There's a live video of Aldous Harding performing single "Horizon" at Auckland, NZ's Whammy Bar rock club in 2016. She fidgets and sways on the foreground, pulling at her lip and nursing a menacing stare, delivering lines like "I broke my neck dancing to the edge of the world" with blood-curdling articulation. The performance is downright terrifying in a sort of Lynchian way, the emotion palpable without any context. "That was the gnarliest version," she recounts of the performance. "I'd drunk five cans of Red Bull."
Party, Aldous Harding's 4AD debut, is a meditation of sorts: on love, loss, pain and recreation. The narrative follows a progression that feels kind of akin to molting, with her and the listener emerging after the closing track, "Swell Does The Skull," with new skin—raw and pink with change. Following many festival appearances and a national tour with Deerhunter, American audiences are just getting hip to the New Zealand songwriter—just in time for her to be working on new music, which she says she's been playing at shows lately.
We caught up with Harding—first name Hannah—before her Northside dates while she lounged in her Barcelona hotel room during Primavera Sound. Read our interview below, and catch Aldous Harding at the AdHoc x Brookyln Vegan showcase on June 8 at The Park Church Co-Op.
AdHoc: Your stage presence is intense. I don't have a better way of putting it, really.
Alduous Harding: Yeah, intense works, I'd say.