Interview with Hannah Epperson

On September 16th Hannah Epperson released her album „Upsweep“. We talked with her while eating choco sticks about being officially homeless, the difference between being nice and being good and her favorite emoji.

SSP: First off, can you introduce yourself to our readers!
HE: Hi, my name is Hannah Epperson. I was born in Salt Lake City, grew up in Vancouver and I was living in New York City, until this tour started. Now I’m proud to say that I’m officially homeless. 
SSP: How would you describe your music in your own words? 
HE: That’s the hardest thing. So I think the influences I’ve used to shape the way I play violin are really divers. I grew up listening to Björk, Radiohead, System of a Down or Pentangel. I just have this limited instrument and I think it’s easy to qualify it as folk or classical because it’s an instrument which is usually used for those. The record, which I just released, has two sides. One of them is kind of an experimental pop sight. Others is a very stripped down, jazzy, neoclassical sight. I think that is sort of an articulation of these really divers influences. 
SSP: To me your sound is incredibly imaginative and vibrant. What is inspiring you for your sound and your songs? 
HE: I think honestly music comes from everything that’s not music. If that makes sense. I write music when I’m involved in so many other things. When I read literature, I’m walking in nature or having crazy conversations in a drinking night for like 8 hours until the sun comes up. Then I’m stimulated by my environment and these are the things that inspire my music. I feel like music is just the language that gives expression to all the other things in life. After a drinking night I just pick up an instrument because the song is there. Music isn’t separate. It’s the expression of all these things in life. 
SSP: Do you play any other instruments than violin? 
HE: I mean not officially. I’m officially homeless, but I’m not officially playing other instruments. If there is ever an instrument lying around, I play it. But it’s not fluent. Ich kann ein bisschen Deutsch sprechen, but I can’t have a conversation. But I can piece for a little bit together. 
SSP: Why did you name your album „Upsweep“?
HE: Upsweep is this unidentified sound that was detected by oceanic science. But this specific sound is declined. The sound is disappearing since the 90s. I really love this idea: no one knows where the fuck it came from and it’s gonna disappear before anyone knows. I think this such a great title for a catalogue of my own sounds because I don’t know where they came from. 
SSP: You’re born in Salt Lake City and raised in Vancouver. Are you American or Canadian? 
HE: Kind of both, I guess. From Salt Lake City I moved when I was 13. So I really don’t have any connections there anymore. There is something about the geography. I definitely miss the red rocks and the desert. But Vancouver, I don’t know – fuck Vancouver. Vancouver doesn’t feel like home anymore. A lot of people I love live there. But I’m really frustrated with that city. People from the West coast are so separated from the rest of the world. I mean Vancouver is too beautiful. I think there is the appearance of things being well and fine is more important than them actually being well and fine. I mean there is a difference between being nice and being good in this life. I know a lot of people who are really nice, but there aren’t good people. Vancouver is so nice, so pretty and everyone is doing yoga and eating green smoothies. But people don’t want to be bothered with any kind of compromise to make things better. 
SSP: But I guess that’s not the ‘thing’ from Vancouver. It’s pretty much the ‘thing’ from the western world. 
HE: Yes, I think Vancouver is really pronounced example. It’s really extreme. Or maybe it’s just because I’ve lived there and so I’m the most critical. I’m living in New York and it’s so fucking real there. Yeah, there are so many people of different kinds… I don’t know. It’s complicated. 
SSP: On Twitter you are posting articles about the issues going on in the US. To me seemed it to be that you’re focusing on the US. And what’s about Canada?
HE: I recently posted an article about the emptiness of Justin Trudeau. He’s like the super nice guy who dances at the Pride parade. And he made all of these statements that make people feel like “Oh, we are good”. But behind closed doors the actually policy is different. He is backing up things he said he is gonna do. The relationship with First Nations in Canada is so fucked up. I don’t think Canada is all nice and good. For me it’s hard to know where my community is. But I mean I’m an American citizen. There is a really scary election going on and I feel like a responsibility as an American Citizen traveling to be sort of a good diplomat. An artistic diplomat between that very fucked up country and everybody else just fucked up (laughing). There is shit going on everywhere. 

SSP: You’re officially homeless, but I guess your drummer Jason and the people you meet on tour are your community? 
HE: I’m so selective about the people who I wanna spend time with because I wanna be challenged intellectually and emotionally. This is also why it’s really important to care about the people I choose to work with. Because they are ones you’re in contact with. If you don’t have shared values – whether you’re on the business side or on the art side – then what’s the point? 
SSP: In one interview you’ve said – you love touring in Germany. Why is that? 
HE: The audiences are really good. They are quiet and respectful. In Germany they take care of the artists: you are fed and you are usually given a place to stay. In general, it’s an insane thing to go on tour. To drive to a fucking new city everyday and hope that somebody come out to hear you play. For that you have to be a little bit crazy. And it’s really exhausting. If you don’t have people who receive you, it doesn’t make any fucking sense to tour. 

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SSP: What’s the most annoying point about touring?
HE: I’m a really social person, but sometimes I need so much alone time and I don’t find it a lot on tour. Especially, because I’m the band leader. I feel constantly responsible making sure that everyone is feeling loved and taken care of. But sometimes I just want to crawl into a corner and have a cry and just sleep. I can’t really do that on tour, but that’s ok. (laughing)
SSP: You’re travelling so much. Do you know where you are right now? 
HE: (thinking) No. (laughing) Yeah. Münster. I also mean, this is another thing that is really nice on tour, is like revisiting places you played, promoters like I know Nicholas who had bring the show to Pension Schmidt twice. So and I went there, had a cafe and it is like being home. And that is a really nice feeling on tour, because it is all about this communities you built, relationships and you return. 
SSP: When did you start playing violin? 
HE: I was five when I started. 
SSP: Can you remember the first song you played on your violin?
HE: Nope. I mean, I probably learned “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and I think I did Suzuki when I was little because that is the one you have to learn.
SSP: Most famous contact in your mobile?
HE: For me it is Shane Koyczan. He is like this crazy spoken word poet and I did a Ted conference with him. I think he is really great. He is pretty well known actually all around the world. But in general fuck fame.  
SSP: What’s your favourite emoji? 
HE:😭 or 🕳
The crying face is the one I use the most. My favourite one is the black hole. Graphically it is horrible, but I think it is brilliant.
SSP: Who is your biggest fan?
HE: His name is Felix and he is a really sweet kid.
SSP: Last thing you doing before going to bed?
HE: (thinking) I have a really bad habit before going to bed. I am just falling deep into the hole of Twitter. Just reading all the apocalyptic news in the world, I think this is why I have only apocalyptic dreams. I should not do the Twitter thing, but I can’t go to bed without knowing. 
SSP: Going for a run or hanging on the sofa?
HE: Running. But actually the thing is… No, running.
SSP: Sneakers or high heels?
HE: Sneakers. No shoes actually. Zero shoes.
SSP: Are you singing in the shower?
HE: I whale in the shower. I don’t know if you can call it singing.
SSP:What kind of music are you listen to?
I mean, I’ve been listening to Death Grips a lot in the car. It’s like super, super heavy. Or Deerhoof. Do you know them?
SSP: Nope.
HE: I’m giving you some good stuff here. (laughing) 
SSP: Your favourite song?
HE: The first song that is coming to mind right now is … the song I listen to the most in the last days is Get Got by Death Grips.
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