Name the Pet

The definition of a self-made artist, Hanna Brandén does not only write and produce the music herself, her upcoming album under the moniker of Name the Pet, Future Now, will also be released on her own label. We met with the young musician to learn more.

We meet with Hanna Brandén, the girl behind electro pop act Name the Pet, in a crowded, noisy café in the south of Stockholm. Before the interview, the 27-year-old musician explains the urge she’s recently felt for going out clubbing again, after being absorbed in her upcoming album. Hailing from the small town of Gävle, Hanna makes dance friendly beats that would fit any hip dance floor in London, Berlin, or New York. The definition of a self-made artist, she does not only write and produce the music herself, her upcoming album Future Now will also be released on her own label. 

How did you start making music?
– I have always been listening a lot to music. I think it started when I was about fifteen years old, and became aware of my voice. Music teachers and friends told me that I had a great voice. That was why I thought it was fun. Then I started making songs, putting lyrics to instrumental songs.

You come from the small town of Gävle in Sweden, how come you moved to Stockholm?
– Before moving to Stockholm I actually lived in London for a while. That was right after finishing upper secondary school in Gävle. I don’t know why I moved to Stockholm. I like Gävle as a city, but I like to be where things are happening. Not that Stockholm is a super big city, but still.

Tell me about your new record, Future Now.
– Well, my first album was focused around the songs. I made songs and released it. With this one, I worked on it more as an album, where all the songs fit together. It’s almost like one long song. There’s a flow to it.

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Is there a theme?
– Yes, absolutely. The songs are about breaking up from something. From relationships, from jobs. For me, it was breaking away from the record industry. The difference with this album is that I produced everything myself. It’s taken me four years, it really takes that long. Just to learn how to use the different programs. And I released it on my own label. It’s a sense of freedom, being able to do things myself.

What inspires you to create?
– For me, it’s just a way to channel things. I work a lot with the beats, it’s like a puzzle. It’s so much fun.

Do you have any dream collaboration?
– I write material for other artists as well, and someone I would like to write for is Beyoncé. And I would love to produce something for Robyn, she’s one of Sweden’s biggest treasures.

If I’m not making music,
I’m still making music

Do you have fans abroad?
– Right now, there are a lot of people in the Philippines that listen to my music. I also have some fans in the States and in the UK. I don’t make music to get more fans though, I do it because I love it.

Do you think you’ll always make music?
– Yes, it’s one of those things I can’t live without. If I’m not making music, I’m still making music you know, she says laughing.

What do you like most with being a musician; performing, writing, recording?
– What I like the most is writing. I like performing too, but for me it’s a real effort. Sure, it’s a big job for everyone, but I think some people just have an easier time turning a song into a performance on stage. They have the artistry in them, it comes naturally. It doesn’t work that way for me. In that sense, I’m much more of a songwriter.

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Name one song you wish you would have written?
– I wish that I would have written He’s on the Phone with Saint Etienne. I was actually talking about that song with a friend the other day. Thinking about that song makes it hard to write music.

Where do you think you’ll be in five years’ time?
– This is almost like a work interview question, she laughs. I want to produce more, that’s where my focus is. It would be nice if my next album doesn’t take me four more years to do.

Do you think your music style has changed since you first began making music?
– Yes, I think it has. This is from my perspective, but I think the music is darker now; it’s not that radio friendly anymore. I think it’s because people didn’t expect anything from me. My first album was in the borderland between hit pop and indie pop. Clearly, the people who are still listening to my music are the indie crowd. The songs that have been the most popular are the ones I haven’t compromised with. My fans understand me.

Name the Pet’s album Future Now will be out on February 5.

Photography by Victoria Stillwell.