Perhaps it’s fitting that a first EP entitled Hello begins with a song named for its creator. “Mozart’s Sister,” the first number off this four-track EP is named after its soulful singer, and kicks off a fittingly honest, personal collection of four tracks. “I’ll never be more than number two…/but at least two’s better than three,” she sings, bubbly and self-deprecating. Mozart’s Sister, then, is the embodiment of greatness in the shadow of those larger, but not necessarily more superior, than yourself.
“I think the name [I chose] comes from wanting to find my own path, knowing I was a bit of an underdog, feeling [like]an outsider that was struggling to be heard in my creative collaborations.,” explained Caila Thompson-Hannat, the voice of the one-woman pop production.
“I had played in a lot of bands. I was constantly frustrated at hearing things in my head and not being able to manifest them through verbal communication with other band members,” she said, when asked about how she started this project. “So I bought a computer, something I had been somewhat opposed to at the time, and learned how to use it to craft songs.”
That investment certainly did not diminish the quality of Hello. “Don’t Leave It To Me” is vociferously melancholy. “Can’t we always be together?” is the album’s crooning plea. Every phrase hangs heavy, resonating with the strength of the tone behind it. The lack of fireworks, coupled with honest-to-goodness vocal ability, is what sets Mozart’s Sister apart. Sincerity and humility are recurring undercurrents. More than anything, they’re refreshing: “I moved to Montreal almost six years ago. I always wanted to live in Montreal. I remember visiting here when I was a teen and thinking it was the raddest place ever. I’m originally from the West Coast. Though I love Montreal, I am a proud West Coast Hippy Bitch.” Said Thompson-Hannat: “When I started Mozart’s Sister I wanted music people could dance to. So I hope people want to dance to it.”
“Contentedness” presents further verification of this songstress’ ability (not that the first two tracks leave you needing proof). While her voice is lovely to take in, it’s also significant and expressive. “I’ve been slowing down,” is the languid opener here, slowly sliding through in to “questions spinning on a spinning wheel.” Smooth lyricism and a voice that can handle it make for audible bliss. “Hey friend, hey there,” is spoken softly between two lines, interrupting quiet synths and drawing attention back to the strongest parts of Hello: voice and feeling.
“I picked the name Hello because I like how many ways you can say it,” she says, sincere as ever. “Everyone says it […] and it can mean many different things. I wrote these songs a while ago. They sound different to me now, just as the way you say hello to a friend sounds differently than if you say it to a lover, or to an ex-lover. Since these songs were written, I’ve had four different apartments, three boyfriends, and made a group of friends I think I would like to die beside. Much has changed, but the songs are the same. It’s seeing the same things through the infinite lens of a changing life. Hello said many different ways. Forever.”
Synth pop sparkle and a catchy, “I got news for ya baby,” gets a twist in “Single Status.” Quiet and low-key, the anthem of careless acceptance and nonchalance is accompanied by cheeky whistling and spoken with finality; “hello/I can’t come to the phone right now/I’m busy.”
“I’d call this record a digital lo-fi record. I like that things sound ‘digital.’ I think it’s cool. I made everything using ‘lite’ plugins, and guitars and keyboards plugged straight into the computer. It’s an extremely expressive EP; it runs the gamut emotionally. Whenever I try to make an even-keel record, I feel like I’m cheating, so often I go high and low. Mozart’s Sister is your friend, she understands you. Buy her record and then we can all hang out, ya know?”
The only complaint: while four is a respectable number of tracks for an EP, for a first record by such an intriguing, capable artist, four might not be enough to get to know her as much as we would have liked.
“P.S.,” she adds. “Everyone is adventurous when it comes to music, it is connective tissue between interior and exterior experiences.”
Check out Motzart’s sister on Bandcamp here.