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The Eighth Note: Harry Hodgman

‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.
We caught up with Harry Hodgman over the lockdown for a chat about his music.

Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
I’m the piano playing, singer-songwriting, motorcycle riding, queer renegade who’s biggest audience is usually my neighbours through immediate walls. I write for piano and voice mainly, and each song is usually mirroring a combination of whichever several other songwriters or styles I’m obsessing over at the time. I’d say my output is cinematic.

What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
I’ve finished writing my second songbook for piano + voice, Sadness & Horror, and finishing up the cover design. It has more happy numbers than the title foreshadows. And with being in iso, I’ve been forcing myself to make a new song every day – using electronic or digital methods only. The piano is getting a break for once.

Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
YouTube is my favourite because I think the instrument is as much of a component as I am, especially visually, so there you can see the hammers moving and me moulding the beast. So far, Spotify has only instrumentals – although they’re fascinating little ditties. My Website is the centre of it all.

What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
Funny, the first one that comes to mind is the Priscilla Queen of the Desert soundtrack. I loved its eccentric range and pure campiness, I was around 7 years old when I found that. Mum knew. Little Shop of Horrors – I always have wanted to sing the Audrey parts, and Alan Menken is incredible, he makes writing commercially successful music seem so easy. The third is late, but probably still my favourite album to date: Rufus Wainwright – All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu. It’s a one man opera, piano and a raw emotive voice going through a loss in the family and I think a pivotal point in his life. It’s so dark, I love it.

Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
Rhian Sheehan has been at the top of that list since I first saw him in 2013, he collaborates the ideal balance of music and visuals. I don’t know what I’d contribute but I’d at least stand in the corner crying.

What is your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
I played 3 shows in a row last May at Tuatara The Third Eye near the top of Cuba St with a bunch of other local artists. With my style of music, its not dancing music and it’s not background music. I like people to be comfortable, as intoxicated as they can be, and be there to listen and observe. Tuatara has the bar downstairs then the venue upstairs filled with retro couches so it’s ideal for people who are out to watch a scrawny white kid play sad songs with a touch of soul.

In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
I listen to a lot of truly varied music, to the point of obsession for a few weeks and I end up writing something how I describe it as painting with the same colours. Everything musically will be changed, but the essence of how I have related with the song is turned into a concentrate and explored. I personally hate repetition, so every song I write creates its own structure and vocabulary. Chromatic synethesia dictates whats allowed depending on the colouring of the song.

Where/when is your next gig?
I’ve had to cancel my gigs in Melbourne to come join the von Trapps for some family Iso. In April I played as part of Electric Peaks Corona Crooners on Instagram Live. And croon I did.

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