitely going to be performing that song, this is my first chance to play it live now that it’s out, hopefully some people know the words.
I: That is so exciting! Do you have any more shows planned after this weekend?
H: Honesty I want to book up as much as I can, never say no to anything at the moment. I know in June/July I am looking at going up to Queensland and doing a bit around there, hopefully touching base in Brisbane. Obviously Sydney as well, trying to get those capital cities in the next 12 months would be amazing to get the momentum back especially with these singles going out.
I: I know you have been road tripping the past couple of days to get down to Robe, if I can put you on the spot for a moment I would love for you to curate a little road trip playlist for our readers.
H: Mum and I have been listening to a whole heap of different stuff on the way down here. One tradition we have is when we turn off the highway to Robe we always play Queen, we have done it my whole life. We start with Bohemian Rhapsody and play Queen until we get to the front door. I was actually also listening to a new artist from Melbourne, Mia Wray. We were shuffling some of the playlists I have been added to and found new artists that way. We also listened to Justin Bieber’s new album, I don’t usually go and listen to a whole album unless I am obsessed with an artist, but the whole album is amazing. Amy Winehouse is always on the playlist, and Ed Sheeran’s most recent song Afterglow.
Keep an eye out for the next three songs Hattie plans to release before the year is up. Used to Be is available for streaming now.