We all have dreams and things we want to accomplish and I’m forever interested in the journey people go on to deliver these to the world. For London based musician, Han Bloom, the release of her debut album was such a thing. Having trained as a classical pianist, this album, Higher State of Mind, now exists as an expression of her creativity, musical ability, and the things which move her to make art.
We caught up with the singer, songwriter, about the process behind her album, the lessons she’s learnt to get to this point, and the importance of enjoying the music.
Hi Han, thank you for chatting to us via the digital space… ah 2020!
First off, to people who haven’t heard your album, how would you describe it to them?
‘Alternative Fusion’! It’s pretty eclectic. I set out to complete the album as a solo project, so it was essentially an experiment. Bits of electronic, prog-rock, and dream pop, with a bit of jazz thrown in for good measure.
And… to people who haven’t met you, how would you describe you?
Eclectic and a little eccentric.
I’m always interested in people who have made all the steps to create something from a place of passion. I’d love to hear about your journey to this moment of album completion?!
I find social and cultural transitions really interesting. I am inspired by the peoples’ voice and making my musical contribution in this way! I think it is an important part of social transition to speak up and be as expressive as possible. Especially regarding my generation, the female cultural progression and striving to be original in my creative style.
So the inspiration to create this came, really, from a desire to voice the thoughts and feelings you had! Nice 🙂 Were there any moments where you felt it wouldn’t come together?
I had to record the instrumental parts of the album twice and the vocals 3 times. I did this experiment that I thought would be really ‘cutting edge’ at the time, where I recorded the vocals in a marble bathroom. Little did I know, when I came to mix that this created a world of problems and was completely unusable. Therefore, I had to learn from my rookie mistakes and be more orthodox in my recording techniques. I also set myself the challenge to learn how to mix, master and produce myself so there was a lot of trial and error involved. I got there in the end, but there are still things I would like to tweak or revisit at a later date. I would love to record the album with my live band and have more of a rock vibe in future, which at the time wasn’t a possibility.
“I also set myself the challenge to learn how to mix, master and produce myself so there was a lot of trial and error involved.”
Haha, well it sounds like a beautiful space to record, so I can understand the experiment. In general, what inspires you – both creatively and in life?
To elaborate on what I touched on a bit earlier: everything from slapstick comedy such as Monty Python and Spike Milligan, to J.S. Bach! I also am really into the Renaissance era and Philosophers such as Pythagoras and Rene Descartes. Painting is a big one too: Cubism, Surrealism and Dada are pretty high up there among my favourite 70s acts such as Led Zeppelin, Bowie and Zappa! Musically, I take inspiration from a lot of jazz pianists, some of which include Thelonious Monk and Oscar Peterson. Additionally, I really admire the charisma of female pioneers in music such as Edith Piaf, Maria Callas, Chaka Kahn, Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks!
Love that breadth! Agree that the world is rife with inspiration if your eyes are open to it.
Along your path so far, are there any nuggets of wisdom or quotes which have had a significant impact on your life and attitude?
Yes! “I drive a Rolls Royce, ‘cause it’s good for my voice”, Marc Bolan. Who both lived in my hometown, Putney, London and his shrine is on the same road as the hospital I was born.
“I think the humor, pizzazz and charisma of Bolan is AS important as the musical content.”
I think the humor, pizzazz and charisma of Bolan is AS important as the musical content. There is nothing worse than going to check out a band or act I am into at a festival and they spend the entire gig staring at their feet or taking themselves too seriously. A big part of music is about having fun! Which Bolan never fails to remind me of, when I feel I am getting too deep into my Rachmaninoff playing or listening session.
Haha, yes, if there’s a way you remember the context of your music, ie. you enjoy it, then perhaps you can relax into it more.
Han, if you could live a dream day, what would it involve? And please include the little details! (Mine involves hotels, croissants, DJing, men and pilates)
Haha ‘men’! That’s hilarious!
Hmmm, a dream day would most probably involve a wake and bake, followed by the beach on the Mediterranean, wine and lunch, bit of boutique shopping and a beach party in the evening. Can you tell I worship the sun? And men… who knows what’s going on there?!
My dream day is the only one in which I know! Han, thanks so much for chatting with us. Where can people reading check out your album?
They can listen on Spotify and Apple Music and they can follow me on socials @hanbloommusic