Hank Richardson is a musician living in San Francisco. Although he has played in many bands, Hank has a dynamic way of making his own voice present in all of them. He has also just released a new single called “Favorite Singer”, available online and as a cassette. Hank was kind enough to talk a bit about his creative process with us, and about some of the people who have contributed to the visual world of his songs.
1. When did you first become interested in making music?
Probably when I first heard a singer or album that I really adored while growing up, like Roy Orbison or The Smiths. I’ve always been a fan, first and foremost.
2. How has playing in different bands affected your own style?
There’s nothing better than being in bands with friends. That’s about the only way I’m interested in doing that sort of thing. Even as I’m writing an album by myself, I still think about wanting to hear these songs played aloud with my friends. And, for me, learning other people’s songs and writing together forces you to improve at thinking a song through – looking at all it’s parts (not just yours), when to play hard and when to ease up, and basically figuring out the sounds that you like. So, I’d say its affected my approach more so than anything else.
3. When you make a new song do you have any specific goals, or does it come together fairly smoothly?
Usually I start with a song title or lyric before putting together anything else. At least, that’s how I’ve been approaching things lately. I have to work hard and steadily at it.
4. Tell us about your new album. What in particular was the process for creating the track and the video for “Favorite Singer”?
Whether by myself or in bands, I’ve always pretty much just released EPs and singles. There’s a sense of urgency when finishing any recording that I think we’ve all felt being in bands. You start to turn your back on the songs or get tired of them if you wait too long for their release. So, you get them out there as soon as possible. A full-length, on the other hand, seems to maybe require more patience. You can sort of have ill-matched songs on an EP because it’s played in one short sitting, usually with only one stand-out tune. But working on a LP is making me consider all sorts of new things. “Favorite Singer” is the single for my upcoming album. I wrote it with the intention of building all the other songs around it. The music video came together without much fuss and I’m grateful for Bob Vielma’s help on it (Phat ‘n’ Phunky – phatnphunky.com).
5. How important is album art to you?
Very. It’s always been a point of pride for me that Suitors Club releases, and bands I’ve been in, have had Kyle Pellet’s art direction on their side – Pelletfactory.com
6. Is there anything inspiring about living in San Francisco? To be more exact, how much does the environment that you’re in affect the type of music that you want to make?
Though San Francisco is dear to me, I don’t think place or environment have really ever factored into my songwriting.
7. As of right now, do you think the Internet has been more of a help or a hindrance to musicians?
It’s a positive thing for the most part, though it’s really hard to gain perspective when you’re in the thick of it.
8. How do you balance your creative life with your work life? Would you do music full time if someone paid you to do it, or would that dynamic feel too constricting?
It’s a lot of stop and go with both my real job and music. Eventually, I’d like them to be one in the same – doing Suitors Club full time. I think that would be great!
10. Where can people find out more about you? What ways exist for people to access to your music?
I run Suitors Club Records out of my bedroom and want to keep that going indefinitely: