With emotion, vulnerability and a unique amalgamation of musical disciplines, Hannah Sandoz, Chicagoland resident and recent Oberlin music graduate, released their latest EP “To Love and Loss!” this Sunday.
“Many of my songs, played live without effects, sound like folk songs – but the electronic elements of what I do and the extended techniques I use in my production process push it slightly out of the folk tradition,” Sandoz said.
The avante-folk EP is home to six songs that are “about everyone and no one at all.” Sandoz said most of their music is technically about someone or something. But they like to create a sense of mystery as to what they are referring to, keeping listeners at the edge of their seats. This mystery, according to Sandoz, makes the listening experience more relatable to the audience.
Sandoz tries to express their vulnerability through music, expressing feelings and memories closest to them.
“My songs are documents of my resilience,” Sandoz said. “They say ‘I was here, even if it was just for a little while.’ They contain evidence of the sufferings I withstood, the people I loved, and the ways I found joy again. I’d rather a song be misinterpreted than over-explained.”
However, this emphasis on vulnerability is to create a sense of community and common good for the world. Sandoz has a strong belief that sharing vulnerabilities will make the world a more open, accepting place, which is the impact they want to make.
“Vulnerability can be scary, but it helps us form meaningful connections with the people around us,” Sandoz said. “It helps us to relate to one another, reinforcing the ideology of the human condition and the feeling of unity that accompanies it.
“When I think about sharing the experience of personhood with the rest of humanity, it makes kindness feel a lot more important,” they added. “I want to imagine that a kinder, more vulnerable world is in our future.”
Sandoz recently graduated from Oberlin College’s music program, which is among the top 30 music schools in the county. Despite having this background, Sandoz’s goals with music remain humble and they prefer to focus on the small joys in industry versus climbing the industry’s often ruthless totem pole.
“I would also really like to get to a point where I can go on tour and break even on gas costs, tolls, food, etc,” Sandoz said. “I lost money on the only tour I’ve ever been on, but it was still great fun. Not having to worry about money and being able to take a longer tour sounds like an amazing experience.”
With many artists reaching for the fortune that comes with fame, Sandoz keeps relationships and artistry at their core.
“Financial sustainability is very important to me, but I accepted a long time ago that my music wouldn’t pay the bills,” Sandoz continued. “As long as I’m being creative and making meaningful connections with other people, I know I can be happy with my art practice.”
Take a listen to “To Love and Loss!” on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music and more.