Brisbane’s own sad banger balladeer Phil Hancock has been riding ambient waves through the pop genre in his latest offering ‘H8U’. Accompanied by a killer video and a mountain of positive reviews, ‘H8U’ utilises dreamy melodies and sweet soft piano tones to expel a melancholy us who have experienced heartbreak can relate to. Take a look at the clip here:
We had a chat to Phil about how ‘H8U’ came about, his progression into original music and what he has in store for 2019.
You begun your musical career posting piano focused cover songs on YouTube. How long have you been playing piano and performing? How did you transition into your current electronic dream pop sound? Was it a natural progression or something you worked on?
I’ve played piano since I was like five years old as we always had a piano in the house. And I just performed at every opportunity I could get. I’ve always been obsessed with pop music – I used to watch the Rage Top 50 religiously as a kid! So I’ve always wanted to release my own electronic pop songs, and now I’m collaborating with some of my best friends and finally making the music I’ve always wanted to make. Writing pop music comes so naturally to me, and I’m very lucky to have great, talented people around me helping me get the exact sound I want for these songs.
For such a bop, it’s easy to forget that your latest single H8U is an ode to heartbreak. Can you tell us a bit about how this ‘sad banger’ came about?
My amazing producer Shaun O’Brien showed me the instrumental for H8U about a year ago and I fell in love with it. I was going through the break-up of a really close friendship and I was in the midst of so much pain and confusion, so I just free flowed everything I was feeling. To me, the song is about being so mad for letting yourself get hurt and used by someone, and how that anger and pain overshadows how you actually feel about them. It’s definitely one of the darkest songs I’ve ever written, and releasing it feels like my final piece of therapy, getting full closure on that period of my life.
What do you love about sharing your own stories through music?
There’s nothing I love more than listening to a song that I relate to on a whole other level. And I feel like I have all these stories to tell that people could really relate to, that I’m not hearing in pop music at the moment. So for me, I love being able to connect to people with songs that they can personally relate to and feel. I want my music to hit them right in the heart where it hurts!
The production on the track is super tight. Do you experiment a lot with the production of your tracks? Or does everything fit perfectly into place from the get-go?
Thanks! We do experiment a lot. I like to have some semblance of a sound or a vibe going, and then write melody and lyrics to that. And then my producers and I get in there and just have fun with the production. Lyrics and melody are so important to me because I listen to that most in music, so I love being able to experiment with the production to really make the lyrics shine.
The accompanying video clip for H8U is nothing short of mesmerising. How do you find visuals can enhance a track? Do you consider visuals whether it be in a video or playing live when writing and producing a song?
I rarely think about visuals when I’m making a song. I want the song and the story to be able to stand on its own. That being said, I remember when I heard the instrumental for H8U the first time, I immediately saw it in a movie and I saw a whole video for it. The song and the music video were both inspired by the film The Neon Demon which has really trippy cinematography. I also LOVE making music videos, so once I finish a song, I love thinking about how it’s gonna look and creating something really fresh. It’s a big dream of mine to start my own movie production company eventually, so I’m taking baby steps towards that doing a few music videos first!
Can we look forward to seeing you play live anytime soon?
Yes! It is in my long term plan to do some shows, but at the moment I’m focussing on songwriting and putting out more and more music. I performed around Brisbane and even did a tour of Australia a few years ago, but had to stop performing last year for health reasons. I’ve been slowly getting my health back to fighting fitness this year and definitely have plans in the pipeline to put on some live shows.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year? Can we look forward to any new tunes?
Yes you can! I’ve got some more “sad bangers” in the works and a few upbeat pop jams too. Songwriting is what I love doing more than anything, so I’ll be pumping out lots of new songs this year to tell my story and show people what I’m capable of as a writer and as an artist.