Having put aside his demons and tackled the dramas of recording an album that really didn’t go to plan, Paddy Hanna’s had a rocky road to his sophomore release, but he’s staring proudly over those roadblocks.
Castleknock native Paddy Hanna has been in a fair few bands in his time, but over the last few years, he’s been operating under his own moniker, drawing the crowds through the distinctive vocals of his leftfield indie-pop ditties.
A former core member of popular and borderline-defunct DIY collective Popical Island and frontman for one of their key acts, Grand Pocket Orchestra, Hanna released his debut album ‘Leafy Stiletto’ in 2014. Years later, his return with his latest ‘Frankly, I Mutate’ might be greatly delayed, but has already drawn the attention of the likes of NME and Stereogum through its early singles. His style is one of emotive vocals, gorgeous yet jarring instrumentals and slow-building, dramatic peaks.
It’s been a difficult road for Hanna, though, who’s never been afraid to speak his mind on the problems musicians face. “Things are totally different this time,” he tells us. “I’ve had line up changes and life changes. I’ve tackled some mental health issues; spent some time on finding things that work. I started working on this album when I went onto medication. I was looking at things with a new clarity.”
Things were to go a little haywire, though, with the recording process brutally interrupted, and the album release – originally planned for last year – heavily delayed. “I lost my manager half way through the two weeks in the studio,” Hanna recalls. “It was strange, as he’d introduced me to Daniel [Fox, the producer who was to be heavy influence on the album’s style], and really set this project in motion.”
“The wall of sound affect Daniel introduced is an essential element on the new album. It was our project, in many ways, but my old manager decided half way through that he didn’t want to carry on. It’s a funny one. You’ll hear it on the album. Half the tracks are me excited about being back in the studio, and have that feel to them. The other half are very different. After the manager left there was some drinking and some really wasted vocal takes. I guess the contrast is part of the mystique of it.”
Astonishingly, the studio was to close shortly after Hanna’s recording, too, meaning a number of tweaks to the record had to be done elsewhere, further complicating the process by the requirement for a new studio a fresh set up. Eventually, the seasoned performer – at something of a loose end – hooked up with Galway music legend and Roisin Dubh main man Gugai, who will release ‘Frankly, I Mutate’ on his Strange Brew label.