On her latest record, For Evelyn, Hannah Georgas battles late-night anxieties, treats a breakup as a learning experience and resolves to seize the day more often. It's an album that's built on self-reflection; despite the fear scattered throughout, on For Evelyn, Georgas sounds more self-assured than ever before.
"I feel like I'm constantly growing," Georgas tells Exclaim! "Even in this whole recording process, and as I continue to write and make music, I feel like I'm more mature, getting better and honing in on my craft. I'm already excited to go further."
The growth that Georgas mentions is very apparent in the record's sonic details. For Evelyn smoothly transitions between moody piano numbers and heady electronic drums and synths, while the previously unfamiliar sax sounds of opener "Rideback," which have a funky return on "Waste," are a very welcome addition to Georgas' ever-expanding sonic world.
"As time has gone on, I've become more specific about what I'm looking for [on an album]," explains Georgas. "I wrote everything for this record on keys, and in the past, I've written on guitar and maybe that dictates how things come out. I had a synth that I used specifically for this record that had really great piano sounds, and then I was experimenting around with different features I had on it."
Georgas also credits her bold sound to Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) who, after producing her self-titled 2012 record, was back at the helm.
"Graham is a big factor in where the songs go sonically. When we get together his influences come out and mine too. We experiment and things go from there. So I think that has also sculpted my sound."
After living in Vancouver for more than 10 years, Georgas recently moved to Toronto and is now much closer to her large extended family, who are a very important part of her life. For Evelyn is named after Georgas's 98-year-old grandmother, a woman she describes as an "inspiring and selfless lady," and on the lead single "Don't Go," we hear Georgas struggle with the realization that her mom won't be around forever. And this isn't the first time that Georgas has been inspired by her family — another song about her mom ("Ode to Mom") appeared on Hannah Georgas.
"No matter how hard you try, you are influenced by the way you are raised and I'm fascinated by that. I can't help but be influenced by my family," she says.
"I didn't initially go into making the recording thinking I was going to name it after [my grandmother]. It came to me at the end of the summer last year, and I thought it would be an interesting thing to acknowledge her. I was also thinking about how insane it is to live almost 100 years on this planet and experience all the changes that go on in our world and how I've seen her in my life and the influence she's had on me."
Throughout For Evelyn, we hear Georgas thinking about her family and herself, and grappling with her anxieties. But we also hear Georgas determined to face these anxieties because, as she explains, writing about her fears is a way she faces them.
"I know that when that stuff is happening to me, I'm aware of what's going on. Everything is a state of mind and you're in charge of your reality. I think it's important to be honest about it and I find that music, for me, is a way to get myself out of that too. I'm just fascinated by the fact that one moment I can feel so clear and strong and then the next day I feel like I'm nothing."
For Evelyn is out now via out now on Dine Alone Records. You can see her upcoming tour dates, which include some here in Canada, below.
06/20 Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall†
06/21 Providence, RI - Fete Music Hall†
06/22 New York, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg†
06/24 Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts†
06/25 Kitchener, ON - Centre in the Square
06/28 Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark†
06/29 Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall†
06/30 Madison, WI - High Noon†
07/02 Detroit, MI - Shelter†
07/09 Vancouver, BC - Khatsahlano Festival
01/27 Ottawa, ON - National Arts Centre (NAC)
† with Boy & Bear