Northern Irish composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Hannah Peel approaches music like Hunter S Thompson went about his storytelling; she seeks out immersive experiences for inspiration and lives in the songs she creates.
The best example of this is Orkney: Symphony of The Magnetic North, her 2012 debut album with The Magnetic North – a loose group she formed with Simon Tong (The Verve, Gorillaz, The Good, The Bad & The Queen) and Erland Cooper (Erland & The Carnival).
The trio spent time on the remote Scottish outcrop last year, developing an aural aesthetic that strongly evokes the simplicity and loneliness of island life. The live set, which debuted on Orkney, was accompanied by footage of the archipelago’s vast, towering cliffs, its endless North Sea horizon and vintage clips of its inhabitants.
Hannah first came to recognition in 2010 with her debut release Re-Box, a four track EP of reimagined songs by artists such as Cocteau Twins and New Order, played on a music box that she made herself. This was followed by The Broken Wave album in 2011.
Earlier this year she released Nailhouse EP, which was written and recorded in Hannah’s own studio situated below a busy London street in a room she describes as ‘analogue synth heaven’. Co-produced with Erland, it marked her first solo release since 2011 and won her rave reviews from the likes of Mojo and NME.
Nailhouse is a word used to describe homes belonging to people in China who refuse to leave to make room for development. The track Nailhouse II features Chinese girls singing and clapping, which Hannah recorded on one of her journeys around European cities.
Last month, Hannah was among the first 10 acts to be awarded grants by the PRS for Music Foundation’s Momentum Music Fund. The fund gives grants of up to £15,000 to help acts finance the recording and releasing their music as well as helping with marketing and tour costs.
Other artists to have been chosen include Esco Williams, Hacktivist, Brolin, Dutch Uncles, Kindness, Teleman, Thumpers, Floating Points and The Wytches.