It’s All Happening. Who, What, When, Where, Why? Ask a journalist who travels and strives to profile artists shaping the near future: Susan Hansen.
An unassuming friend of the gigging world is essential when the most thrilling composition / performance skills (and compelling back stories) in decades are currently a virtual secret to potential followers.
Susan is a regular attendee of “I Swear I Was There” moments where DIY music activism fuels our story. Professional, articulate and researched at all levels – from pre Mercury Wolf Alice, intimate Liam Gallagher / Slaves sessions, Later With Jools Holland and Bobby Gillespie/Suede in-stores to The Blinders’ secret Neighbourhood gig recently, Susan is alternative rock’s n.m.e. (noteable music expert). How did she get here?
TheZineUK: “Can you remember what made you wish to become a music journalist?”
Susan : “Being a writer is a dream I have had since I was a child. While I was still at school, I chose to do my work experience at a local newspaper, back in Denmark. It was great and made me realise that this was what I wanted to pursue.
My dream of becoming a music journalist came later. I would have been around nineteen when I did an internship at a Danish record label promoting new releases while still being at uni. I followed this up later by writing for a couple of fanzines and later doing work experience and freelance work at places such as NME and Uncut. I also did a postgraduate diploma in journalism.”
This has led to Susan recently covering Johnny Marr, Kurt Vile, Blossoms and FuturePicks, Fontaines D C, for Live4Ever plus interviewing Jaime Harding of Marion for another established new music site, It’s All Indie. The sky really is the limit when you’re this switched on. Good karma works. Especially in this era.
TheZineUK : “In the last few years, especially, has it felt that something is stirring at grass roots level? Particularly with regards to guitar music.”
Susan : “Yes I can only agree with what you are saying. I think a lot of people who love music are a bit tired of some things being super-corporate, vaguely bland and impersonal and I see it as a reaction to that. Reacting and creating things at grass roots level feels a lot more engaging, it is easier to play a part, influence, make an impact.”
Catching Pretty Vicious (who are on their next level roll) for an in depth interview for It’s All Indie as they stepped up at the end of 2017 was timely genius. Both band and author have made an impact. Fast forward to the end of 2018 and ‘Are You Entertained’ drops like a main stage rock bomb.
False Heads, also did an in depth interview late 2017. A pattern emerges where Susan is enticing experienced advice from the bands on the uprising front line. These interviews are not throw away meetings. She follows their developing tales. False Heads headlined Dingwalls in Spring 2018, supported QOTSA in Summer and toured UK/EU in Autumn rounding off with a BBC Introducing session for Winter. Bring on 2019.
Bands are at ease. The Pitchforks voiced many of our thoughts to her; “Guitar music is special. More than any other type of music it has the ability to grab you, slap you and take you away. It doesn’t matter what your mood is or what you think is important right now.”
Insightful reviews of The Cribs, Public Access TV and Morrissey – plus reports from key festivals – mix with interviews by Jack Jones (Trampolene), Life, Bryony Sier, Pulled Apart By Horses, Average Sex and The Velvet Hands (who went on to be a BBC Radio 1 Album Of The Week with their debut, ‘Party’s Over’).
Digging deeper to the foundations, conversationally, there are also industry focused articles on the hugely rated musician/producer, Steffan Pringle (Estrons), Mikey Jonns (This Feeling) and “The Wizard Of Wolverhampton”, producer, Gavin Monaghan at his famed Magic Garden Studios.
Susan is supportive of artists and part of their story. She also appears in the Autumn 2018 video for ‘Cause You Got Me‘ (the friendship anthem which surpassed a million streams in three months) with 2019 Ones To Watch, MOSES. Part of a busy year to remember.
TheZineUK : “2018 is a vintage year for British/Irish rock and roll. You have been in the thick of it talking to industry, established artists and up and coming talents alike. What have been some of your favourite moments?”
Susan : “Yes without a doubt, it really has been; vintage but fresh and new at the same time.
It’s hard to pick a few but I would probably say at grass roots level seeing bands such as The Blinders, No Hot Ashes, MOSES, Dirty Laces, Calva Louise, False Heads,Trampolene, Himalayas, Estrons, The Pitchforks and Boy Azooga (who won the Welsh Music Prize) gain exposure and do well is hugely fulfilling and they could not be more deserving.
Based on my conversations with those bands I definitely got the sense that they are made for great things – and have all the passion, talent, energy and drive to go all the way.”
In this spirit, Susan’s “Real Headliners” Reading Festival 2018 report was bold (and spot on – The Blinders’ debut album ‘Columbia‘ was BBC Radio 6 Music Album Of The Day five weeks later). Too right that there was a Susan Hansen article in MixMag as winter approached, too.
In the vein of story telling, Susan’s article on The Blinders and 6Music’s Chris Hawkins preceded their Columbia tour (which our editor, Dizzy Spell, was also part of, more on that to follow). This speaks volumes about how our various threads weave this tapestry. It felt like December’s Music People Party 2018 united many talents towards the above mentioned “2020 Vision”
Susan’s articles are a musical gateway to this surreal, beautiful escapism from what I sometimes think of as dark times. I’m grateful for her positive, realistic outlook.
TheZineUK : “A wave of co-collaborations between creators, performers and documentarians are engineering new possibilities of potential to the future. As somebody that knows promoters, photographers, labels and band members, do you have some hope? Even in austerity?”
Susan : “Austerity is a strong word isn’t? Is it not more a matter of things shifting? Although recorded music has been suffering for a while, the live music sector is more vibrant than ever and I think to some extent we need to go with the flow and continue to exploit that trend. Gerry Cinnamon is able to sell out large venues across the country without having a record deal, and I think that kind of shows where we are. There is definitely still hope and it is more than possible to be successful as a performing artist. Of course, ideally artists and bands would be selling loads of their recordings too, but then there is also the possibility of sync deals for bands. So I definitely remain optimistic!”
…and that is just one of many reasons why Susan is such a respected talent.
Twitteratti pls follow @susanhansen3
TheZineUK Events Dept. Love Pirate at Rocklands Artbeat / RocklandsTV. PR stands for Punk Rebel. Mad Old Bat (Deluxe) or Vintage Rock Chick? You decide.