30 Days Out Exclusive Interview: Juliana Hatfield

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If you have read this blog for any amount of time, you know I have not hidden my affection for talented singer, songwriter and guitarist, Juliana Hatfield. Her album, Become What You Are, remains one of my favorites and, in my opinion, was one of the best albums of the 90s. She recently took part in the Bruce Springsteen’s “Hangin’ Out On E Street” project with an excellent cover of “Cover Me” and she also just put out a new CD, How To Walk Away. Juliana was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us about the past, the present and the state of the music industry.

30DAYSOUT: Tell me about how you first got interested in music and who were some of your earliest musical influences..

JH: I took piano lessons from my Mom, in our house, when I was a child. Both of my parents played piano and that was the first music I heard. Live piano music was always in the air. Later I was heavily influenced by 1970’s AM top 40 American radio: the Eagles, ELO, Steely Dan, the Carpenters, Olivia Newton-John, America, Bread, etc.

30DAYSOUT: One of my all time favorite albums is Become What You Are. It¹s very rare when every song on an album is great, but every song on that album is great. e74610c805fe97f8
In my opinion, it was one of the best of the 90s. Tell me your thoughts about that album and how it changed your life and career..

JH: It was me and my bass player and drummer recording the songs we had been playing live- the songs and arrangements didn’t change much from the stage to the tape. I was very excited to be working with producer Scott Litt, who had worked with some of my favorite records by the Replacements and REM. Obviously this record changed my life- it brought me visibility and was the start of a legitimate and lasting career in music.

30DAYSOUT: Tell me why it’s important for you to put “All guitars by Juliana” on
your CDs. Did you think people would find it hard to believe a woman could play great guitar?a21fccb5656f4cfc

JH: I wanted people to recognize and respect me as a player and writer and not just as a pop cultural phenomenon or as a cute pop singer so I spelled it out for people: that way I knew that they would have to acknowledge that I was more in control of my music and career than they may have realized.

30DAYSOUT: How did your career change when you went to Atlantic Records?

JH: More publicity, bigger recording and video budgets, commercial radio play, etc.

30DAYSOUT: Why did they refuse to release “God’s Foot?” Will that album ever see the light of day?

JH: I guess they felt the album lacked a hit single or that it wasn’t worth further investment. I don’t own the masters so I have no control over the fate of “God’s Foot.”

30DAYSOUT: What was life like for you after the whole Atlantic experience?

JH: Weird.

30DAYSOUT: Bed was also a great album. Tell us about the recording of that particular collection..

JH: I recorded and mixed it in six days. I produced it with an engineer and a drummer and a bass player. I wanted it to sound- to be- really dry and raw and unpolished and cheap. It was a cathartic experience.

30DAYSOUT: Tell us about some of the more interesting tours you have been on
throughout your career?

JH: Touring with Jeff Buckley was exciting. He was an exciting guy and artist.

35e0e1d71ba2087a330DAYSOUT: Tell us about the new CD, How To Walk Away?

JH: It’s lush and bittersweet and mature and pretty and lonely and hopeful.

30DAYSOUT: What do you think about the state of the music business today? How do you fit into today’s music business?

JH: The music business has expanded so much into the realm of the internet universe, which seems endlessly discoverable. There are so many new and emerging avenues for music and art and promotion. I am learning how to navigate it all. I feel like a baby.

30DAYSOUT: I noticed you took part in the “Hangin’ Out On E Street” project with an excellent version of “Cover Me.” Are you a Bruce fan? If so, how has he influenced you?

JH: I never owned a Springsteen album. I only knew his radio hits, some of which I liked a lot. “Cover Me” was one that I particularly liked and I wanted to re-interpret it and make it my own. I like the lyrical idea in it.

“This Lonely Love” (from How To Walk Away) – Juliana Hatfield

“My Sister” (from Become What You Are) – Juliana Hatfield (Acoustic 2008)

“Dame With A Rod” (Live) – Juliana Hatfield Three

Juliana Hatfield Official Website

Check out our two exclusive interviews with Trans-Siberian Orchestra vocalist  Tommy Farese, Austin legend Alejandro Escovedo, former Billy Joel drummer Liberty DeVitto, Toto lead singer Bobby Kimball, Brian Wilson backup singer and solo artist Taylor Mills and two interviews with “Undercover Angel” Alan O’Day. 

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