Sano Hill: Crafting Musical Narratives that Resonate with Life's Complexity and Beauty
Sano Hill © 2023
Today We Have The Pleasure To Have This Great Artist Here On Goathead!
GH: What inspired you to start writing music?
Sano Hill: Life. Well that and coming from a musical background - my mother is a traditional musician who continues to perform regularly. I grew up surrounded by music and it was perhaps inevitable that making music in some way would be part of my life. I started writing songs very early on (partly out of frustration of trying to cover other people's songs and failing!) but also because it seems the most natural and effective means of interpreting what was going on around me in my life.
GH: Can you tell us more about your experience performing live at gigs and what was the most memorable experience you had?
Sano Hill: So I've played gigs in the US and Ireland both solo and with bands. I spent a summer in Milwaukee at one point and played bars/coffee shops across the city and also a major Irish festival (Irish Fest) that's held in the city every August. I love performing my songs, particularly when I can do so to an audience who are receptive and interested in new original music (this is not always the case unfortunately!). There are few experiences more powerful and affecting than connecting with an audience in song, particularly when it is a song you wrote yourself. Trying to pick a memorable experience is difficult - there have been many down the years. Perhaps one recent that was special was earlier this year when I played some tracks to an audience in a fantastic live venue in Galway - Róisín Dubh - and the experience of hearing that audience joining in on new material I was in the process of preparing for release was extraordinary.
GH: How is your process of songwriting set around?
Sano Hill: My songs begin as melodies that I usually come up with on guitar - though I've begun to write recently on piano also. I could carry those melodies with me for days, weeks, or sometimes months before words eventually emerge to complement the melody - sometimes this can happen quite quickly; other times, it can take some time. I usually play through the melody repeatedly, and usually, words eventually take shape. I sometimes draw on poetry or literature for inspiration, as in 'The Climb,' which was influenced by the poetry of William Blake and includes some lines from a later unfinished work, The Everlasting Gospel. Other times I find inspiration from events in my life or in the lives of people close to me, or from world events - in reality, inspiration can come from anywhere and sometimes the strangest places - I have one (older) song that came from sitting up through the night one time watching "The Shopping Channel" - life is incredibly generous in providing potential material around us to draw on for inspiration for songs!
GH: What motivates you to create music and bring awareness to different situations through your songs?
Sano Hill: For me, music and songwriting are a form of therapy as they help me to interpret and deal with whatever is going on in my life. The process of creating a song can take some time much as working through life experiences can also take some time, but I've always found the process of songwriting and performing songs really helpful in that process.
GH: Can you tell us a little more about the process and inspiration for your new album 'If Not Now, When?'
Sano Hill: So the album has evolved over quite a period of time, with some songs taking different shapes at different points (on the bandcamp release of the album (available at sanohill.bandcamp.com) there are some bonus tracks that capture 3 songs at different stages of development). I suppose above all life experience, my own and those close to me, was the main inspiration and with time there was a maturing in understanding and perspective, whether as a singer-songwriter or in terms of my understanding of relationships I have had. The album charts both narratives, and tries to bring some coherence to aspects of life that don't necessarily follow clear or coherent paths. Music and songwriting to me have always been a means of making sense of what has been going in in my life and the album reflects that - some songs are from quite a few years ago, others much more recent, but they have all evolved over time, and I always had the idea that if I was going to release an album it would have to have an overall narrative and thematic coherence and hopefully I've achieved that here. Saying all that, I do hope that there is enough space and ambiguity in the songs that they provide the opportunity for listeners to bring their own life experience to what they hear, which is also very important to me.
GH: Could you share some insights into your next projects?
Sano Hill: As the album has just come out my focus has been entirely on that and getting the music out there and connecting with an audience. But in time I have plans for another album of songs that I've been working on and I'm also exploring some potential collaborations with artists in the New Artist Spotlight (NAS) community to which I contribute. And I'm working on putting together a tour at the moment with gig info to be confirmed shortly here.
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