Premiere: Hank May Shares New Single “Patsy DeKline” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Premiere: Hank May Shares New Single “Patsy DeKline”

One More Taste of the Good Stuff Is Out October 15 Via Dangerbird Records

Aug 02, 2021
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Rising singer/songwriter and producer Hank May spent most of his 20s in New York City, stuck in a series of frustrating starts and stops as he split his time between writing music and working at the DIY venue Palisades. Following the passing of a close friend and a bout with draining artistic stagnation, May moved back to his family’s L.A. home. There, isolated inside his childhood practice room, he crafted the songs that make up his debut album, One More Taste of the Good Stuff.

May has already shared a handful of singles from the record, introducing his dark humor, quirky melodies, and observational style, and he’s now back with his latest track, “Patsy Dekline,” premiering with Under the Radar.

“Patsy DeKline,” on its surface, tells a semi-autobiographical story of May buying a new guitar from an aging musician. However, just beneath the chiming off-beat guitar work, May’s wry lyricism tells a deeper tale of fading dreams shared with a new generation. In the guitar, Patsy DeKline passes down years of hopes, dreams, and hard-fought experiences. Of course, not all dreams are made to last or to be treasured. Patsy DeKline offers up her long-held dream and, as May sings, “I bought a guitar I can smash on stage.”

May explains, “I wrote this song after buying some gear on Craigslist. I’ve come to see it as a reinterpretation of the rock and roll passing-of-the-torch myth. I want to be clear that I used my imagination to add fictitious details to an actual experience. One thing I left unchanged, however, was the seller’s stage name. I have also never smashed a guitar on purpose, but I would like to one day. As a matter of fact, if I achieve even a sliver of success in music, no one’s guitars will be safe.”

Check out the song and lyric video below.

Under the Radar also caught up with Hank May to learn more about the song and the upcoming album. Read our exclusive Q&A below. One More Taste of the Good Stuff is out everywhere on October 15 via Dangerbird Records.

It’s been a long road towards your debut record. How long have you been writing these songs and can you describe the path this record has taken over time?

The 8 songs on the album were all written after I moved back home to LA from 2017 to the beginning of 2019. I’ve been writing and recording and sharing music online since the myspace era, when I was in high school, so that gives me about 15 years of craft-honing time. During my early twenties, I found myself burned out on a certain type of lyric writing, where I was trying to write ultra deep and profound poetry that was way beyond what my age and my experience and quite frankly my intelligence level would allow me to write. Like, I wasn’t reading enough actual poetry to be as good as someone like Joanna Newsom, an actual poet.

So I started over. I lowered my standards to the floor and wrote and recorded 100s of songs. That frenzy of productivity eventually mellowed out, but not before I became a different kind of writer. Now I was writing more honestly about my life and my thoughts, and my friends could hear that more of my true personality was coming into the music.

Did being back home offer some new inspiration for you?

The exact moment I began putting the plans together to record my album was at a listening party for Big Thief’s album U.F.O.F. I went with Will Wiesenfeld (my childhood friend and first bandmate and BATHS) and while we were waiting to listen, he shared with me that he had recorded drums recently at our mutual friends the Hartunian brothers’ studio Tropico Beauty in Glendale. We listened to the Big Thief album and it was so devastatingly beautiful that I felt I needed to make an album, so right then and there I sent a DM to Phil Hartunian about recording drums at their studio and we picked a date. The 10 or so newest songs I had at the time were going to be the songs that would make up my album, and they were mostly about the experiences I was having in between writing them.

Every step I took from that moment forward I forced myself to take impulsively. What I mean is that something random would happen in my life and I would take that to mean it was a sign that I was on the right path. Since being indecisive and second guessing myself held me back so long, I was going to do my best work and trust the universe to decide everything else. For example, I played a show and a random guy who wasn’t there to see me gave me some very insightful compliments and suggested that I mix my album with Brian Rosemeyer. So I did and the album sounds great! And that’s basically the attitude that got me to my present moment and that I hope will get me to a semi-successful career as an artist.

You’ve described the record as “autofiction.” How much of the record would you say is drawn from real experiences?

That label was put on me by a very smart music writer who wrote my band bio. I think it’s great because it gets me off the hook with some stuff. I’d probably describe my style as “two truths and a lie.” The lie being that this is a song and I can say whatever I want. There’s nothing on this particular album that wasn’t drawn from an actual experience I had, but there are a lot of made up details and characters that are combinations of real people and fake people and then there are songs where to write them I put myself in the shoes of someone explaining their life and their problems and their concerns to me and so I use the word “I” in the song but in my mind, the real me is the one listening.

Drug use also seems to be a bit of a recurring theme on the record, even with its title (One More Taste of the Good Stuff). Can you go into some of the experiences that went into the record and how that emerged as a theme?

There are a lot of people in my life who struggle with addiction, myself included. I think the late twenties and early thirties are a time when some folks feel they have to make a choice about their substance use. I lost one of my best friends to an overdose during the writing stages of the album, so he’s in a lot of the lyrics. But I just feel very empathetic to anyone struggling with addiction and I always feel the urge to try to help them but most often I can’t and that’s a big theme in the album.

Can you talk more about the experience that inspired Patsy DeKline? What was it that moved you so much about buying the guitar?

I bought some gear from a lady and, since I’m one hundred percent nonfiction in this interview, I have to say it wasn’t actually a guitar (auto fiction). But that’s not the point. I think that anybody in rock or pop or rap or any popular genre is by definition kind of seeing how long they can make a childhood dream last. You never love music as much as you do when you’re young, I believe this. Music is my favorite thing in the world, and I love it so much that it’s not uncommon for me to get covered in goosebumps listening to Top 40 radio, but nothing in my adult life compares to how I felt about Oasis when I was 6.

So when I’m walking into the house of somebody thirty years older than me who is still an active rock musician, my past my present and my future all flash before my eyes and it’s very powerful. It’s like I’m meeting my future self and she’s meeting her past self and we’re both just looking at each other and going, “We just can’t let it go, can we?”

You said you’ve never smashed a guitar on purpose, but would like to one day. When and where do you want to smash your first guitar?

SNL à la Phoebe Bridgers would be great, but if I have to settle for Audiotree Live so be it.

With such a long road to your debut, what do you hope to do next with your music?
I am just now finishing the writing and demoing process for my second album and it causes me tremendous stress and pain to go out there and promote One More Taste of the Good Stuff when I’m sitting on something that is a thousand times better and cooler and more palatable to the masses. So to answer your question, I’m getting right back in the studio and making the thing they’ll remember me by.


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