When a close friend took an in-advance listen to Hachiku’s debut album, I’ll Probably Be Asleep, she had one question for bandleader Anika Ostendorf: “‘why are you so angry?’” It’s not the first reaction that most people would have to the Melbourne-based outfit, whose dream-pop jams, all dewy guitars, rickety drum-machines, and layered ambience, topped off with Ostendorf’s oft-breathy voice, would seem to contain no sharp edges. But, following Hachiku’s self-titled 2017 debut EP, Ostendorf found herself dealing with darker themes; which reflected the 25-year-old growing up, changing, and feeling mounting frustrations. Anika answers some questions about the album for Hi Fi Way.

Is there a feeling of relief or excitement that your debut album is out now?
Yes, most definitely! I mean I’m pretty busy with everything going on at the moment around the release, so I can’t say the relief is associated with relaxation yet but hopefully I’ll have a sweet period where I am just able to enjoy myself and feel like I have achieved something before I start stressing about the next album.

Was it as much hard work as you thought?
I think I probably created a lot more work for myself than was urgently necessary. In particular around writing and recording the songs and being overly precious around every single element and going down various rabbit holes. That’s the danger of working by yourself – you have no one to bounce ideas off. We also don’t have a manager yet so I do end up spending a lot of time doing admin behind a computer screen. That’s probably the most tedious part of everything.

Did COVID add another layer of complexity in getting it done?
In a way it was useful for me to be forced to stay in one place without any distractions or social obligations. I got a lot of work done. The main thing I regret with COVID is not being able to do any release tours and launching the music in person. Hopefully we can do that sometime soon!

Sonically, how would you describe your music?
Maybe slightly left-of centre shoegaze-y bedroom pop.

Did everything go to plan making the album?
Mostly! I probably took two years longer than I had anticipated but other than that there were no major hiccups or broken hard drives (touch wood) or failed mixes. It took us some time to figure out what to do with the record release wise but we got there in the end.

Were there any significant influences for this album?
I am a massive Beach House fan for the world they have created. It’s pure perfection in my opinion. I am also a big fan of Grimes and Perfume Genius. Blake Mills as a producer. All my Milk! Records label mates. I find inspiration in very random things- if someone authentically does their thing and doesn’t really care about what might come of it, I am convinced.

What did you think when you played the final mix for the first time ?
I think my first reaction will always be: “Mhhm, okay. What do I like, what do I not like?” You are definitely straight away in feedback and criticism mode. How can it be better? Rarely do I listen to a mix and am straight away blown away over the moon. That satisfaction happens randomly maybe three months after when you listen to the mix unexpectedly and you have some distance to it and the ability to appreciate your own creation returns.

Are there plans for more new music in 2021?
I will mainly be focusing on writing new music and getting better at producing. I’m not sure yet about releases! Maybe if I spontaneously lay my hands on a hit melody that I can’t wait to get out there haha. I will definitely not take as long for our second album as I did for the first one. Hopefully

How excited are you about the prospect of touring?
Quite!! But also apprehensive. I am happy to wait until it is safe for mankind to come together in large groups in enclosed spaces again. I am hoping for a March mini album tour around Victoria – that would be pretty fun. It just doesn’t feel as satisfying releasing music without being able to play it live.

What’s a fun fact that your fans wouldn’t know about Hachiku?
We are a vegetarian band? That just randomly came to my mind. Actually now that I think about it Georgia eats meat occasionally when it’s presented to her. Okay, forget that one. I’ve recorded 85% of the parts on our album without shoes on.

Interview By Rob Lyon

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