Mike Hearn of pink wool press chats his incredible debut EP

Back in July, when Bunnaloo based artist Mike Hearn released his debut EP Clumsy, we were immediately on board. Now performing alongside his band pink wool press, Hearn navigates a captivating blend of folk and indie-rock to deliver a sound that we guarantee will warm your heart.

So we caught up with Hearn to chat about the EP, the formation of his band, and singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at his EP launch show.

A couple of months removed from the release of his debut EP Clumsy, we caught up with Mike Hearn of pink wool press for a chat.

HAPPY: Hey how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?

MIKE: Hi Bill, really great thanks, the band and I are just driving across to Geelong from a recording session in Ballarat. We are condensing down to a trio for a fun little gig at the Royal Geelong Show this afternoon. It’s nice to play to a local crowd now that I am living in Geelong, renting of course… I love avocados.

HAPPY: We’re really loving your Clumsy EP… how are you feeling about it now that you’ve had a little while to sit on it?

MIKE: Thanks! I was nervous at first, not knowing how people would accept the songs and even my singing voice. I have played plenty of kit on recordings in the past but Clumsy is my first release as the singer/songwriter. It’s been a couple of months now and whenever I listen back, it still surprises me how well the tunes have scrubbed up. We worked very hard on the EP, the recordings are now the product of all that time, thought and effort. Our guitarist, Tom Robinson, recorded the band at Homestead Studio and did an incredible job.

HAPPY: The EP was released as a solo EP, and you’ve since formed your band pink wool press… could you walk us through how the band was formed?

MIKE: Basically the guys in the band have been playing together under different aliases and working on each other’s music for years now. Everyone writes their own music with their own distinct flavours. I’ve always played the drums on their stuff and now I guess it’s my turn on the bike. It’s a collective. It’s really cool having a band that I know I can rely on and that I admire as some of my favourite musicians and composers. Shaun and Tom are tearing up next to me as I write this.

HAPPY: Do you feel like the addition of the band has changed the songs on Clumsy at all?

MIKE: Definitely. These guys played on the recordings but the live set has had a bit of tweaking. We have and want to be pretty versatile to suit the venues we play… for instance clarinet now features on every song, and for the gig we are driving to now I’ll be kicking a suitcase with a pedal providing the pulse for the trio. The arrangements we have currently are lovely and rich, it’s almost a distraction because sometimes I just want to stop playing and listen.

HAPPY: We understand you spent a significant amount of time hesitant to release an album under your own name… could you tell us a bit about this?

MIKE: It took until the age of 26 to feel comfortable enough to release music that’s me singing my songs. After playing drums behind writers and performers which I admire so much I felt hesitant to release anything. I love singing my songs and telling the stories, if it wasn’t for the support of my band mates, partner and family I probably never would have gone public. I’m glad to be up the front for the time being.

HAPPY: How did it feel once you did finally release your EP?

MIKE: To tick that first box is a relief. My fiancée, Anna Walsh is an incredible textile designer/artist and her beautiful work on the cover of the EP is a really special collaboration that we can now enjoy forever. I was mostly excited to post the grandparents a copy and show them what we have been up to, my grandmother has written a few books and still composes beautiful poems. It’s fair to say that CD players are a somewhat inconvenient way of listening to music these days, but I love that my grandparent’s still rely on their old stereo. I’m really proud of what the band, Homestead Studio, Anna and I have produced and I think we captured a few magic moments. Now that it’s done I can put my energy into recreating it on the stage and developing my writing in the pursuit of some new stories.

HAPPY: You recently launched the EP at Open Studio in Northcote, and it sounded like such a great night… could you tell us a bit about this event?

MIKE: It was pretty special for us, we launched Clumsy at Open Studio in Northcote, Melbourne. Friends, family and music in a packed room on a perfect afternoon, and we somehow managed to sling all of our CD’s. Lauren Hart smashed it as our support. The music was really well received and my megaphone batteries managed to hold out from dying until the end of night, which helped. The crowd wanted an encore but my 2-year-old niece was getting pretty tired, so we compromised and got every voice in the room singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star very sweetly. Everyone was ear to ear which wrapped up up the night beautifully. That venue and it’s crew pump through so much original music through the doors each week. They’re pretty cool.

HAPPY: Are there any other exciting plans in the works for pink wool press? Can we expect any new music any time soon?

MIKE: We are fired up about the next single. It’s called I Really Hate to Bring it Up Again and is to be released under the bands name in under a month. We have a hand full of new songs and are feeling really stoked about them, the band is arranging some gorgeous parts and I feel as though this music best represents my/our dispositions out of anything I have written to date.  We have also shot a neat music video to promote the new track, which captures some of the lush country out at Tom’s Studio.

HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!

MIKE: Thanks.

Catch pink wool press live at any of the following dates:

December 2nd – Drunken Poet, Melbourne
December 8th – ‘Vine Arts’ Restdown Winery, Barham (Clumsy Tour)
January 25th – The American Hotel, Echuca (Clumsy Tour)
January 26th – Gypsy Bar, Echuca (Clumsy Tour)
January 27th – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine (Clumsy Tour)

Clumsy is available now.