Annie Hardy is Giant Drag

One would think that Annie Hardy’s musical beginnings came to fruition with her love of singing along to tapes and dancing in front of the mirror.  But really, it all started with a musical potty. “What really put the hunger in me, was when I was being potty trained. I had this baby toilet that would play music whenever I would go potty in it. My mom just told me about this toilet about a year ago and all of a sudden my life and self made a whole lot of sense.”
Less than a year ago I crossed Giant Drag’s “Hearts and Unicorns” off of my extensive record shopping list.  It was a strange April day.  One of those fickle first days of spring when it is warm, humid and the sun and rain trade shifts every hour.  This environment was perfect for the record’s fickle nature that was very clear to me after hearing the first few songs.  The opener, “Kevin is Gay”, is a quirky piece punctuated with cat “meow” melodies supplied by Annie.  But the record has quite a lot of somber moments to balance the humor.  Standouts being the jarring “Smashing” and twisted misfortune of the acronym titled “Y.F.L.M.D.”. Songs like the latter (and her penchant for not taking titling her songs seriously) earned Hardy a less than pleasing reputation.  She thought she was making a record that would get no media attention.
“The silly song titles came from me hating song titles and not thinking about the fact that these songs were going to be released and reviewed and what not. Maybe had I known “You Fuck Like My Dad” (Y.F.L.M.D) would be the main topic of many an interview I wouldn’t have called it that.  But naming the song helped finish the bridge so...the other ones were just plain fucking around…Although humor does appear to be a defense mechanism of mine.”
I find that quite a few of her songs seem to be more than half-hearted bits of just messing around with sound.  Fury as well as null states of emotional exhaustion are both present.
As a consequence of the media drama that Hardy faced with “Hearts and Unicorns”, she took the making of her latest “Swan Song” EP more seriously.  I’ve spent quite some time on the Giant Drag MySpace page listening to the title track repeatedly.  This was one of the most anticipated EP’s of the year for me.- Jocelyn

photo by Aaron Farley
Jocelyn: What was your first song about and what was it called?
Annie Hardy: I have two songs in mind that I wrote in boarding school.  One was a love song, even though I’d never had a boyfriend or anything close to love and the other song was a retort to someone saying I looked like Yoda, a you-had-to-be-there thing.  I can’t remember the first song at all but I remember the lyrics to the other one being something like “people say I look like Yoda, /and though you may think its true/if you want to see Yoda/go and watch star wars two/cuz Yoda is a green guy who doesn’t have any hair/and Yoda wouldn’t look half as good in my disco underwear.” Okay, I have the worst memory ever yet I remember this crap and every other crappy song I’ve ever heard? Awesome.

J: Do you write poetry and stories as well as songs?
AH: I did when I was a little kid.  I wrote it all, even made a sweet newspaper.  Not so much anymore but I do write a lot of to do lists, those make me feel good.

J: Do you have a favorite writer or songwriter?
AH: Not really but John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Neil Young are at the top of my list.

J: What music are you currently into?
AH: Nothing’s rocking my world at the moment. R. Kelley is pretty sweet.

J: What is your favorite record of all time? Why is it your favorite?
AH: I’m bad at favorites, really, really bad.  The best albums by my top three artist that I mentioned above are good, anything that you can listen to a never get sick of and always that, “Fuck, I wish  I could do that!” feeling is good.

J: Is music the only form of art that you like to create?
AH: I try to draw and paint but I kind of suck. I did all the little drawings on the Hearts and Unicorns artwork and that was a two week period where I had the ability to draw, but I could only draw my friend’s faces on animal bodies.  I’ve been drawing cats for like, my whole life and I still draw the same s***ty looking cat every time.

J: Do you play other instruments besides the guitar? Are there any instruments you would like to try?
AH: Yeah, I play piano, bass, xylophone and my favorite instrument to play is the drums.  Last year I got to play live with Icarus Line but I was only allowed to play two floor toms with tambourines taped to them but it was so fun. I wish I was really good at drums and tambourine, it’s harder than it looks and I admire Stevie Nicks even more for that.

J: You shared “Slayer” with the Icarus Line. I dig their version as much as yours. How did that project come about? Do you have future plans to work with them?
AH: Joe Cardamone wrote the song and I thought it was so beautiful I almost cried. we decided we would both put it on our records, I think we thought his would come out sooner than it did but that’s okay, I think for awhile Joe wasn't even going to use that song in the first place. He's one of my best friends and a lot of times he will tell me he wrote a song and I can have but I know better, he always ends up keeping the song. We do plan to work together on my album. Ever since Alvin Deguzman switched from guitar to bass he's turned into this Asian Paul McCartney, he's great. The whole band is very talented. The record they're almost done making is sounding really awesome. I've got some background stuff on it and I got to do a little engineering a few times when Joe was doing vocals since he has his own studio now, Gang Bang Park, it’s a great little studio with rad gear.

J: California is mentioned in “Slayer” quite a few times. Do you think your environment influences the feel of your music?
AH: Probably. I mean I didn't write those lyrics but they remind me of being on tour and just wanting to get back to California because you know you're almost done. Maybe if I lived in New York I'd write songs about pizza and nothing.

J: What I really love about your music is that several of your songs are kind of atmospheric or dreamy in a way but still quite grounded. “Smashing” is one of the standout songs for me. It is amazingly emotional because it captures the exhaustion of a relationship that is not working.  My mom heard it once and was quite impressed. She said, “Wow. That sounds like suicide.” I think good music can tell a story by the feeling it creates. That’s what the song, amongst others of yours, does.
AH: Thanks very much, that’s a really great compliment. You pretty much hit the nail on the head as far as what the song is about, being trapped in a relationship that you just can’t get out of and escapism and having a dickhead boyfriend.

I’m stoked your mom dug it.