Sano Hill Interview: New Music, Love, Compassion And Remaining Hopeful

Singer-songwriter discusses debut single ‘The Climb’ from forthcoming collection and more

FFO: Alternative, Guitars, Singer-Songwriters

Evocative, poetic and compelling only begin to describe “The Climb” from Sano Hill. The lead single from the recording artist’s upcoming album, a rhythmic melody, expressive lyrics and Hill’s separate vocals combine to provide undeniable distinction. Through headphones or larger stereo speakers, the instrumentation, performance and production during “The Climb” are outstanding. But this is merely half the story.

The accompanying video for “The Climb” provides stylistic vignettes, often of Hill playing an acoustic guitar, a Fender Strat® and singing. The visuals, typically greyscale black and white with splashes of color, entirely compliment the 4:09 track. The skillfully shot and edited video, the song lyrics and music all drive home Sano Hill’s creative message, which includes being “…drunk on the wine of inspiration.” Hill’s motivation is also drawn from noted poet and painter William Blake.   

Despite widespread contemporary headlines that include unending effects from the global pandemic, political upheaval at large and Earth’s changing climate, Hill ultimately holds out promise for the world with “The Climb.”

Of course, musicinterviewmagazine.com gladly welcomed the opportunity for an interview with Irish-based multi-talent Sano Hill.

Musicinterviewmagazine.com: Congratulations on “The Climb.” The lyrics, melody and atmosphere evoke a bit of Romanticism and are beautifully sad and even sadly beautiful. The lyrics mention getting “drunk on inspiration.” What is the inspiration behind “The Climb?”

Sano Hill: “The Climb” is a song I’ve been living with and reworking for some time. Like most of my songs, it began as a melody I carried with me for a long time, with different lyrics emerging and never quite getting to the core of what I wanted to express. It began as a song of seduction but gradually evolved into something both darker and more hopeful. The experience of the past two years was definitely a factor, trying to come to terms with the enormity of what we have been facing, including the impact of climate change, seeking meaning, understanding and hoping ultimately that we can all overcome. It may seem cliched or soppy to say but I genuinely believe love and compassion will be central to this and that’s what I try to communicate in the song.

The video for “The Climb” is magnificently creative. You worked with media artist El Putnam on the video. How did that come about? Who provided the drone footage, moon imagery and outdoor photography of Laraweehan, Ireland?

EL and I work together in the university in Galway [NUI Galway] and I’ve been a huge admirer of her creative media work for some time now, particularly the imaginative way she combines and layers images and highlights perhaps overlooked details. So when I decided I needed a video for “The Climb,” EL was the first person who came to mind. I had the idea of the play of darkness and light and William Blake’s extraordinary images as a basis for the video. EL then did her magic to provide a coherent overall feel and development to the work. The drone footage was shot by my brother, Adrian, around an area I grew up in. Another brother, Niall, took the stunning shot of dawn over that area and the moon imagery was shot by my partner Anne. So, as you can see, the video was a real family and friends’ collaboration.

“The Climb” is from a forthcoming album. Can you tell us a little about the project?

The album is almost ready. There are 11 tracks in total that partly chart the course of a relationship but also touch on broader themes and concerns, as in “The Climb.” The songs were initially developed  and demoed in a shed behind my house where I set up a small home studio some years ago. I also did some recording in Windmill Studios in Dublin and collaborated on the production with leading Irish producer Larry Hogan, from Dublin Studio Hub. The plan is to release the album in the second half of 2022 following the release of a number of singles to build up interest in the sound and the overall project. At present, the working title of the album is If Not Now, When?

Who performs on “The Climb?” How about the album?

I perform the main vocals, guitars and some keyboards. Additional instrumentation was provided by Larry [Hogan] and he also brought into the sound some collaborators he works with in his Dublin Studio Hub initiative, particularly drums and percussion.

How important to you is the poet and artist William Blake?

For this song and video, William Blake was very important. I’ve long been an admirer of Blake’s poetry and extraordinary images and though from a very different era, his work seems to anticipate challenges we are currently dealing with in a rapidly changing society, revolutionized by new technologies that we haven’t fully come to terms with or adapted to. I had been reading through some later poetry, in particular Blake’s unfinished and unpublished The Everlasting Gospel and I was struck by some of the extraordinary passages, some of which is interweaved with my own words in the song.

What is next for Sano Hill?

So the next single will be released in early April. I’m a bit conflicted at present as to which song that will be, but I’ll announce this on social media and my Spotify page before the end of this month. The plan is to release at least two further singles before the album and then to return to gigging the songs and touring now that this is possible again.

For more, please visit Sano Hill’s official links.

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Paul Wolfle, the publisher of musicinterviewmagazine.com, is a web-based journalist who has written for several popular sites. Paul has a passion for connecting with a diversity of musicians who are looking to grow a positive presence on the World Wide Web.

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