Interview with Hannah Ashcroft
Hannah Ashcroft is a musician from North West England, currently based in Manchester. Through her music, she explores themes such as humanity and superstition. She writes the songs herself, sings and plays guitar, using a unique fingerpicking style influenced by John Martyn. If you like folk, indie and alternative genres, this is your girl!
It varies from time to time depending on what I’m listening to. At the moment it is 'Ingenue' by Atoms For Peace, Thom Yorke does a beautiful live piano version.
Which season do you prefer?
Autumn is my favourite season I think. I love the leaves changing colour, it’s not too cold and I can start wearing my extensive collection of jumpers.
Describe your music in three words.
That’s a tough one. Folk, Alternative, Indie?
Tell us about your songwriting-process.
I guess I’m an old fashioned sort so I like to write lyrics down on paper and always carry a notebook with me. I have to feel slightly isolated to write songs so I usually take a trip somewhere alone, get out of my comfort zone.
Favorite place you have preformed and why?
I played at the Tree House Sessions in Birmingham last year which is run by my wonderful friends Ade and Vik in their back garden. The audience were just lovely and all the other musicians were incredible!
What can we expect from your upcoming album and songs?
I’ve been writing mostly on electric guitar recently so I’m hoping to do more with a band setup, maybe experiment with some brass instruments!
When and why did you start playing music?
I started playing as a teenager, but I only started taking it seriously a bit later when I discovered artists like John Martyn, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.
Did you always know music would be a part of your career path?
It just sort of happened. I’ve had a lot of jobs but found I was never really happy doing anything other than music. I’ve not had any formal training, I studied history and literature at university because I’d had good teachers for those subjects at school. I enjoyed and drew a lot of inspiration from studying, but my heart wasn’t truly in it.
What is it like to be performing at restaurants, bars etc.?
It’s great generally, playing music and meeting interesting people. But it’s like any other job really, you have good days and bad.
Getting more personal…
What is the best advice you have ever received?
A friend I met while living in a hostel in Australia used to say to me. This pops into my head every time I'm hesitating over a big decision or lacking motivation:
“When’s the best time to plant a tree?
A hundred years ago.
When’s the second best time to plant a tree?
When do you feel most like yourself?
I feel most like myself when I’ve got a guitar in my hand, whether I’m playing a gig, busking or just at home messing around with ideas.
Any particular experience that have made you into the person you are today?
After university some friends from a band called Clockwork Radio persuaded me to move into their house in Manchester. I lived with them for a good couple of years, they let me support them at gigs and really encouraged me to write, record and play live. I don’t think I’d be be a musician now if it wasn’t for their support.
Where do you see yourself in the future work wise, travel plans etc.?
I came back from European tour, playing in Germany, Denmark, France, Netherlands and Belgium a few weeks ago but I’m hoping to return in Spring. I spent a couple of years in Australia so I’d like to go back there and tour again at some point!