The latest name to emerge from the frankly incredible Brooklyn music scene, h. pruz is the current moniker of singer-songwriter Hannah Pruzinsky, who recently shared their debut EP, again, there. Although largely written away from the city, whether spending time in the Carolinas, visiting their Pennsylvania hometown, or taking hiking excursions in upstate New York, the EP’s recording was altogether more confined. Working remotely with Asheville-based blog regular Colin Miller, Hannah recorded the EP in their New York apartment during the height of the Covid pandemic, which they spent working between two Brooklyn emergency rooms in their role as a medical practitioner. The result is a record of a city dweller with some well-earned country dirt under their fingernails, a confined bedroom existence spent dreaming of an escape.
While certainly not setting out to write on a specific theme, Hannah noticed when looking back on them that again, there, was a record of cycles, the ebb and flow of relationships, of self and of time. In particular, it seemed to touch on the theme of friendship, how those relationships build and fade as we make changes in our lives, in particular how their queerness affected some relationships more than others. The record opens with old car, nodding to the solo work of Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker, it’s a gorgeous blurring of fluttering guitars and Hannah’s delicate as spiders-web vocals, “it’s not aligned, this isn’t love so don’t you dare slow down”. Elsewhere the stunning trailhead is given an Iron & Wine-like quality by the combination of slow-moving guitar chords and slide-guitar twang, while what a long way i’ve come to be destroyed is a brutally straight talking track in the mould of Whitney Ballen, as Hannah sings, “moving fast can be our pick me up, fight me, fuck me, eviscerate our love”. A personal favourite comes with the penultimate track, meeting, its a smouldering slice of finger-picked folk, nodding to Vashti Bunyan or Devendra Banhart’s early lo-fi moments. Lyrically, the track seems to depict the act of returning home, heading back to the memories of what was, and the reality of what is, “Carolina can you call me? The way I sound in your lungs. Days are slow we’re always tired, from sharing too much”. Hannah has spoken of this as the record that takes them to the crossroads, a reflection on tearing themself away from repetitive cycles and finding a point with choices to make, whichever path h. pruz is heading down, the future looks golden.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is h.pruz?
h. pruz is the moniker I (Hannah Pruzinsky) go by in a solo exploration of songwriting. The name is an iteration of “pruz”, a name I’ve used in creative projects throughout my life. I make music in a few different contexts, mostly with my band sister., but having an outlet for some of my more personal writing felt important. I’ve wanted the music to read as worn and personal as finding someone else’s old diary and flipping through the pages, like listening to a voicemail on someone else’s answering machine. Little treasures.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
I’ve always played a lot of music growing up, singing in choirs or school productions. But one of the more notable moments for me was probably the first time I played an open mic night in my hometown when I was maybe 19. I played an Elton John song, and I could barely hold my fingers to the chord shapes (I’d just started to teach myself guitar at the time). But being able to sing in a quiet room (with other people in it) felt like this communal sort of magic. I remember afterwards some guy there suggested I try open D tuning, and I became addicted to singing and writing in it.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Music feels like the most intuitive art form for myself, and I guess specifically using my voice and creating different layers and sounds with it. i feel the most connected to myself when I’m singing or humming, it’s always felt like the way to unlock a lot of repressed memories and feelings in my life. So, in a lot of ways, it’s meant healing.
FTR: What can people expect from the h.pruz live show?
I think the full band shows we have coming up in December are going to be really special. I’ve only ever played these songs in a solo context or to my roommate or computer screen in my bedroom. Colin, who co-produced the EP, is gonna be playing in the band and bringing to life a lot of the dissonance and the chaos that you hear on the recordings… the two of us have also never played together in the same room. and just being able to structurally re-imagine the songs with other people – that’s probably what I miss the most when playing alone.
FTR: What’s next for h.pruz?
I’m in the process of recording my first album, a lot of which I wrote over this past summer. I plan on recording it all to tape, keeping things as true to their original form as possible. I’d also like to explore with more collaboration. A lot feels possible in this moment.
They Listen To…
Diane Cluck – Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Odd, dissonant harmonies are something I’m always drawn to, and I think few accomplish that the way Diane Cluck is able to. So much of her music influences me, but this song in particular feels relevant to the EP in its rawness, with the sounds of street cars and talking.
Yowler – Angel
“Black dog in my path” is an album I’m returning to a lot. the instrumentation sits in such a sweet pocket next to Maryn’s vocals, in a way I think is hard to accomplish often with a higher register. It’s far from saccharine and it feels so good to sit in.
Colin Miller – In The Dark
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Colin’s work at this point. “in the dark” was probably the first song of his that fully had me. I love pretty much every part of it.
herbal tea – Garden
I was listening to a lot of herbal tea when I was writing the ep. Helena’s songs feel like a hazy dream that I can’t fully remember but know was special.
Angel Olsen – You Are Song
This song & the entire “half way home” album (the Angel Olsen choice) speaks for itself. I am perpetually struck by it.