Next Wave #992: HANYA

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The UK feels like a melting pot of incredible new talent at the moment. Honestly, Clash can’t remember a time when there have been so many new bands that have made us want to stop what we’re doing and just listen to them. One band that has slowly been building momentum of late is Brighton-based Hanya. Brighton currently has one of the most exciting music scenes in the country, having produced Royal Blood, Squid, Wytches, Morning Smoke, Fur, DITZ and Libre Libre to name a few.

Frontperson, and songwriter, Heather Sheret has been writing songs since she was four years old. “I’ve written songs as long as I can remember, but my technique is always changing, especially now I work with a group, it’s much more collaborative and involves lots of bouncing off each other and being completely honest.” She recalls: “I wrote a song called ‘This is my castle, and you are my king’ when I was about four which is a disaster in feminist writing. I’m pretty sure I used a melody from Steps at the time.”

Previously the band were a duo called Post-Heather consisting of Sheret and drummer Jack Watkins. They changed names around the time Ben Varnes joined on bass. Their debut EP ‘I Used To Love You, Now I Don’t’ was released in 2018. It sounded like combined a Riot Grrrl sensibility, a visceral shoegaze wall of sound and introspective lyrics. Since then they have released the ‘Dream Wife’ single, the ‘Sea Shoes EP’. The ‘Sea Shoes EP’ consisted of four sublime songs that were built on the foundations of ‘I Used To Love You, Now I Don’t’ but the songs showcased a maturity hitherto only hinted at. These new recordings saw Varnes move to guitar and Dylan Fanger join on bass. Their new single ‘Texas’ was written and recorded during lockdown and is their strongest song to date.

Despite being in lockdown Sheret has continued to write new songs. “I have a book I carry with me everywhere. It contains all my thoughts on subjects, or little notes I overhear and think sound nice,” she says “The music comes first, then I look to my books for bites of good bits, or what’s going on in my life at the time.” If these new songs are as strong as ‘Texas’ then 2020 could end up being a very productive time for Sheret and co.

Despite what is going on in the world at the moment Hanya’s future is bright. Lockdown has brought its own challenges. “Our bassist left so we’re writing with a new person, that’s a big change,” Sheret told me. When asked what Sheret hopes for 2021 she replied: “A hell of a lot of practice room, and actually some socially distanced shows. We’re using this time to write as much as is humanly possible!”

Hanya are now definitely Post-Heather. Where they go next is down to them but given the strength of their initial releases we’ll want to go with them. 

Words: Nick Roseblade

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