Catching Up with Hannah Georgas and This Is the Kit

The friends — and fellow collaborators of The National — talk quarantine and tours past.

Hannah Georgas is an Ontario-based singer-songwriter who, along with Kate Stables, aka This Is the Kit, sang with The National on their 2019 European and North American tours. Georgas’s album All That Emotion is out today via Brassland, and the new TITK album Off Off On will be out October 23 via Rough Trade, so to celebrate both, the friends caught up on how they’ve been faring in quarantine.
— Annie Fell, Talkhouse Senior Editor

Kate Stables: Where are you at the moment? In your house? 

Hannah Georgas: I’m in my house. I didn’t tell you, but I moved out of Toronto to this place called Picton. It’s about two hours away from the city. I found a cute house and it’s really, really nice. [I’m in] my little music room. It’s been a nice place to create and get some space. 

Kate: Was it a post-lockdown move? I don’t even know what the situation’s been like in Canada.

Hannah: Kind of. We’re still all in lockdown — I guess we’re in Phase 3 of things so things are slowly opening up. I haven’t felt super comfortable doing too much, so I’ve been keeping safe at home for the most part. Did you have a lot of things to cancel? 

Kate: Not really. Summer festivals got cancelled, and finishing mixing the album got changed — instead of going and doing it with Josh [Kaufman, producer] we just did it sort of remotely. 

Hannah: Has that been challenging? 

Kate: Yeah, it was different. I thought it was less efficient than being in a room with someone. But he’s brilliant and really good at dealing with it all. 

Hannah: Cool. So everything is all mixed and ready to go?

Kate: Yeah, exactly. And same for you!

Hannah: It’s true! 

Kate: You just had a single out? 

Hannah: I do, yesterday a single came out, and that’s fun. It’s been fun to release music even through these times. I feel like it’s always a good thing, and refreshing. It’s been kind of interesting trying to figure out how to untether touring from everything.

Kate: So did you have loads of gigs cancelled? 

Hannah: I had a European tour in April that was cancelled, and then same as you, summer shows, and we were planning a big fall tour. Right now we have a tour kind of on the books for next February, but I’m thinking that might not happen. 

Kate: Same here. Things are “confirmed,” or whatever the midway is between pen and penciled in — colored penciled in. [Laughs.] But it might not happen. 

Hannah: But yeah, I think there’s lot of good things coming out of it. 

Kate: That’s nice, as the new music comes out — because there’s always a delay between finishing the album and when the tracks come out — you a get a little memory lane buzz. 

Hannah: Totally.

Kate: I’ve been enjoying watching your videos because it looks like it might be a memory lane buzz for you, but it’s also little bits of memory lane buzz for me. The videos are really lush, I love them.

Hannah: Thank you. Your song has been on repeat in the house — I’ve been listening to your music so much. I wanted to ask you actually: Do you think a lot about vocal mics and what you use for your voice? Because your vocals always sound so amazing recorded.

Kate: Recorded is always the engineer’s call. I don’t know enough to have a strong opinion on it.

Hannah: I never do either, but I’m just wondering because I’m like, What the heck, it sounds so good! You sound so good. 

Kate: [Laughs.] I think that comes down to Dan and Josh. You sound good, Hannah, what mics have you been using? 

Hannah: [Laughs.] Oh my gosh.

Kate: Oh my gosh indeed. I can’t remember what the last time we saw each other was. What was the last show? 

Hannah: December? We were in Germany. 

Kate: [Wistfully] Germany in December. 

Hannah: Remember we went to that crazy pool?

Kate: [Laughs.] In Stuttgart.  

Hannah: That was awesome — there were all these different kinds of pools and people could go naked if they wanted [Laughs.]

Kate: We suddenly found ourselves in a naked co-ed sauna zone. I don’t remember anything about the gig, but I remember our adventure was great. 

Hannah: That’s such a fun thing to do on the road, find places like that to relax. Finding a good sauna and steam is something that we really liked. 

Kate: Yeah, but more relaxing when it’s not loads of naked men. [Laughs.]

Hannah: Yeah, exactly, that was really weird. 

Kate: The only females in our swimming costumes feeling a bit square, but also a bit creeped out. 

Hannah: That was our last time, but then you and I met in Vancouver — we met the day I sang my first show with [The National]. 

Kate: I remember seeing you in the hotel lobby and thinking, I think that’s her. [Laughs.] I feel like we were wearing sort of the same clothes that day too.

Hannah: I think so. Remember the day that we that we switched outfits?

Kate: And no one noticed.

Hannah: Nobody knew. 

Kate: No one could have cared less. [Laughs.] I feel like there’s other things I want to ask you about what you’ve been doing.

Hannah: Ask me!

Kate: Have you been watching anything good on the telly? 

Hannah: I’ve been watching this show Insecure. It’s really good, it’s like a comedy-drama. The soundtrack is absolutely amazing. Amy Schumer’s new about her pregnancy — she got so sick during her pregnancy and she just filmed the whole nine months, and [the process of] her trying to film a new special. It’s really good. What have you been watching?

Kate: Most recently I’ve been watching I May Destroy You — have you heard about that? It’s brilliant.

Hannah: What’s it about? 

Kate: It’s Michaela Coel, she wrote and stars in it. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a very multifaceted, tangly, complicated, fractal examination of consent and people’s different experiences with the concept of consent. It’s kind of set around one person, this thing that happens to them and life afterwards. I really recommend it. A bit upsetting, but also really inspiring and great. 

Hannah: I was watching a lot of crime mysteries, true story disturbing things, and I was having a lot of bad dreams, but I really like watching it. I live across the street from a graveyard and it’s gorgeous — there’s so many beautiful walking trails — but it’s also so quiet and dark at night, so I’m trying to be careful with what I watch. 

Kate: Nothing too graveyard-based. Graveyards are such a lovely place to hangout during the day. 

Hannah: I love it so much. I grew up across the street from one, and would ride my bike and walk around and stuff in it. It’s really nice. But I still get a little scared at night. 

Kate: [Laughs.] Understandable. 

Hannah: What else have I been doing? I’ve just been planning the record, and writing a bit.

Kate: That’s cool. There isn’t always time for that in the pre-record run-up, is there. 

Hannah: No, there isn’t. And there hasn’t been a lot of time as of recently, but I think when the pandemic first started I had a bit of it. I’ve gone in and out of feeling inspired and not-so-inspired. 

Kate: I can’t wait for your album to come out. It’s going to be brilliant. 

Hannah: I’ll send it to you. I really want to hear your album, I don’t know if I can wait until yours comes out. 

Kate: We can do a secret swap. It’s funny, the effect it has on me — it’s such a time machine back to seeing you play every night on tour. It’s funny what it does to your blood, when you have that sort of relationship with songs. 

(Photo Credit: Vanessa Heins)

Hannah Georgas began creating the album All That Emotion about a year after the release of her celebrated 2016 album For Evelyn — starting with an intensive process of writing and demoing songs in her Toronto apartment, and finishing with a month long retreat in Los Angeles. She began the record making process in the middle of 2018 when she traveled to Long Pond, the upstate New York studio & home of producer Aaron Dessner of The National.

The writing of the album found Hannah creating her most personal album to date. “All That Emotion’s album cover is an old family photo,” says Hannah. “I love the image because it captures this calm confidence. It looks like people are watching a performance and it seems like he’s diving in without a second thought. Similarly, I find that it parallels the approach needed within art. The calm confidence of expressing yourself without the thought of consequence, regardless of anyone watching.”

On the album, you’ll hear about bad habits and prayerful families — right and wrong love — mistakes and moving on — casual cruelty and most of all, change. Plotting the boundaries of where to place this music it’s emotionally fraught but warm & fuzzy. “An indie-minded avant-pop artist” was the Boston Globe’s formulation for her charms. Think of Fleetwood Mac meets The National; Kate Bush-sized passion with the earthiness of Cat Power or Aimee Mann. The album grows inside you and sticks to your insides. The songs are big tent anthems, rough at the edges but relatable.

(Photo Credit: Vanessa Heins)