TEN QUESTIONS WITH HEMLOCKE SPRINGS
The Hemlocke Springs universe has been summoning us for a while, and on the artist's debut album, we are kicked into gear, travelling through it full throttle, full speed ahead. Isimeme “Naomi” Udu a.k.a Hemlocke Springs has crafted a technicolour wonderland through her neon-drenched, multi-layered indie-pop sound. Springs' influences - including Prince and Depeche Mode - can be clearly heard at moments, but she has mastered making, as people on her YouTube have been commenting, music that no other artist is making right now... 'straight up magic'. We concur. Ahead of the artist's stint down under for Laneway Festival in 2024, we spoke to Hemlocke Springs about making music that sizzles with a special electricity and adrenaline.
We love your music, it feels and sounds so fresh and brilliant. How does it feel to have this project out in the world? What has been the best reaction/response you have seen to it?
Thank you so much! I’m so glad that this project is out, in an exciting way and also a “for the love of god, I’m so tired of listening to the same songs over again” type of way! I’ve gotten “you put your whole hemlockeussy in this”, which was interesting to read the first time around, but I dunno, now it has sort of a ring to it! Whoever made that comment, thank you (lol)!
Tell us about creating this project - what was your intention with these songs? What do you hope people take from listening to it?
Generally, I wanted the songs to flow into one another and the placement to make sense! I had to take some songs off at the last minute because they didn't really flow, which made me uber-stressed! At the end of the day, I think my decision was the right one, and I’m glad I was given some leniency! I hope people just have a reaction to it, whether good or bad. I would be sad if someone went about listening to the project and was like, “that was okay..”
Who have you worked with that has helped to shape the sound and world of hemlocke springs?
This was my first time doing collaborations, and BURNS was my first producer session! If anything, he made me feel confident in my sound and what I was doing, so I’m so grateful to him!
Is there a song you’re most proud of? Or a sneaky favourite? :)
A song I’m most proud of….? Honestly, I think I’m most proud of an unreleased song that I did. It has such a different vibe than what is out, and nearly was on the EP! I debate everyday whether I should sing it or give it away, but I’m proud I got out of my comfort zone.
You have received some great compliments from great artists. Who is your ultimate ‘hemlocke springs feat…’?
Oh man, I have no clue! I don’t even think that far ahead! I think…consider myself to be SO FAR DOWN the totem pole of artists that even the thought of reaching out or talking about potential collaborations makes me break into a sweat! I guess when it happens, you’ll know, but I don’t even know (LOL)!
Who has been inspiring you in music lately? What have you been resonating with/listening to?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Enya lately! Orinoco Flow is my JAM! I first discovered that song through PBS because they feature concerts from a group called Celtic Women, and they did a cover of it. That song is absolute magic, and instrumentally, how everything comes together is so beautiful! I want to create beautiful music like that!
We also love the visual world of hemlocke springs… what influences you in this sphere?
Life…in a way! I think that as I’ve grown older, everything seems a bit more dreary every year. So when visually thinking of hemlocke springs, I like to get out of that dreariness and make things a bit more ridiculous. Not everything has to be rainbows and butterflies, but certainly, not everything is grey and dull, no?
We love that you have just got a degree in medical informatics at Dartmouth. What has been the most interesting thing you have learned so far on this journey?
I don’t know how people who are or get popular in their field balance two things. For example, you’re a popular actor, and you’re in school...how? Or, you're a singer and are in school…again, how? I have since graduated and only went through balancing music and school for a little bit, and I was OVERWHELMED. That was around the time ‘girlfriend’ came out too, so things were so crazy. But, as I like to say, that was my “15 minutes of fame” moment. Imagine if people have to do that for months? Years?! I could never.
Aside from music, what has been something you’ve been passionate about recently?
I want to get back into reading for fun, so I’ve been trying to do that. My keyboardist Victoria gave me a book that she enjoyed, so I’m trying to finish it. It’s been nice, especially because now I can do things leisurely and not because I have to do some sort of book report on it (haha)!
Probably an album! There was a song that people bombarded me on why it wasn’t on the EP, much to their chagrin..they should hold onto that feeling…