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Hannah Fury Biography

Last updated: 12/05/2012 04:13:12 PM

Hannah Fury was born in a land of glittering white snow and dark, foreboding forests. When she was five years old, she moved to a land of perpetual sunshine and reflective sand. Though she enjoyed this new environment and found it beautiful in a conspicuous sort of way, she missed the cryptic and mercurial quality of her homeland.

As she grew older, Hannah became increasingly aware of the disparity between her inner world and that of the "real" one which surrounded her. To counteract the effects of this fractured existence, she began to dabble in the occult, the extrasensory, and the covert. Her efforts consisted mainly of attempting (mostly unsucessfully) to summon spirits, to levitate objects, and (with a higher rate of success) to concoct formulations for invisible ink. She became adept at code breaking and espionage as well as numerous other activities of questionable value.

During all of her formative years, Hannah also took refuge in books, immersing herself in fantasy worlds and the enviable lives of others. By the age of ten, she had read every Nancy Drew mystery and every torrid Harlequin romance novel ever published, as well as a substantial selection of classic literature.

When she was 14, Hannah fell in love and was unable to concentrate on anything else for the next several years. Despite this (or perhaps because of it), when she was 16, "The Vampire Waltz" first appeared to her in its spectral form. Unlike other fragmented melodies that she had previously received, this one came complete with words and a title. Hannah soon became aware that this was not an ordinary transmission, for, unlike the others, "The Vampire Waltz" did not retreat into obscurity after a reasonable amount of time had passed. In fact, the opposite occurred, and the song's presence became so persistent that it soon overwhelmed Hannah's thoughts entirely. It was then that she decided she would do whatever was necessary to give this apparition a more solid existence, and so she began diligently to teach herself to play the unassuming upright piano that stood against a wall in her parents' home.

Learning to play was a time-consuming and laborious process. Hannah never played when other family members were around, primarily due to a marked lack of technical skill which caused great consternation and bewilderment to those unfortunate enough to be within range of hearing. This made practice a rare, though impassioned (and noisy), occurrence. These clandestine moments of discord were snatched here and there, and after a few years, and despite the aforementioned absence of methodological refinement, she had become proficient enough on the instrument to complete "The Vampire Waltz" as she heard it in her mind.

The obsessive psychic gates having thus been wrenched open, subsequent songs were composed quickly by any standards, and an increasingly confident writer began to emerge. Still, yet another year would pass before anyone would hear Hannah's collection of musical and lyrical creations. Secretive by nature, and aware of the potential cringeworthiness of discussing "art," Hannah desperately wanted to protect this most personal and important of endeavors.

At the start of the 1990s, Hannah was fortunate to meet a kindred spirit. She fell in love once again, and it was this trusted individual who became the first to hear Hannah's music. As a result of the encouragement she received, Hannah began to imagine, in hopeful delirium, the possibility of allowing others to hear her songs.

Believing, as was the fashion of the day, that she needed financial and creative support from outside sources, Hannah recorded a four-song demo tape and sent it to several small recording companies who proceeded to ignore it utterly and without ceremony. Dejected but undeterred, Hannah continued to write songs, some of which would later become her critically acclaimed EP Soul Poison.

Constantly plagued by self-doubt, Hannah found this period to be a difficult one. Her devoted friend rescued her once again by arguing that music was indeed her "calling," and by pointing to the evidence of a growing catalogue of songs that had come to her fully formed, as if from out of the ether, seemingly with little or no effort exerted on her part. Citing an entry in the Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience, he implored Hannah to realize that the descriptive text within that hallowed tome mirrored her own creative episodes almost exactly.

Thus convinced, and with a growing suspicion that she was unsuited to anything else, Hannah began to feel that perhaps she was indeed fated to this life. And so, she sought alternative methods of reaching the public with her music. The timing was felicitous. Relocating to Austin, Texas, had allowed Hannah to witness the wonder that is Daniel Johnston. Being a devout listener of his renowned home-recorded tapes, Hannah was now able to see Daniel perform his music at small, intimate venues, and was all the more inspired by this brilliant artist, who had long been one of her songwriting heroes and who epitomized the do-it-yourself ethic. Coinciding with this was the release of Lisa Germano's Geek the Girl, a glorious work which was reported to have been recorded by Lisa and friends on ADAT recording machines at her home.

Technology and inspiration thus in place, Hannah set out to build her own recording studio. She purchased an eight-track sound recording machine, a small sound mixer and a microphone. This new equipment took up residence alongside a previously purchased digital piano in the small apartment which Hannah occupied at the time. With her periods of depression and hopelessness now often tempered by insufferable bouts of narcissism, Hannah got to work. During a few weeks in early 1998, she recorded her debut EP, Soul Poison, which was received most enthusiastically by the music press. Encouraged by the positive response, Hannah began recording her follow-up full-length CD, The Thing That Feels. Released in October of 2000, The Thing That Feels has received high critical praise and garnered Hannah's work a loyal and obsessive cult following.

Nestled at the end of The Thing That Feels is "The Vampire Waltz," an eight-minute anti-lullaby of love, possession and the loss of innocence. It is the song that put Hannah on her path and changed her life from one of arbitrary misery to one full of meaning, metaphor and personal mythology. It is this song that Hannah believes came sweetly to her rescue and to determine if she was deserving of the music that was to follow.

— Kansas Mayhem & Eudora Splinterglass
with additional reporting by Vincent de la Mer