Hana Oceans Photo
Photo: Fabian Rosenberg

Interview: Hana Oceans

Hana Oceans released the track “111 the Owl”, the harbinger of her upcoming EP. While listening to this track, we find the spirituality of Hana Oceans, who blends acoustic and electronic resonance, both soundly and with her lyrics. Oceans talks about topics such as endurance, night vision, witchcraft, and grace in a symbolist language. We talked to Hana about her sound universe, her inspirations, and her upcoming EP “Austers”.

– Hi Hana, thank you for the interview! I don’t know if you know it but our followers love you! You are one of the all-time favorite artists of our followers since Nordik Simit started. Let’s start with a classic one 🙂 How are you feeling these days? How is quarantine life working for you? 

Hana: Aww butterflies in my belly from hearing this! Thank you Nordik Simit and all lovely listeners/readers for the warm welcome. 🙂 I’ve had a lot of dreams lately where I am just to depart with a boat, but once I’m onboard I discover I have forgotten my luggage. It pretty much sums up how I feel about life at the moment. The symbolism is that I’m about to take off for a great adventure but all the changes happening within and around me are happening so fast that I barely get a chance to integrate. Some days I feel there is so much change happening that I want it to stop for a moment. Then I remember that change is the only thing that is constant and I connect with what is in front of me. 

– You studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, additionally you studied comparative religion. How do you combine these majors in the context of music? Did studying at Berklee affect your artist persona or how did it affect you?

Hana: I have a feeling that these two majors are more intertwined than one might think. At the same time, studying comparative religion is studying the politics and dogma behind religion and I want none of that in my music. However, learning about the art and philosophy connected to different religions is mind-blowing. The mysticism connected to different religions has impacted my own relationship to music. Studying at Berklee didn’t affect my persona per se but it did support me being brave enough to step into my power and to explore more. I got so many great tools to express myself more freely musically at Berklee. Before Berklee, I had no formal schooling. I’m not saying artists and musicians need formal schooling at all but for me, it was an important step on my personal journey. 

– As written in your artist biography, you are inspired by symbolism, mysticism, and nature which are indeed the elements we immediately feel while we are listening to your songs. In this respect, how did Sweden’s nature have an impact on your songwriting? How would you define your songwriting process?

Hana: My songwriting process often starts with an emotion or an insight. Then I spend a lot of time with this emotion or insight, writing about it, feeling it through my body, painting it, or contemplating over it during a period of time. After some time it takes shape and I put a melody to it. All nature I have encountered has brought me different kinds of inspiration. Sweden’s nature in particular is very incused by its different seasons and therefore impacts the songwriting in the very same way. 

– You spent the summer of 2019 in a cabin on the island of Fårö. Could you elaborate on this experience? Swedish filmmaker, Ingmar Bergman has also spent so much time in Fårö where is actually the place he firstly came with skepticism. Later on, he filmed six feature films there. Would you say that Fårö has that inspirational source?

Hana: Yes, this experience was everything to me. Living in a cabin alone in nature on Fårö not only healed my insomnia and somewhat shattered my nervous system, but it also gave me tons of insights and inspiration to write music again. I felt I found home on this island and therefore understand why Bergman did too… Fårö has magic that has inspired so much art and will continue to do so. 

– Talking about inspirations, do you think that the beautiful nature of Sweden influences your music? If yes, how so? Is there a specific place that you can say, has influenced you over a song?

Hana: Fårö! The whole EP is partly written and recorded in nature on Fårö. “Austers” which is the name on the EP, refers to the name of the area where my cabin was located. I know it will sound like some kind of tourist information but the whole island exists of barren landscapes with low trees whipped by the wind and rauk fields which are limestones shaped by the ocean for millions of years. Something that can shape stones can shape lives… The ancient wisdom of the nature of the island spoke to every cell in me as I wrote the EP. 

– You released your debut EP “Dust” in 2016, then, released a single called “Oceans of Love” in 2017. It has been four years since you did not release music. How does it feel to release new music after a considerably long time? What made you wait? 

Hana: Releasing music again at first felt like I was a deer skid on slippery ice. But once I had faced my fears making music again I started to flow into the joy of it. The reason I have waited to release music for so many years because that is the time it took to heal from fatigue and depression. I needed the time to rewire how I was relating to life and myself in order to heal. However, losing yourself can be a beautiful thing. 

– We are so excited about your upcoming EP! Could you give us some clues about the new EP “Austers”? How does it differ from previous releases? (By the way, we really loved “111 the Owl” & “Animals!” listening to them on loop!)

Thank you so much for sharing the excitement with me! And I’m so happy you love the songs so far! “111 the Owl” and “Animals!” are produced by Pablo San Martin and are created around trancelike rhythm patterns and dynamic samples from the guitar. The other half of the EP that is to be released is produced by Fabian Rosenberg and is more built around piano, strings, and dreamlike atmospheres. I love that the EP provides different dynamics and feels to it. It was lovely talking to you! All my love, Hana.

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