- Sarah Curry
Interview: "Arsonist" - Hannah Duckworth
Your last single was incredible and this new release, “Arsonist” for sure did not disappoint either! What is the story behind this new track and what was your inspiration for writing it?
Hannah: Arsonist was a really interesting song to write. I wrote it in a period of time where I was writing all different types of styles, and trying a bunch of things out. I wrote it close to when I wrote Stay Quiet, which is super angsty, high energy pop punk, whereas Arsonist originated as a folk-y pop acoustic tune. That's what makes this song cool I think, especially in contrast to Stay Quiet - it's so different in terms of style, mood, and production. It really gives you a sense of the variety I can offer as a writer.
So I wrote it one day when I was experimenting with playing in open tunings on my guitar. I was dead set on writing a song in Open A, but nothing was coming. I switched to Open D and immediately started gravitating towards the opening chords that are in Arsonist. I ended up writing the entire chord progression pretty quickly, which is actually a nice, long progression. The first lyrics that came to mind were "There's a fire burning in my brain" before I had any real idea of concept or story. I continued with the fire theme and found an enjoyable segway into the idea of using the word "arsonist" in the song. From there I dug deep and grabbed memories I had from a time in my life where I was doing nothing but driving through California by myself for a few months, on a never ending road trip with everything I owned in my car. It was a liberating time, equally full of fun and heartbreak, and that's kind of how this song feels and sounds to me. I brought this song to record with my friend, Matt Luthie, and my guitar player and bandmate, Dillon Vincent, fully acoustic. In 24 hours we turned it into what you hear in this version instrument-wise. This song came out really easy once we all three were in a room. The guitar parts felt right, the groove felt right, and we were all excited about it. I'm super happy how it turned out.
What inspired you to start playing and making music?
Hannah: From a young age I was obsessed with the idea of being a performer. I sang, I danced, and played instruments my whole life. When I was a kid, I really looked up to the big country stars of the early 2000s, before getting into pop punk and rock music. I grew up singing all sorts of country songs from Dixie Chicks to Patsy Cline. My first concert ever was the Dixie Chicks FLY tour when I was 7 and it blew my mind.
I've always loved music, but especially from a performer's point of view. Not only did I connect with music by listening to it, but I really connected with the idea of writing music and getting to perform it and share it with others. As I got older, I focused primarily on doing well in school and work, and never thought I would actually invest time in music. I had always wondered what it would be like to invest that time, but told myself other things were more important or made up excuses and whatnot. Eventually it got to the point where I was like, f*ck it, I'm gonna try this. And, well, here we are. I realized that, as with everything in life, you are truly never "ready" when you want to start something. If you wait until you're ready, you'll be waiting forever. You just have to go for it and hope you stick the landing.
If you could feature “Arsonist” in any movie or TV show, which one do you think it’d fit into?
Hannah: My ideal scenario would be if I could go back in time and retroactively add Arsonist to the 1999 film "She's All That" because I mean, why not?
What are some of your go-to belt in the shower songs?
Hannah: Oh, easy:
1. Born to Fly by Sara Evans, 2. White Liar by Miranda Lambert, 3. Anything from the first 2 Dixie Chicks albums. I have a soft spot in my heart for 90s/early 2000s country, plus it's the best music to belt.
If you could invite any artist to join you on stage at a performance, who would you pick and why?
Hannah: Travis Barker for sure. He brings so much energy to any stage and song. Performing while he drums would be an absolute highlight of my life. If Travis wasn't available, I'd definitely take Dave Grohl. He seems like the nicest guy in the world.
What’s coming up next from you? These last two tracks were fantastic, I can’t imagine what else you have in store for us!
Hannah: I'm recording an EP! Title TBD and release date TBD but I promise it's in progress! And I promise you're going to like it!
Interviewed By Sarah Curry