Artist/Band: Henry Hall
Hometown: Los Angeles
Latest Album/Release: “Love for Serious” and “Kid” (coming out in September)
Influences: The Smiths, Prince, Young Thug, Frank Ocean, Paul Simon, “What Are Those?!” Memes
TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Hall: I think my music is anxiety-driven both lyrically and melodically. My own anxieties and insecurities are where the majority of my inspiration comes from so I hope that that comes across in my music in a sort of cathartic way for whoever is listening. Contrary to a number of recent reviews, though, I am NOT, I repeat, NOT an up-and-coming steam punk accordionist!
TrunkSpace: Where did your musical journey begin? Did it start with a love for listening to music and then turn into a love for writing/performing?
Hall: Honestly, I think my love for music started when I was about five and I wrote a song called “Broken Boy.” I was barely out of preschool and I was already a solid Stage 12 emo guy. I’ve always been the kind of person who needs music to be playing constantly and I think writing/performing just came out of that naturally. I’ve been playing in bands since I was like 10 years old so I think I just gravitated towards playing music instinctively.
TrunkSpace: We fell for your music long before ever realizing where your entertainment industry roots stemmed from. How important is it for you to establish yourself as an artist separate from what those in your family have accomplished before you?
Hall: Choosing music as a career path is probably some form of an indication that I subconsciously wanted to make my own way for sure — I’m extremely proud of my parents and what they’ve accomplished in their careers, though. I look to them for inspiration and they’re great to bounce ideas off of — they’re both incredibly creative and I feel so lucky to be as close to them as I am.
TrunkSpace: With that being said, is it difficult to keep that separation in the social media age and have people focus only on Henry Hall and the music? It seems hard to pave a path for yourself in 2017 when everyone else does the paving for you via social media.
Hall: Yeah, social media is a double-edged sword. It’s a great tool to get your music out there, but it can also feel overwhelming at times. That’s why I try to stick to posting all of my music exclusively on Minecraft messaging boards. Goddamn is that working out well so far!
TrunkSpace: When it comes to songwriting, what is your lyrical approach? Are you writing from experience or are you writing more as a storyteller?
Hall: I almost never write lyrics first — it’s pretty much always melody and chords first and then lyrics just sort of pop into my head depending on how they fit into the melody I’ve written. I wanna have a sense of humor to some degree in my lyrics — lyrics that are dark and ironic have been appealing to me a lot lately, so I’ve been trying to veer in that direction when I can.
TrunkSpace: Is a song ever truly finished or are you constantly tweaking and retweaking? If a song does receive its curtain call, how do you know when it’s time to move on to the next one?
Hall: I pretty much never go back to songs. If I don’t finish a tune within a day or two, I know that it’s not good, so I tend to abandon ideas halfway through writing them a lot of the time. Usually, though, I can just plug a song into the SongMaker 4000 and it’ll tell me if it’s done or not. God bless Steve Jobs for inventing that machine. God bless ALL machines, in fact!
TrunkSpace: You recently released the single “Love for Serious.” Where do you see growth as a songwriter with that track when comparing it against some of your earlier writing?
Hall: “Love for Serious” is a bit of a departure for me both melodically and production-wise. It’s very lo-fi and intimate, I think, and the melody and lyrics just kind of float on top of the instrumentation… it has more of a spontaneous flow to it while other tunes I’ve written and produced have had an airtight kind of vibe. I think there’s kind of a middle ground between the loose feel of “Love for Serious” and a concise, taut song like “Company” on the My Friends Don’t Like Me EP that I’m probably gonna end up searching for in my writing in the near future.
TrunkSpace: You recently launched the short film “What’s Up YouTube” on, well, YouTube. Is the content creator/filmmaker side a separate focus or do you see it all tying together with your musical career? If handed the keys to the career of your choice, what would that look like?
Hall: I know that there’s definitely a similarity in tone between my music and “What’s Up YouTube” — kind of this humorous hopelessness to it all. Music is definitely my first priority, but I loved making “What’s Up YouTube” and collaborating on it with two incredibly talented directors, Jack Coyne and Jack Pearce. My dream is really to just be able to be creative in whatever way I want to — and, of course, like all Americans, to own a small stake in the Kansas City Chiefs.
TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist/songwriter?
Hall: I always want to push myself in my live performances… that’s probably where I’m the hardest on myself because that’s really my first music-related love — performing music live. I can always find something to nit-pick from every single performance. I’m trying to incorporate some more on-stage cereal-eating at my shows these days. Horrible reviews of that so far.
TrunkSpace: You grew up with an insider’s perspective on how the entertainment business works. Has that point of view influenced how you’re approaching your career at all? Has it forced you to zag where you may have zigged had you not had that peek behind the curtain?
Hall: Honestly, I don’t think anyone really knows how to navigate the entertainment industry perfectly. It’s insanely weird and counterintuitive sometimes. As long as you don’t get in a fist fight with Oprah or David Letterman on live television, though, I think you’ll be alright.
TrunkSpace: You’re based in Los Angeles, a city steeped in incredible musical history and constantly swarming with talented musicians of all flavors. Is that an intimidating thing or is it inspiring to be surrounded by other creatives? How much does a city influence an artist?
Hall: I love living in LA. I grew up here so I have a deep connection to the place and I find it very inspiring. I want to get Mayor Eric Garcetti to produce my next album, but he won’t pick up his phone for some reason. Eric, if you’re reading this, PLEASE call me back! Let’s get in the lab, dude!
TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Henry Hall for the rest of 2017 and beyond?
Hall: I’m gonna be putting out a new song called “Kid” very soon along with a couple of other new singles too, I’m playing a show at Soho House in Chicago on September 17th, hopefully doing some touring of the West Coast, and stay tuned for a full-length record hopefully coming by the end of the year or early 2018. Also, I want to learn how to do a standing backflip before January 1st, 2018. Mazel tov, everybody!
Featured Image By: Hannah Baker