‘I always think the most interesting melodies come from inside my lungs rather than what chords I play on guitar,’ says Hannah Rodgers, aka Pixx.
She’s chatting about how she forms her crisp electronic pop and cosmic torch songs, first rooted in folk and then dressed up in layers of undulating otherworldly soundscapes.
‘When I was much younger, I listened a lot to Joni Mitchell. I think what always enticed me to her music was the use of poetry and the beauty in her melodies. I think the ability I saw in her to create music that could be popular, but not anything like the popular music that was around at that time really struck me,’ she continues.
It’s this early influence, and her later appreciation of the likes of experimental noiseniks Broadcast and Stereolab, which led Hannah to her own kaleidoscopic sound.
Her debut album, The Age of Anxiety, landed earlier this summer, unleashing a torrent of outre pop and twitchy electronics, best sampled on killer track I Bow Down.
Based on the final poem of WH Auden, from which the album title is lifted, Hannah feels her way around the isolation of the internet age and loss of identity loss, washing away the tides of anxiety with luminous pop hooks.
Although its musings are rooted in the disquiet and distress of modern life, Hannah’s delivery is electric – aware, assured and infectious.
Did you have a plan or a template for the Pixx sound or did it come together organically?
It happened naturally, I’d never had access to the kind of equipment I did when I started producing with other people in their studios. It helped me to develop and experiment with my sound, which eventually led to what it is now. But it began as folk music, and still does to this day.
What have been your biggest inspirations and influences along the way?
When I was much younger, I listened a lot to Joni Mitchell. I think what always enticed me to her music was the use of poetry and the beauty in her melodies. I think the ability I saw in her to create music that could be popular, but not anything like the popular music that was around at that time really struck me. There’s artists like Vashti Bunyan, Karen Dalton, Anne Briggs and some I discovered more recently like Stereolab, Broadcast. These female influences definitely gave me confidence to look beyond the male dominance of the industry and do my own thing with pride.
How does your music come together? What’s the process?
Usually it begins in my bedroom. A melody will come into my head and then the lyrics follow. I use the guitar almost to build around what I’m doing with my voice, because I always think the most interesting melodies come from inside my lungs rather than what chords I play on guitar. Often when it gets to the studio, I end up remoulding the song, or building on it so much that it sounds almost unrecognisable. Girls and their toys and all.
Is it important to you that it’s a solo project, which you oversee from start to finish? Or are you open to getting others in to work with you?
I love collaborations. I have learnt so much from working with other people. Writing with someone else is such a deep and personal thing, something that changed my take on human relationships completely, and for the better.
How do you feel now The Age of Anxiety is out in the world?
Excited to release more music!
What’s your relationship to pop music?
There are certain songs, mostly from the past, that are not only forever going to be stuck in my head but also are saying something, be it political or romantic. And that’s a good pop song to me.
Do the charts still mean anything to you? Do you follow them?
No I find the charts tiresome. But am open to listen if something good happens in there again…
What’s your barometer for success these days?
Being a good and present force, towards myself and for others too.
What’s keeping you busy until the end of the year?
I’ve got some really good shows coming up, back into Europe for a little bit and UK stuff of course. Writing mostly. Although that never really stops.