Interview - M.Hofmann

Tasmanian-born, Sydney-based singer/songwriter M. Hofmann creates an alluring brand of Indie music that is bursting with layers of Heartland Rock and Americana. M. Hofmann debuted in 2020 with the release of his single You Don’t Have To Say. He then followed up with the release of singles Not There Yet and Dead And Gone. The releases secured positive reviews from Triple J and placed the talented songsmith on the map.

Hofmann recently bunkered down in the studio with fellow collaborators Tim McArtney and Charlie Finn to record his debut album. The trio played the majority of songs live, seeking to capture a certain energy, layering extra tracks as necessary. The album is peppered with nostalgia and self-reflection. Hofmann’s songs focus on themes of relationships, grief, and the rippling effects of mental health, all set to a classic Heartland Rock/Americana soundscape; where 80’s guitar tones blend with synthesizers and organs, and a harmonica can be heard echoing in the distance.

M. Hofmann's debut album Lavender Sleeping is out now.

- Hi and welcome to this interview. Tell us about Lavender Sleeping.
Hey! Thanks so much for having me! Lavender Sleeping is my debut record. It's a collection of songs from about a four year songwriting period that started up after I was taking some time away from music. I've been in bands and various projects throughout my life but this is the first time I've got to do something like this. It's been a really special process to undertake, and there are so many people I couldn't have done it without. Hopefully I can do it again someday!

- How would you describe your sound?
I would say the sound sits right in the pocket of Americana, with a lot of other influences. I love 80s guitar tones, that reverb-y, chorus-y tone, synthesisers and organs. All sounds that I think fit very well together. I would say there's a new-wave influence, as well as a lot of blues and rock.

- What do you write about?
I write primarily from experience. The majority of this record came from my relationship with my mum and the experience of losing her at a young age. The fallout and how that has infiltrated my life really were the catalyst for a lot of songs and probably will be for the rest of my life. But whilst the inspiration is personal, the great task is trying to make those experiences universal. I think that is such an important part of the process and some of the greatest writers are masters at doing that. I strive to get there with every song I write.

- What do you listen to when you are home?
My music taste can change with the wind! I'm usually just browsing through my records and put on whatever catches me in that moment. Over the last year or so, due to the pandemic, I've made a really conscious effort to listen to as many local artists here in Australia as I can. I'm currently listening to Tracy McNeil and the Good Life, Dominic Breen (both who released amazing albums this year), and Caitlin Harnett and the Pony Boys. I'm also really obsessed with Le Ren who has a record coming out soon, her new songs are unbelievable. I'm really looking forward to that new War On Drugs album too, that band is a definite go-to at home!

- Your favourite live performance so far?
So far our live performances have been pretty non-existent due to the pandemic and Sydney constantly being in and out of lockdowns, but we were really lucky to be able to play an album launch show in April. I had my full band and we played the entire album from start to finish, along with a couple extra songs. It was really fun, and my friend Lady Lyon and her band supported and we just had a great night. Luckily lockdown is about to end so we're very excited to be able to start playing gigs again!

- Tell us a funny story that happened in studio or on stage
I'm not sure how funny this is, but at one of our gigs I started our song 'Feel The Fire', which starts with me playing rhythm before everyone kicks in, and I put my capo on the wrong fret and played a whole tone down! I just swapped it real fast and acted like nothing happened! Although I'm sure everyone knew!

- Your favourite albums?
This is always a tough question. I will definitely miss some but let's try!
The Cure - Disintegration
Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels On A Gravel Road
Tom Petty - Wildflowers
Joni Mitchell - Blue
The Soul Album - Otis Redding
Stevie Knicks - Bella Donna
Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
The Smiths - Meat Is Murder
Taylor Swift - Red
I could go on but I'll stop there! These are at least albums I will always listen to at least once a week or so. There are definitely a lot more on this list though!

- A musician you would like to meet for a beer?
I'm afraid to answer this question as I'm of the belief of 'never meet your heroes', but there are obviously exceptions to that rule. I would have loved to have met Tom Petty, he's a huge inspiration for me and I think he would be humble enough that meeting for a beer would be a rather casual affair. He always seemed very down to earth and he's someone I love learning about through watching interviews.

- What would you ask backstage if you were the most important band on earth?
Hard to imagine something that is pretty unbelievable but also I'm not really sure! I think as long as I had my band and important people with me I wouldn't really need anything! Maybe if I could have a travelling group of dogs that would be cool! I really love dogs!

- What are your plans for the next future?
Here in Sydney we are finally coming out of a three month lockdown. Which from a career perspective was tough as I had just released the album and had shows planned and cancelled. But now we are able to play live music again, so that is pretty much on the cards for a while, gotta make up for lost time!

You can follow M.Hofmann through these links below.

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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