Krista Hartman’s new release Transcend
Photo: Kamara Morozuk
Music is about sharing feeling, and Krista Hartman's latest tale about sustaining love feels like the perfect track for our time of isolation. "I'm Your Garden" is the first release from her new album Transcend, a release she's marking with a single-by-single basis when the first track drops on all streaming platforms June 15. We caught up with Hartman to chat about quarantine, finding the right producer and how she made her new album.
New single June 15 on other services,
Ottawa Life: I understand you had to start and stop work on your latest music to find the right fit, so how did that process evolve and what led you to work with Jordon Zadorozny?
Krista Hartman: That's right. I had been recording in different studios for a few years, but I wasn't feeling the music. I was fortunate to have some professional ears in my French band to bounce some of my songs off of. The guys in my band really helped guide the search for a distinct sound in the recording studio. It was also Bernard Fraser's suggestion that I work with Jordon after we had collaborated on a single for his project known in Ottawa as Church of Trees. I trusted Jordon's ears because he has worked with some very talented artists and is an artist himself (Blinker the Star). I knew he wasn't going to let anything pass that wasn't epic.
OL: And what do you feel Zadorozny brought out of the music?
I felt a sense of openness working with Jordon in his studio out in the country near Pembroke. I was raised on an acreage and I really appreciated the space and process of driving out to a secluded area and honing in on the songs. It was just the two of us so it was a very peaceful vibe. Jordon can play any instrument, so that was perfect. He really helped me find the right songs to record (I had so many of them). He wasn't afraid to speak up and let me know which songs were worth capturing, that's rare because sometimes producers can be complacent in a studio setting. I love composing melody lines and using sonic references in the studio, Jordon listened to my ideas and my vision was brought to life.
OL: You've talked about your love of yé-yé and your time playing French music, so how do you feel that informs the work you do now?
I really loved playing with other musicians and singing in French in the band I was part of. I love the smoky and sultry vocals, the songs are usually very short and full of zest. I wanted to nod to that special energy on my record.
OL: I saw that you busked a lot in your early days, how did you start that while travelling and how do you feel it helped you hone your craft?
When I was 19, I went to Australia, but I didn't bring my guitar. After a few months of losing myself in my travels, I met a local who told me I should have his guitar upon hearing a few of my original songs which was such a generous offer. I quickly realized how much I had been missing the process of songwriting and performing for other people and I quickly remembered who I really was. I started busking and noticed that people genuinely cared to listen and were impacted by my original songs. That was a powerful feeling. It was also very rewarding to make money for playing my own songs.
OL: The video for "I'm Your Garden" has a very 90's VHS feel, I was curious how this concept came about and where you shot all the forest and footage?
I really wanted a vintage feel to the video. I found the two characters based out of South Africa through online footage and cast them into the video. The performance footage was filmed in Ottawa with Chris West and edited by Aaron Desilva. We shot the video on Dow's Lake. I wanted the video to tell a romantic love story, but I wanted it to depict a sense of flawed imperfection as well.
OL: How do you feel like the song's story of sustaining love applies to the confinement and distancing we're seeing right now?
I think the process of confinement that we are all experiencing, (being alone together globally) is so similar to the feelings of being in a relationship with another person. There's so much that goes on in a private relationship that nobody can ever truly understand, yet so many of us are involved in relationships. Relationships are their own puzzles to solve.
OL: I was curious about the choice to release an album single-by-single, and how you feel this will give listeners a different perspective on the record?
I am excited to release the record one single at a time because in the past, I feel like I have really rushed through the release process. This time, I want to be more vulnerable and share more about the stories behind each song, the songwriting process and connect with others on a deeper level. There are some deeply personal songs on the record that I feel deserve that time.
OL: Do you have anything else planned with the album's release and how has it been adjusting to life as a musician during quarantine?
My plan is to perform each song on the 20th of each month on my Facebook live streams. Adjusting to the quarantine has been a challenge. I don't want to over-perform or underperform online. It's tough to find the right balance. I am truly grateful that people are beginning to use the Paypal tip jars online. It really does make a difference to all musicians. I was able to film my music video with the funding from the tips that were sent my way though my Livestream. Some people are living angels out there.