Sound & Vision with Hattie Cooke

Adding a human vulnerability to an album brimming with synth noir, it is easy to imagine the array of worlds that Hattie Cooke’s music could blend into. And for an album initially developed as a soundtrack, its cinematic qualities are still deeply apparent. Yet, with the addition of Cooke’s soft narration, the final product is something that tells its own stories, rather than accompanying those of others.

Following the release of her latest album, Bliss Land, we caught up with Cooke to chat over her influences. These are her Sound and Vision picks:

Three favourite albums:

Elliott Smith – Roman Candle 

This was a proper teenage angst album for me. Whenever I think of it, I’m transported back to a specific memory. I was still living at home and I asked my mum to get me white paint so I could repaint over the gross blue and purple I’d chosen when I was eleven. I played Roman Candle on repeat every day while I painted my entire bedroom with a small handheld paint brush. It took me about two weeks and it turned out that the white paint my mum had bought was actually peach tinted. I still love this record, but I can’t listen to it too much because it makes me sad.

Serge Gainsbourg – Comic Strip 

I actually think this is a really bizarre record. It was a gift from my grandpa I think. He gave me a bunch of CDs that I guess he was getting rid of or something. There was some Leonard Cohen stuff and some other bits I can’t remember and then there was this. I put it on and straight away it blew my tiny twenty year old mind. I remember thinking ‘this is so incredible and also really weird and actually a bit creepy in places.’ Initials BB is still one of my absolute favourite songs, the arrangement of the strings and the way that it feels both kind of sexually languorous and yet also really intense is very unusual and impressive to me.

Radiohead – Kid A

What can I say about this record? I think for a lot of people my generation and the one before me, Radiohead had a big part to play in their musical education. This is one of those records that I’ll periodically forget exists and then I’ll play it and I’m instantly wowed all over again like I’m hearing it for the first time. I have very melancholy memories of sitting in a treehouse with my friend Luke, in the middle of a field in Lancing, sharing a pair of earphones so we could listen to the album on a crappy Sony walkman as we watched the sun setting.

Favourite Film:

Lost In Translation 

A lot of people roll their eyes when I say that this is one of my favourite films. It’s not really cool to like it anymore, but this film more than any other saved my sanity. I suffered from severe anxiety during my mid/late teens and I became an insomniac. Whenever I put my head on the pillow I would have a huge panic attack. It was a horrible time in my life. But then somehow I discovered that if I put Lost In Translation on when I was trying to sleep I could drift off relatively easily. It was pretty much the only thing that helped me sleep for a long period in my life. I know pretty much every line of that film, and I’m still moved by it despite having seen it literally hundreds of times. I sleep much better now thankfully.

Favourite Book:

The Bandini Quartet – John Fante

John Fante isn’t particularly well known but he was pretty much the entire reason Bukowski became a writer – make of that what you will. And I guess I’m cheating by including not one book but four. It’s a series which chronicles the life of Arturo Bandini. The thing is, as I get older, different books from the quartet seem to resonate more or less strongly with me. I always loved ‘Ask the Dust’ but I’d probably say that ‘The Road To Los Angeles’ speaks more deeply to me now. I guess it’s because I’m getting older, like Arturo does with each book. Anyway, if you haven’t read John Fante then you’re missing out. (Also feel like I wanna give a sneaky shout out to Raymond Carver who comes a close second in the favourite competition!)

A Song That Means A Lot to me:

There are an infinite number of songs I could pick for this. I’m very emotionally attached to music so really this is like picking a song out of a hat. In the very early days of deciding that I really wanted to try and be a songwriter as a career, I was hugely inspired by Simon and Garfunkel. I think if you listen carefully to some of my early folk songs on my debut you could probably tell. In particular, I loved Kathy’s Song, and for months I tried desperately to write something that resembled it (and also Bleecker Street). Needless to say, I failed miserably – it was the equivalent of a kid with a crayon trying to copy Caravaggio or something. But I still love that song and it’s one of the happier memories from those days.