With three releases under their belt, Hallan are growing in stature. The Portsmouth based four-piece mix frank social commentary and deadpan humour with cavernous, angular riffs, producing tracks that are honest and unique. We had a chat with them about home, music and 2021 optimism.
For the sake of history – how did you meet and what was the motivation behind forming a band?
We all became mates through different stages in our lives such as school, college and being involved in the local scene. We started writing music together and the band naturally followed. The motivation initially was four mates eager to create, play and share our musical endeavours with the world, something which still stands.
You are based in Portsmouth – what kind of relationship do you have with the city? Does it play a role in shaping your music?
We’re proud of where we’re from, but we’ve always had an on and off relationship with the city. Writing with an honest observational influence, it’s hard to say that we are not influenced by our city. Everyday interactions and experiences we encounter shape our music.
How would you best describe Hallan to someone who has not heard of you before?
I’m not sure I could pin us down to a particular genre to describe us to someone, but music replete with honesty, humility and integrity is something we’d stand by.
Are there any standout influences that have helped define your sound?
We all have varying musical interests which we feel benefits our songwriting process, but we do share and enjoy some common influences.
How do you approach song writing?
In terms of songwriting, there is no real set approach. Conor will write a lot of Hallan material, which we all adapt and input on, with our own personal styles. Then sometimes songs can stem from an initial riff, melody or even concept. I think it’s important to be open to different methods of composition and styles.
Your lyrics are often observational, where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration for our songs usually stem from everyday life and experiences. From the people we meet and interact with to current world events, news and media. Sometimes being observational isn’t always being critical of what’s going on around us, but sometimes being critical of our own personal habits and choices.
You write and record in an 18th century fortification surrounded by a forest. Do you prefer to writing in an isolated setting?
Despite it being labelled as this 18th century fortification, it’s actually a well-equipped and brilliant local rehearsal space called Casemates. However, we’ve oddly somehow been drawn to these isolated spaces, previously rehearsing in a studio on farmland. I’m not sure these isolated settings have too much influence on our writing process, but having a great environment and creative space such as Casemates, definitely helps.
You’ve had airtime on major radio stations, Steve Lamacq likes you, you’ve supported Porridge Radio and Sports Team and even appeared on Made in Chelsea. What feels like your biggest achievement to date?
We’re very grateful for the support and opportunities we’ve had thus far, but I’m afraid nothing quite tops selling out a show in your hometown. It’s something about the passion of the local people and knowing you’ve played a part in bringing them all together. Something we hope to return to very soon.
What can we expect from you in 2021?
2021 is looking to be an exciting year for all things Hallan. With the fantastic support from our label Nice Swan and our management Brutalist, things seem to be shaping up nicely. We’re eager to get back to playing shows when restrictions allow and also show everyone what we’ve been working hard on since our last release. Keep your eyes peeled.