Quick Questions with Hannah Peel

Ahead of her concert at Turner Sims on Sunday 24 September, multi-talented Northern Irish artist, composer, producer and broadcaster, Hannah Peel answers some Quick Questions…

TS: Which musicians inspired your early music career? How have they influenced the music you create?

HP: Growing up in Northern Ireland, my granddad was a conductor and organist, so there has always been a bond between classical music and traditional folk, until we moved to Yorkshire, and then I was immersed in brass band music! But like the phrase ‘we are a mosaic of everyone who came before us’ – I have a whole patchwork of influences and loves in music… Be it the lyrics and melodies of Joni Mitchell to Kraftwerk or Clusters electronic patterns, or the minimal orchestral influences of John Adams to loving the music of contemporary artists like Jon Hopkins and Suzanne Ciani, they all seem to seep into my own psyche.

TS: A lot of your music has been featured in TV and film, including Game of Thrones. How do you adapt your song writing to complement visual works?

HP: It’s more like an extension of what I already do really. My albums are full of different narratives and I knew I wanted to write music for visual media – it’s the one thing that gives me the shivers down the spine when it works together. It’s not an easy route to get into scoring for TV and film, so I decided to make an instrumental record called Mary Casio; Journey to Cassiopeia which came out in 2017 as a way to show I wasn’t just about the songs I was releasing. It’s been a journey but I’m so happy to be making both albums and soundtracks.

TS: How do you aim to inspire young female musicians wanting to pursue a career in the industry?

HP: By not stopping! Female artists were frequently pushed to the side, not credited properly and just not
given the wider recognition they deserved. I didn’t grow up with any female role models in music until
much later in life and so this album I’ll be performing Fir Wave is not only a nod to early electronic music
but more so to Delia Derbyshire who loved making sounds, soundtracks and exploring constantly. I find
her work so inspiring and wish she could have seen how much influence she has had on artists like myself.

TS: How did you go about the writing process for your album, Fir Wave?

HP: I was given permission to use the little known 1972 electronic album Electrosonic created by Delia
Derbyshire and members of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop (they had changed their names!). By using
sampler instruments, I was able to create my own new instruments from the record – some of which
I play live on stage via software. It’s quite mad to be playing around with sounds made 50 years previously – like time travelling in a sense.

When I had those sound palettes to work with, Fir Wave just made itself. I live by the coast and so it was
heavily influenced by the cycles and patterns of the sea and the everyday shifting landscapes I see from
my studio.

TS: What are you most looking forward to about performing at Turner Sims?

HP: I’ve hardly toured since 2018 and can’t wait to get out on the road again. It looks like a stunning venue and perfect for the lights and sound we are bringing – my first time visiting! Looking forward to saying hello.

Book your ticket to see Hannah Peel perform Fir Wave live on Sunday 24 September

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