RIOT Introducing: King Hannah

We spoke to Liverpool duo King Hannah on the eve of their debut album, I’m Not Sorry, I was Just Being Me, which dropped last week via City Slang.

From vocalist Hannah Merrick’s swaggered croon on album opener ‘A Well-Made Woman’, to the LP’s slow-build closer ‘It’s You and Me, Kid’, this is a debut that pools resources from a range of well-loved sources. Whispers of Mazzy Star’s understated production and Sharon Van Etten’s powerhouse songwriting both bring positive contributions to the collection – set to rolling percussions which verge on the hypnotic.

Sharing a label with artists including Caribou and White Denim, it’s no wonder that King Hannah have excelled in merging a range of sounds to create an album which is both sonically captivating and – on the surface – wholly digestible. 

We love the debut album, what can you tell us about the songs that are on the finished LP?

Hannah & Craig: We’re really proud of them. There’s a few on there about childhood and the memories that we have from those few years, that eventually leave you. The album title is a song from the album too, that we both sing on. It’s one of our favourites and is basically us listing the things that we are not sorry for, that normally one might be a little too embarrassed to admit. We’ve tried to keep this album as honest and raw and as DIY sounding as possible too, so nothing’s too layered or overly-produced. Lyrically honest too, you can hear the whole story.

The self-directed video for ‘Big Big Baby’ perfectly matches the song’s creeping delivery, does Craig have experience in directing prior to his video work with the band? Have/would you consider directing for other acts?

Craig: Thank you so much! No I don’t have any previous experience in directing or making any kind of videos, but I’ve always been interested in it, and so when we needed a music video for Creme Brûlée I decided to jump in at the deep end. We just hired a camera and shot some stuff and hoped that it wouldn’t look completely amateur and awful when I edited it, and hopefully it doesn’t, or at least that’s part of the charm. I’m not sure about directing someone else’s music video, I don’t think I’m confident enough in my ability to do it. I like doing it for us because I get to use the videos as a way of drawing more out of the music, it’s almost like an extra layer of emotion or something, you can use visuals and texture and all those things to really tie the music and imagery together. I’d love to make short films one day.

How do you split responsibilities within the duo?

Hannah & Craig: There are honestly too many responsibilities to mention, so we just cross our fingers and hope for the best haha. We’re pretty good at juggling everything though and totally support each other in everything we do.

How did King Hannah come to be?

Craig: I went to see my mate play at a University showcase way, way back. The music that night was absolutely terrible, but Hannah got up and sang one of her own songs (which I can still remember now) on an acoustic guitar and completely blew me away. Her voice was insanely good. Years later I started working in a bar, and on my first shift, Hannah was the person assigned to teach me the ropes, really boring things like how to lay cutlery. I instantly recognised her and we got chatting!

Hannah: I was looking for a guitarist at the time so the timing was perfect. I would go around to Craig’s flat before night shifts and show him a song that I was currently working on and Craig would play his guitar around it. We were both incredibly nervous playing in front of each other for the first time, but looking back, this process was necessary and a huge part of where we’re at now. Patience is everything!!

You’ve confirmed a huge stack of European shows, will we be able to catch you at any UK festivals in 2022?

Hannah & Craig: Hopefully!! We’re in the process of confirming a few, but fingers-crossed!!


photo credit: Katie Silvester
I’m Not Sorry, I Was Just Being Me is out now via City Slang

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Matt Ganfield

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