Brighton-based dream pop act and JOVM mainstays Hanya — currently Heather Sheret (vocals, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar) and Jack Watkins (drums) — exploded into the national and international scenes with the release of their debut EP, I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, an effort that saw the British outfit quickly and firmly establish a sound that featured elements of dream pop and shoegaze.
Much like countless acts across the globe, back in 2020, the Brighton-based JOVM mainstays had plans to build upon a rapidly growing profile both nationally and internationally: they released their acclaimed, sophomore EP Sea Shoes, which they supported with touring across the UK and their Stateside debut at that year’s New Colossus Festival. But since then they’ve been busy.
Last year, the Brighton-based released their acclaimed third EP 100 Metre Sprint which featured:
- “Texas,” a shimmering bit of dream pop that nods at 70s AM rock, and focuses on the longing and excitement of a new crush/new love/new situationship
- “Monochrome,”a hazy and slow-burning ballad that celebrates the pleasures of life’s small things
- “Lydia,” a slow-burning and gorgeous track that continues upon their winning mix of 70s AM rock and Beach House-like dream pop.
- “Fortunes,” a slow burning track, which featured A Storm In Heaven like painterly textures, ethereal harmonies and deeply personal, lived-in lyricism.
- “Logan’s Run,” which struck me as a lush and brooding synthesis of AM Rock and lush, A Storm in Heaven-like textures. Fittingly, the track was inspired by the 1970’s sci-fi classic, which the band watched a lot during the pandemic.
Hanya’s newest single, the Theo Verney-produced “Amateur Professional” sees the rising Brighton-based outfit marrying their live show energy with their recorded sound — while further refining and pushing that sound in subtle yet decided new direction. Centered around a post-punk influenced take on shoegaze and dream pop that features shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars paired with angular and propulsive bass lines serving as a lush bed for Sheret’s gorgeous and vulnerable delivery singing ongue-in-cheek lyrics, “Amateur Professional” features the band’s penchant for rousingly anthemic hooks. But at its core, the song strikes at something deeply familiar for me — and those I’ve spent my adult life covering: The moral and mental gymnastics that creatives must grapple with when attempting to make a side-hustle viable in a consumer world that doesn’t value authenticity and constantly vies for every moment of our attention.
“‘Amateur Professional’ was written at a time when we felt our most cynical,” Hanya explains. “Trying to remain inspired in this chaos and constantly grappling with self-doubt is something every person experiences, and we wanted to explore that in this world of a ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ mentality. The track is about attempting to be a full-time professional in whatever it is you want, even if you feel like a lousy amateur a lot of the time. It’s a fighting song, for when you’re feeling like giving up.”
Directed by Sara Azmy, the accompanying video for “Amateur Professional” is a gorgeously shot and surreal fever dream split between the office drone working at the office to support themselves and their dream until they burned out and lost their minds — and their dreams of music stardom. That balance between doing what you have to do to support yourself and living your dreams can be extremely complicated.