Molly Hanmer Gears Up to Releases Their Sophomore Effort ‘Get Loose’
Molly Hanmer & The Midnight Tokers have crash landed back into the musical atmosphere with the announcement of their forthcoming sophomore LP ‘Get Loose.’ If their first single, “Sick of Me,” tells their fans anything of what to expect for their new full-length, it’s that the band have met the last couple of years with the kind of musical tenacity it takes to keep their community impressed and wanting more.
In preparation for the release of the second track off the album, and the records namesake “Get Loose,” Molly Hanmer spoke with Too Much Love about the making of the new record, and what has been keeping her inspired.
“Sick of Me” is the first single off your upcoming album, Get Loose, and the first track you release in three years. The song features elements of classic rock n’ roll, indie, and an after-taste of Americana in the vocals. Is this song a good example of the overall sound of the record?
It’s difficult to pick just one song that defines the album as a whole. “Sick of Me” is an expression of anger and frustration in a world that feels so out of our control-and how lonely that experience can feel. I think that most songs on the album explore what it’s like to navigate the unsteadiness caused between the pandemic, global warming, and socio-political turmoil. In that way, it is exemplary of the album. Sonically it’s pretty punk-rock. More so than the rest of the album which ranges from psychedelic to rock to blues. But since Claudia, my manager, and myself are heavily influenced by punk rock, it tends to shine through regardless of the genre we are playing. We like to say we are “genre-fluid!”
How was the process of composing “Sick of Me”?
Claudia and I wrote “Sick of Me” mid pandemic. And by mid-pandemic I mean September 2020, which was six months into lock down. It was supposed to last three months, and yet in September we weren’t close to being in the clear. Nobody was even sure if it was safe to go for hikes. We were all just cooped up in our houses, consuming horrible news, staring at the walls, with no distractions from any of the self loathing thoughts that like to creep up when no one is watching. No going to live shows, no grabbing drinks, just “me, myself and I.” I had written the main guitar lick years ago, but I could never figure out what to do with it. One day I was messing around with it, and then the chorus came and just fit. Once I got a draft down, I sent it to Claudia and we bounced ideas off each other. I feel very fortunate to have a co writer in Claudia. It requires a lot of intimacy between people to write good songs, and I think we are fortunate enough to have that. While she is also my manager, we have more of a Brian Epstein relationship. I simply couldn’t write without her, nor would I be writing. I hadn’t actually finished a song until we met and she forced me to do so. Our whole relationship is a kind of symposium in how we happen upon writing topics. We’ll be discussing politics, music, love, whatever, and she’ll suggest that so-and-so would be a great song. Or I’ll realize it. Then we bounce the songs back and forth and figure out what should be changed, if it’s shit or not. I can always count on her ear when it comes to writing and recording, which is really important since I don’t always trust myself.
Get Loose sounds to be a pretty introspective record that reflects on political and social subjects that had an impact on you and the band when writing and composing the songs. How has the pandemic affected your sound?
When Trump was chosen by the electoral college to be president, everything changed. Life just felt different, and not in a good way. We have always written about the world. “Gunman”, the first track on the album, was actually written back in 2013 after the Sandy Hook shooting. One of my heroes is Bob Dylan, because he spoke truth to power through his songs. I can’t just write love songs or relationship songs, because there’s too much that is more important. Music can be revolutionary if we want it to be. “Sick of Me” is certainly introspective, both personally and culturally. I think this album is far more urgent and in your face compared with our last one, Stuck in a Daydream, because our world is more urgent. We aren’t fucking around here. We have guitars and we aren’t afraid to use them. We were fortunate that we could record this album in 2020 even with the pandemic happening. It wasn’t easy. We all had to get tested frequently and only have so many people per room in the studio at a time. We are so grateful to our producer, Sheldon Gomberg, for working with us and making it possible. Thanks to his expert ear and guidance we have this amazing record, which is a little beacon of light amidst such a dark year. We also added a lead guitar player, Mickey Madden, to The Midnight Tokers lineup (in addition to Keith Palmer, Drums; John Bird, Keyboards; Claudia Miles, Songwriter/Vocals). So that adds another dimension to our sound. You can hear his awesome solo on “Sick of Me”.
What do you think about LA’s current music scene, both pre and post-pandemic?
We love LA, but with the pandemic, the music scene has really taken a hit. I worry that our favorite venues like the Troubadour might not have fared well through lock down. And now that the Delta variant is surging, I fear we are in for another long stretch of no live music. But, there are great bands in LA. Patrolled by Radar, Manda Mosher, and Sam Morrow are all local bands we love. Hopefully people will continue to get vaccinated and get booster shots when they become available, so that musicians can feel safe performing again.
Now that things are opening up again, do you have any shows lined up?
The whole band are still cautious about playing full on shows. The Delta variant is surging in Los Angeles so we need to be careful. We will be doing a show on Instagram Live for our next single release on Tuesday, August 24th at 8:30pm PST that people can tune into. If the Covid gods allow it, we may do a West Coast tour this fall. But unless more people get vaccinated, that sadly seems unlikely. We can’t risk our safety or the safety of our fans.
If you could perform at any place on the West Coast, where would it be?
I would love to play The Troubadour right here in LA. I’ve seen so many of my favorite bands play that stage, it would be an honor to do the same. We played Pappy & Harriet’s last year before the pandemic hit, which was definitely on my bucket list. Paul McCartney stood on that very stage. The Fillmore in San Francisco would also be amazing. There’s so much history in that theater alone. I love those small to midsize intimate venues.
Any final thoughts that you would like to share with our readers?
I hope that “Sick of Me” helps people feel seen and less alone. We’re all feeling a loss of control, and because we are facing problems that are so much bigger than ourselves, it’s easy to project that frustration onto one’s self. But we’re all in this together. Hopefully it reminds people to be kind to themselves. We have another single, “Get Loose” coming out on August 24th which will be available soon for presale on Amazon and iTunes. Our full album, Get Loose, comes out on September 28th. People can follow us on Spotify, Instagram (@mollyhanmermusic) and Facebook (/mollyhanmermusic) to stay up to date with our latest releases and to hear about any live shows. It seems small, but following indie bands on these platforms helps a lot!
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