Quick Q+A: Hannah von der Hoff

Hannah von der Hoff

Regular readers know we’re big fans of chanteuse Hannah von der Hoff, a singer-songwriter who’s played everywhere from Icehouse to the Red Stag Supper Club to the Dakota, either solo or with The Dangertones backing her, and the Aster Cafe, where she’s also the booker. Now von der Hoff is putting her smokey stylings on an album, with a kickstarter kickoff party to launch the recording.

Before everything takes off, we quick checked in von der Hoff about the upcoming album, collaborator JT Bates, and booking bands.

Secrets of the City: Which Hannah von der Hoff should we get excited for on this album? Solo singer-songwriter? An appearance by The Dangertones? A new direction entirely?

Hannah von der Hoff: This will be an R&B/Soul meets Roots Rock record where I finally figured out how to let my guard down. Stoked. It’ll be like you went down a dirt road, found a smoky speakeasy and Jeff Buckley, Bonnie Raitt, Alabama Shakes and Sade were in an orgy and getting in a brawl at the same time . . . or something like that.

It’s cool to see that creative jazz man and drummer extraordinaire JT Bates is co-producing—did that come from your Icehouse shows? Will he also play on the album?

Actually, JT Bates and I having been creatively courting for years—I met him back when Molly Maher & Erik Koskinen had a weekly residency at Aster Cafe on Wednesdays; it was hands down my favorite night to work. He came to a solo opening slot I had the Entry, and he approached me about working together afterward. I didn’t want to do this debut or the collaboration injustice so I waited until I felt ready. We’re set to record for early 2017!

What kind of swag are you thinking for the kickstarter? (We could use a HvdH patch, honestly.)

Thanks for the idea. Seriously. Killer vinyl. 200-limited deluxe edition handmade & signed CD’s. A private show where I cook you a batch of soup, or cookies. A session of life advice. Handwritten lyrics. A couple rounds of pool. And of course, stickers, amongst other things! The shirts and hats will come down the line. The kickstarter is still pending but hoping to get this thing launched in the coming week or so. Please stay tuned!

Has your work taking over the booking at the Aster help to hone in your music tastes? Or is that pretty much unrelated?

Its the other way around actually. I like all kinds of music because it falls in two categories, really: good vs bad. My musical taste informs the curation, but the goal is to achieve the trifecta of a successful show: happy artists who feel welcomed, valued by extension of hospitality and have a healthy check in their pocket at the end of the night, good music for hungry/thirsty guests to dine all their senses, and a staff who gets to pay the bills by way of a sweet show. If I went on taste alone, I wouldn’t be a good steward of the role—but it certainly is step one.