Existing outside the gaze of the major cities, Hannah Rose Kessler is a songwriter and bedroom producer based out of the coastal town of Ravenglass in Cumbria. Since first emerging back in 2017 with the grungy-folk styling of Not Your Little Girl, Hannah has gone on to explore everything from jazz to soft-rock and electronica, never settling into any particular musical box. Hannah’s latest offering is, My Theories On The Apocalypse, released last month on Reckless Yes.
Discussing the EP, Hannah has suggested My Theories On The Apocalypse is a collection of songs from various genres, brought together by a running theme of urgency, as Hannah explains, “the story of this EP is one of general dysfunction: whether that’s in society, an individual or in how we treat each other”. Throughout the record, Hannah floats between lush, melodic-pop and more aggressive industrial tones, setting up dark, troubling scenes, all the while leaving the listener to reach their own conclusion from the images they’re presented. An artist who surprises at every turn, Hannah Rose Kessler is finding a sound of her own, and it is one that’s intriguing and challenging in equal measures.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Hannah Rose Kessler?
Hannah Rose Kessler is a songwriter, guitarist, singer and fledgling bedroom producer, based in Ravenglass, Cumbria. They are heavily influenced by the natural world and seasonal shifts always happening in the landscape. Hannah’s hobbies include embroidery, acting, film making, writing, hiking, gardening and coffee drinking.
She writes songs about the intimate ponderings of her own mind, and plays with rhyme schemes, word play and song structures to tell a story.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
It was in Seaford. I was 14 at the time. There were about 6 late middle aged men, and I played my nylon string guitar, sat on a chair with no amplification. The manager of the pub gave me a box of Ferrero rochés and showed me the wall of famous artists that had played there. Beaming, she said “one day I’m sure we will be adding you to this wall.” I am probably not quite there yet, and maybe I never will get there , but I am at peace with whatever happens.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I do other art forms. As I said I’m very into theatre, film and needlework, but I do music as well because I find it easy to express myself that way. I struggle sometimes to talk to people because I have social anxiety, and feel like there’s often a wall blocking understanding between us. When I sing, I feel like everyone gets what I mean, and I don’t have this need to justify myself.
FTR: What can people expect from the Hannah Rose Kessler live show?
It depends how I’m feeling / the general vibe of the place. Sometimes I’ll just do acoustic renderings of my songs, sometimes I’ll use the backing tracks. I have been wondering how I should make my return to the live circuit post covid. I think my area goes more for sing-along type guitary things, so I’ll probably do a bit of that. I definitely suffer a bit from band envy, and if I had money I’d hire a backing band so I could perform my songs with the same level of oomph I want to.
FTR: What’s next for Hannah Rose Kessler?
I am working on my full length album, and it is very difficult, because I hold myself to very high standards. I’ve been sending bits and pieces to my friends, label and family, and feedback has been really good so far. It’s quite a leap in quality I think, and generally the level of songwriting I’ve been doing recently is pretty high. I am going for a sort of spooky vibe, to try and create a sense of what it feels like to live inside my anxious brain, on a bad day. It will hopefully straddle the line between uncomfortable and enjoyable and I really look forward to showing it publicly!
They Listen To…
St Vincent – Actor
I’ve adored this song since I first heard it. I love how it builds up, not following a traditional song structure, but exploding into an ecstatic crescendo. I guess that’s what I really respect about Annie Clark as a writer: She always brings this urgency into her music.
Sonic Youth – Pacific Coast Highway
This song is really awesome because it has attitude, depth and kind of sounds like those chaotic years when you’re hanging out with the wrong people.
Anna Calvi – Alpha
This is the song I wish I could write. The spoken verse, the dynamics, the almost operatic crescendo. It gives me the shivers.
Unloved – Sigh
Okay yes this is from killing eve and I fancy villanelle. I think its an unbelievably sexy song, in part due to the masterful amounts of space left in its production.
David Lynch + Karen O – Pinky’s Dream
The bass in this plus the whispered “hey pinky!” Is just so cool. It really scratches my ear itches.