Los Angeles-based artist Hana Vu makes her Ghostly International debut with ‘Maker‘, a commanding first glimpse into forthcoming material. ‘Maker‘ builds on the sound of the 21-year old’s previous work, 2019’s double EP Nicole Kidman / Anne Hathaway and 2018’s self-produced How Many Times Have You Driven By, with brooding, melodic pop driven by guitar and Vu’s distinctive contralto. For the first time, she welcomes a co-producer, Jackson Phillips (Day Wave), who helps Vu create an atmosphere with a deeper sense of luster, sophistication, and urgency.
Vu’s relationship with music began at ten when she taught herself to play guitar. She’d wake up every day and listen to LA’s ALT 98.7, home to ‘90s and ‘00s alternative rock; later in high school, she found the local DIY scene. She remembers, “A lot of my peer musicians were surf rock/punk type bands and so I tried to fit into that when I was gigging around. But what I was listening to at that time (St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens) was very different from what I performed.” Ultimately she’d do her own thing, keeping a journal of bedroom pop experiments on Bandcamp, including a low-key Willow Smith collaboration and covers of The Cure and Phil Collins, before catching the ear of Gorilla vs. Bear’s Luminelle Recordings imprint, who eventually released two EPs.
On new single ‘Maker’, tender banjo and piano serve as the base for Vu’s escalating harmonies. Overcome by remorseful exhalations, the song culminates on the lines: “save me oh my angel / are you angry / cos I’m not stronger and I crumble / oh that’s my nature / just like you.” ‘Maker’, Vu explains: “I am not religious but I imagined a sort of desolate character crying out to an ultimately punitive force for something more.”
The accompanying video, directed by Lucy Sandler, gives the mundane a beautiful edge. “I think we have a lot to learn from children’s versions of reality – their complete and utter presence in the moment, their curiosity and complicated dichotomy of fragility and bravery,” says Sandler. “In ‘Maker’ I want the little girl to speak to everyone’s inner child, and remind us that nothing has really changed. We are still allowed to feel lost and search for meaning in everything we encounter, that the journey may be long and scary but we will all end up back in the fold of safety eventually or just where we’re meant to be.”