Hannah Read is the voice and mastermind behind Lomelda, her long-standing musical project that evolved from a high school attempt at grasping the vastness of memory and intimacy into a matured, intricate sound that lies somewhere between folk, sad girl rock, and power pop. Read is still exploring all those questions of distance and closeness in her upcoming record Thx, which will be out this week on Double Double Whammy. Lomelda, who are touring with breakout indie rockers Pinegrove this fall, have already released three singles off of Thx, including “Interstate Vision,” “Out There,” and “From Here.” The full stream of the album is also available below.
On Thx, Read had the help of her brother Tommy with production and her friend Zach Daniel on the drums, but recorded all other instruments and vocals herself, aside from a few guest performances on cello and violin from close friends Cody Green, Diana Burgess, and Clara Brill. Her sheer dedication to creating and recording this album in her small hometown of Silsbee, Texas shines through in the raw emotion that exudes from each and every track.
But the emotion that Read is making room for on Thx is a little bit different from that which she has written about in the past. With this record, Read creates more space for her ever-consuming questions regarding distance and closeness to settle and exist as they are. She doesn’t pry at them or distress over them; rather, she acknowledges them and treats them with a air of melancholy, patience, and even tenderness.
In 2017, the world values a fast-paced and immediate approach to resolving questions and internal strife, but on her record, Read values stillness and uncertainty. For instance, the way she sings out “wrap your arms around me / I’ll be still / if it means nothing I could give it up / and then give it all again” with absolute conviction on “Interstate Vision.” And perhaps, in that stillness she explores — that uncertainty between you and me, here and there — that is where Thx‘s answers will be found.
Looking forward to the release of the new record, I spoke to Read over the phone all the way from her tiny Texas town about how these themes abound on Thx, her approach to songwriting, hanging out with Pinegrove, and the precious nature of music as a vessel for community building.
When did you start playing music? Can you give a brief background of the experiences that have shaped your musical career into the formation of what is now Lomelda?
I started playing music pretty young but I didn’t really take it heart until I was much older. As far as Lomelda, there’s a pretty long history actually. I started playing as Lomelda when I was in high school and I’m 25 now. Lots of different changes, lots of different lineups that were all called Lomelda, lots of different sounds and instruments. What it is now is just because it has followed me as my life changes, and this is where I am right now.
So, I know you grew up and currently reside in small town Texas. How has that background influenced your approach to the music scene and industry?
Yeah, kind of funny you mention it. I saw something the other day that called me a DIY artist and I know that that’s like basically a genre right now, right? It’s just funny because I am DIY in the sense that I “do-it-myself” but that scene was, how do I say, it felt like it only exists on the internet or something. Which I know is not true, but just because it’s so far from me here down in Texas, it feels that way. It is definitely a Philly, New York, East Coast thing, right? I guess also West Coast too, there are DIY Seattle people and stuff. But yeah, that is not in the vocabulary down here in Texas. But now, I am totally in that group by working with Double Double Whammy. I know they’ve done a lot with people in the DIY scene. I guess recently it’s felt like my small town life has been interacting with this scene that I am so far removed from. It’s interesting to see how similar and different it is and how I can see those same people but from here, in a totally different perspective.
Yeah, I live at a DIY venue in Michigan so I can’t imagine how different the culture must feel when you aren’t constantly surrounded by it. Do you see yourself leaving in the future or do you think that you’ll stick with the small town thing?
Yeah, I’m not exactly sure how to answer that question. I am about to leave on Monday and I won’t be back until December because of touring, but I will always come back here. My brother and I have started to build a studio here. So that is really important to me and a place that I will always be able to come back to and work at. As far as a daily life, I really have no idea what that looks like involving tours, playing in different projects, and being around people who give you energy and inspire and challenge. Small town life has some of that but not all of it.
So, considering the whole small town background and the upcoming nationwide tour with Pinegrove, are you excited? Nervous? Have you ever been on such an expansive tour before?
Yeah, it’s a lot. I’m really excited. I toured with Pinegrove earlier this year in Europe, and before that I’d never been out of the country so it was really cool. I’m really excited about this tour because we’re going a lot of places that I never would have thought to go — like North and South Dakota, stuff like that. Also, this summer I went to California for the first time and we are playing a bunch of California dates. It’s a lot of change but I’m really excited.
That’s so awesome. I’m so stoked for you. Speaking of Pinegrove, you’ve toured with them and I see that Adan took your press pic, which I love, it’s beautiful.
Thank you, it’s actually Adan’s birthday. [Editor’s note: Not today, the day the interview took place. Even so, happy birthday Adan!]
Oh really? Happy birthday!
Yeah, happy birthday Adan!!
How did you get to know the Pinegrove gang? How did that relationship play out?
They toured through Texas last summer. It was there first big headlining tour and they asked Lomelda to open one of their shows, the show in Dallas. So that’s when I met them. After that, via Facebook Messenger, they asked me to come to Europe with them.
Yeah it’s pretty wild.
So let’s talk about the album. Thx seems to be about these binaries, ins and outs, withs and withouts, rights and wrongs, and the struggle in navigating the space in between them while still maintaining your identity and your roots. What were your goals and motivations for this record as a follow up to 4E and your previous work?
A lot of the themes are the same. Like you said, it’s about binaries, it’s about you and me, the distance there, the closeness there that is possible. That is kind of what I have been writing about my whole life and I think I will continue to do so. For this record, I wanted to give the emotion some space to breathe, I guess, and to convey the sadness that comes along with all of those themes but with a gentleness or a kindness. In the past, I feel like I’ve wanted to convey more of the chaos or the confusion in a more abrasive way. I don’t know I think this has a lot to do with the time we live in right now. I think that it’s become more and more difficult to let those emotions just sit and be. We want to move faster and be stronger and all of those things. So this was an exercise for myself and hopefully, for listeners to invite them to see in that with me for a little while.
How was the process of creating and preparing to release Thx different from 4E for you considering you had more of an audience and were with a label?
While I was making it, I was not with a label or anything. But the process was different because it was just me and my drummer Zach. Zach played the drums and I did everything else, so that was very different for me. I got to do a lot more, so if it’s good or if it’s not good that’s my fault.
I promise you, it’s good. [Editor’s note: It’s good.]
Thanks, appreciate that. But yeah, I guess the arrangements and being really particular about the emotions that come across in the sounds was really new and good. I got to be ridiculously thoughtful about those things. That was different, I enjoyed that. It made me a little loopy, but that’s okay. And working with Double Double Whammy now is amazing. I love working with Mike who runs the label. Everything that they put out and everything that they do in the process along the way is very good which is not normal in the business world so I really appreciate it.
Yeah, they consistently put out amazing art. Speaking of songwriting, how do you approach writing songs? Have you always done it the same way since you were young or have your style and techniques evolved over time?
It’s always changing, time and place have a lot of influence on that. But one common thread, that will probably not surprise you, for the past long while I often write in my car while I’m driving. I think that maybe part of that is extended alone time. I guess I started doing that because I had a car that didn’t have a working stereo so it was part of passing the time. I think it continued because my emotions are really heightened in a car. And at the same time you feel this ridiculous amount of ease even though you are really close to death. So it just brings out things in me, at least. It brings out a lot of thoughts and fears and joy too. You know, you see something funny or you think you see something that’s not really there or you know, all sorts of things.
Yeah, this makes total sense considering all of the tracks on the album involving driving.
Right? I drive a lot. My commute to bandmates is four hours long. And, it’s really hot here in the summertime and I often get a little loopy and just end up driving for a couple of days like a dummy. I told you, I’m leaving on Monday and I won’t be back until December, and I recently realized I’m not going to be in my car for the rest of the year. It makes me so sad and more homesick than anything. I love my car, it has everything that I need. Well, that’s not true but it’s well equipped.
On a bit of a different note, were there any particular musical influences for you when writing the record? And what are you listening to right now?
As far as production goes I listened to a lot of Nina Nastasia and she records with Steve Albini so the production always sounds incredible. I’m also a big fan of Phil Elverum’s production as well, Mount Eerie and The Microphones. I think that pretty well covers it. I would listen to a track and then listen to one of those tracks and be like ‘Okay, i need to change this or that.’ Of course it doesn’t sound like either of those things, and every recording sounds different, but I definitely used those as references for what I wanted to convey. And, for what I am listening to right now, I’d say a lot of Frank Ocean. I’m kinda flipping between that and the new Florist record, which is so good. I think Emily Yacina’s songs are incredible. I could go on and on. I actually have a show with Emily coming up soon and I’m really excited about that. I’m a mega fan.
The people backing you seem to be extremely important to your process, you talked a bit about your brother earlier and you have friends stepping in to play cello, violin, and drums on several of the tracks. Can you talk a bit about the importance of music as community for you?
Yeah, I’ve realized that that’s why I do it. That is the only reason I do it. From really early on, playing music was kind of an excuse; it was a really easy way to have friends and hang out with them. You could say ‘hey, let’s be in a band together.’ My best friends growing up were people that I eventually told ‘Hey, you gotta learn the drums,’ or ‘Here, learn bass guitar, I’ll show you,’ just so we could hang out, you know? And that continues to be true. If I really want to hang out with someone that is what I say, I ask them to be in my band. And I think people do that too, it’s pretty common.
Pinegrove asking me to tour with them feels very much like a ‘now we’re friends, right?’ And I learned a ton from them. I got in a van with them in Europe having barely ever met them, spent the next three weeks with them, and now they are my friends. Music brings people together in other ways too, like in the ways that it makes you share a space because it requires air and time. It doesn’t really make sense in isolation. You can definitely sit alone with your headphones but even then, that artist, however long ago, spent hours and hours making this three minute track that’s reaching out to you right there in that listen. And that feels like part of community as well.
Below is the full tracklist for Thx.
1. “Interstate Vision”
2. “Bam Sha Klam”
3. “From Here”
5. “Out There”
6. “Far Out”
8. “Nervous Driver”
9. “Mostly M.E.”
10. “Only World”
And here is a full list of tour dates for Lomelda’s upcoming nationwide tour with Pinegrove and Florist. Get tickets here.
09/20 — Burlington, VT @ ArtsRiot
09/21 — Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB
09/22 — Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground
09/24 — Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
09/26 — Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck
09/27 — Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street (OKC)
09/28 — Houston, TX @ Walter’s Downtown
09/29 — Austin, TX @ Barracuda
09/30 — Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
10/02 — El Paso, TX @ The Perch at Tricky Falls
10/03 — Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
10/05 — Los Angeles, CA @ The Echoplex
10/06 — San Diego, CA @ The Irenic
10/07 — Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
10/10 — Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst (Atrium)
10/11 — San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
10/12 — Reno, NV @ The Holland Project
10/14 — Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
10/16 — Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s
10/17 — Sioux Falls, SD @ Total Drag Records
10/18 — Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium
10/19 — Minneapolis, MN@ 7th St Entry
10/20 — Milwaukee, WI@ The Back Room at Colectivo
Thx is out September 8 via Double Double Whammy. Pre-order it here and stream the entire thing below:
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