MY detox and time away from Canadian music…
has lasted all but a few days. I have fallen off the wagon and diving right into the colourful and warm waters of Hill. I speak with the fantastic Edmonton songwriter about the local scene and how music came into her life. She talks about her new song, On Camera – and what it was like working with Caitlin Cronenberg on it. I get a real insight into her songwriting and creative process; what the future has in store and the music that inspires (Hill).
Hill has an album approaching so she discusses that and whether a U.K. stop-off is a possibility; how the rest of the year is looking – and those great local artists we need to affiliate our ears with!
Hi, Hill. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! It's been good: it's been full of music.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
I'm a Canadian writer, producer and multi-instrumentalist who loves Mexican beers and making dark, moody; intense Electronic music with thick vocals.
Talk to me about the song, On Camera. What is the song about and can you remember how it came together?
The song is about B.D.S.M., essentially.
I was in Toronto working with my buddy Mike Schlosser (my co-producer) and I was like: "Ok, I wanna go here. I wanna go this far. Are you uncomfortable?" (and he's not that type). He just makes sh*t work and gives the writer, space and helpful ideas.
I like that it ended up poetic and yet still conversational enough that, to me, it feels personal.
Its video was directed by Caitlin Cronenberg. How did you come to meet her and what was it like working on the video?
I met her through my manager at GLASSLOVES.
Caitlin is the kind of cool where she has no idea how much of a badass she is. She was so relaxed to work with and her little dude (her son) was there hanging with us. Some friends came by and brought their dog...it was easily the most relaxed, and yet, simultaneously productive set I've been on.
She's very open-minded and insanely talented.
PHOTO CREDIT: XoVideo
Was it as fun to shoot the video and who came up with the concept?
Arthouse and Caitlin came up with the details of the treatment. It was very fun and pretty quick. The treatment is meant to be a subtle nod to the lyric.
I believe you have an album due next year. Can you tell me anything about its songs and themes you explore?
Yes. It's an assortment of songs I've made over the last couple of years - because so much has changed in my life and taste and career that I've needed to re-evaluate my sound a lot. It's ended up being a lot more intimate and intense than it was originally bound to be, and I like that. Most of the content is very personal, actually: a lot of it came out of a bad breakup I experienced in the summer of 2016. I was a bit of a mess.
It turned out to be a real metamorphosis for me - dealing with it while being surrounded by very select co-creatives and songwriting my way to the other side.
Give It a Rest is the title-track and was picked up for rotation on KCRW (in Los Angeles). Was that quite humbling and does the fact your music is played on big stations give you a lot of drive and encouragement?
Yes! Chris at KCRW has been amazing. He is very responsive and supportive. That was very inspiring to me as an artist - who's in for the long-haul of building a career.
I believe you have experience as a top-line writer. How did you get into that side of music and is it something you enjoy?
My work as a top-line writer came about randomly, through a few people I didn't even know, passing my music around.
I do enjoy it and it has made me a much stronger writer in a very short time.
Edmonton, Canada is your base. What is the music scene like there and are there a lot of great new artists coming through?
I can't begin to express my love for the Edmonton music scene. It is so positive and inclusive. There is unbelievable talent in my hometown. I’m excited to be working with some of them.
PHOTO CREDIT: XoVideo
Can you tell me how music came into your life and was it a big part of your young life?
I began singing when I was eight and spent a lot of time in the small world of vocalists coming up in Edmonton. I later discovered the band-scene and then moved to Toronto for college where I really dug up what it meant for me to participate in a music scene - and what kind of role I wanted.
All my growth from the time I started has been through my peers.
Who were the artists that made the biggest impression when you were growing up?
That's hard to say because I mostly listened to top-40 radio. I just grew up singing along to the greats – Whitney (Houston) and Christina (Aguilera); Mariah (Carey) and Céline (Dion). I feel like I didn’t discover my personal musical taste until my last year in college.
I just absorbed everything.
What tour dates do you guys have coming up? Any plans on coming to the U.K.?
I would love to come to the U.K. as it's where most of my current favourite artists are out of (James Blake and FKA Twigs, for example).
How does the rest of 2017 look? How will you be spending the next few months?
I'm spending a lot of time Stateside and releasing one or two more singles in preparation for the album drop. I've got a show in my hometown (on Oct 6th) with Tei Shi, ggoolldd - and U.S. girls that I'm stoked for.
IN THIS PHOTO: Lyra Brown/PHOTO CREDIT: @meaghan.baxter
Who are new acts you recommend we check out?
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
This is a big question….ok.
1. James Blake - Overgrown
2. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
3. BANKS' London E.P.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Pay attention to two things: being great at your craft and being a good human. Do the work from a place of joy or passion - and be committed to making dope sh*t.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
So Am I - Ty Dolla $ign (ft. Damian Marley & Skrillex)
This is my jam right now.