HURST'S FRONT WOMAN ANA VERIA
An uplifting interview, bringing one of those uncanny yet comforting senses upon me; a sense of knowing someone you've only just met. To me, that is what this interview radiates. Ana is a strong women finding her feet in the world and telling her journey in such a honest and open way. Go on, read this interview, you'll feel like you're having a chat with your best friend except this friend is the front woman in Sydney's alt-rock band HURST.
Hurst have been working hard since twenty-fourteen, most recently treating their audience to the “90s nostalgia-meets-pop grit sound” from their new EP 'Sadface'; a compilation of six infectious songs that were written, recorded and produced by the band! As Ana mentions in the interview "I know for me, I realised that I couldn’t just sit around waiting for other people to get somewhere and expect the opportunities to trickle down to me, we’d have to go out, knock down some doors and get them ourselves.”
SADFACE not only sounds damn good but comes with an extremely important message, read the interview below as Ana shares her life journey. Delving into her creative process, mental health, touring and featuring on the Triple J Unearthed FIERCE FRONTWOMEN.
Hey Ana, can you believe we are over half way through twenty-eighteen? How has it been treating you so far?
It has gone by super quick, and it’s a good thing. This has been our busiest and most creative season as a band so far with us continuously working between writing, recording, and creating different things to put out there. And it’s been really liberating being able to do it ourselves, so even with the mistakes and challenges of it all, it’s been great.
Can you share a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been described as both sane and insane at the same time. I’m incredibly transparent and honest to a fault. I’ve gotten tired of trying to impress people and prove myself to people and have grown to accept that I can’t please everyone, and that’s fine, so I’ll just do what I feel is right and be cool with that. I dunno what else to say… I’m five-foot-tall and really passionately love dogs.
When did you first start singing and playing guitar?
I’m one of those kids that grew up in church, and so music and singing has always been a massive part of my upbringing and identity. As a chubby teenager, songwriting helped me navigate a lot of the changes and complexities of adolescence, and escape a lot of the crap realities of my home life.
Fill us in on Hurst’s cool backstory?
We have pretty ordinary beginnings. We all met at Uni, played in a bunch of other bands before we came together and started writing. I know for me, I realised that I couldn’t just sit around waiting for other people to get somewhere and expect the opportunities to trickle down to me, we’d have to go out, knock down some doors and get them ourselves.
What fuels the four of you to create music?
Hurst started at a really good time for me in my late-teens, my personal life had kind of imploded and I was filled with so much anger and bitter resentment that I got to channel into the writing. But it got to a point where that kind of catharsis wasn’t enough and only fueled an unhealthy headspace. The boys have always told me that they’re in it to create music and have fun, so I’m evolving and have taken all that negative stuff that fueled negative music to create something that might start from there but treads on positive things. I love the boys because they never over think things, whereas, that’s all I do, so when we meet in the middle, it’s a really good, creative place to be in.
You have been working hard since twenty-fourteen and treated your audience to the “90s nostalgia-meets-pop grit sound” of songs like ‘Rattle Kids’ and most recent ‘Purple & Green’. What is the creative process behind producing a song?
Usually I fiddle around at home with my guitar for melodies and ideas, and try to create some solid skeletons of songs before I show the rest of the band. When we meet, we’ll flesh out these ideas and build on them. “Rattle Kids” and “Purple & Green” came together quite quickly, but when we’re struggling with a song, we’ll record what we’ve got and probably leave it for a week or longer before revisiting it with fresh ears. We try not to be too precious or attached to our ideas either, sometimes we write crap or average stuff, so we just keep working and creating until we create something we all enjoy and get on with.
Congrats on the new EP ‘sadface.’, which contains six infectious songs that were written, recorded and produced by the band?? Please delve into how this was accomplished!
Thank you! It’s been really wild. Before we decided to do this, I was totally against the idea of doing it all ourselves, I didn’t think we had the skills or ability to be able to pull it off well. But this decision has been so great for our band because it’s caused everyone to step it up and develop skills we didn’t know we had, so I’m so, so proud of what we’ve created and it’s only the beginning. It’s only gonna get better from here.
Our drummer Nick is kind of the mastermind behind getting everything recorded and mixed. We recorded drums in a huge thousand seater church on NSW’s Central Coast and the rest were recorded in our bedrooms and even my pantry.
The raw energy and powerful lyrics found on this EP delve into a deeper life meaning. How does it feel to be releasing ‘Sadness’ and sharing your own mental health and life journey with the world?
I have spent way too long trying to present myself a specific way out of fear of being misunderstood, misinterpreted and judged. I believe that life can be so much more than just existing and reacting to what happens to you, so it’s been incredibly comforting to have people reaching out to me online and at shows telling me their favourite songs of ours because they too have been through similar stuff and love that there’s somebody else out there that’s been through it and come out the other side.
You featured on the Triple J Unearthed feature segment FIERCE FRONTWOMEN; for those who missed it can you touch on what is it like being a female artist in the Australian music industry?
That was such an exciting surprise and I’m so happy to be included among other up and coming, amazing women in the Australian music scene that are killing it. It’s important to be authentic. I don’t really care about money or popularity any more, I’m in this to be honest and if people don’t like it because of the things I sing about, how I sing it, or use whatever kind of prejudice against me as a crutch, that’s on them. I’ll just be over here, being me.
The SADFACE tour has begun! Most memorable thing to happen on tour so far, and do you have any pre-gig rituals?
On our way to Melbourne we managed to scathe our way into a country town in desperate need for petrol, crossed train tracks and I swear we had travelled through a portal to the 1700s. I’m talking Wild West, one main road kind of town. After following signage to their local petrol station in the centre of town, we found that the petrol station wouldn’t be open until Monday morning at 9am. It was Saturday. We managed to make our way to another station on fumes. But we couldn’t believe that towns like this still existed.
What does the future have in store for you and the band?
We’re going to go straight back into writing, playing shows where we can, and gear up for our next release. Not sure yet if it will be another EP or potentially an LP… but we’ll see.