Think Too Much
What Is Going on?
For New York-via-Texas teen Hannah Jadagu, the most impactful art is built from the simplest materials. Quite literally: Using only an iPhone 7 with GarageBand iOS, an iRig, a microphone, and a guitar, Jadagu recorded her debut EP for legendary indie rock label Sub Pop Records, the majority of the songs written while she was still in high school. “I didn’t have a laptop, but I wanted to make music,” Jadagu tells Apple Music. “It was out of necessity—and it was cheap and easy.” Luckily, it sounds anything but: “My Bones” is a haunting electronic meditation on racial inequality, “Sundown” uses shimmery reverb to articulate adolescent stresses, and “Think Too Much” is the heart of the release—delightful dream pop that dances in the face of her anxiety. “What Is Going On? signifies how I was feeling in June 2020—there was an influx of Black people being slain by the police, and at the same time, I’m going to college and [my music] was getting noticed by people I didn’t think would ever notice me. It was just so much,” Jadagu tells Apple Music. “With this EP, I hope people get to know me in 30 minutes. I hope they see a vulnerable side.” Below, she breaks down What Is Going On? track by track.
“I was sifting through old demos one day and I found it on a SIM card. I had been listening to a lot of Bon Iver and The 1975 at the time, so I wanted to make an ambient-ish track. George Floyd was just murdered, a lot of Black women were going missing, and no one could figure out what was happening. I just sat down one day and sang, ‘You could take my bones and play some home, they won't find out,’ because no one seems to care. Being a Black woman in America, I was like, 'Yeah, that's all there is to say on this.' As for the sound—when I go to make something, I just make whatever sounds good to me, and I'm always influenced by whatever I'm listening to. It's always a product of whatever I'm consuming at the time and whatever I want to try and say myself.”
“I was in my second semester of junior year in high school. It was around April, school was coming to a close, but there's also a lot going on: I was thinking about college. I was so stressed out with that coming up and felt like I wasn’t doing enough. 'Sundown' is when I started writing on guitar—just two chords—it’s pretty simple. Then I started freestyling over that, recorded it, and kept layering. I was talking to my sister—she’s a big inspiration, the reason why I make music today—and she was like, 'You should put “Sundown” last on the EP.' It needs to come right after ‘My Bones’ because ‘Sundown’ is like a flower opening. You can finally hear me.”
“Think Too Much”
“I was pressuring myself to make an upbeat pop song. Then I finally found some chords listening to Snail Mail's 'Pristine,' playing simplified versions of those chords, messing around with a capo. I finally landed on some chords that felt were rhythmically inspired by Phoenix and Dayglow. My music is very straightforward—I was literally just thinking too much. I asked my friend on Instagram via DM and texted people, 'What’s something you think too much about?' I compiled their responses and wrote my own take on it and added my own. I’m still afraid to turn 23.”
“What Is Going On?”
“The love song. When I first made ‘What Is Going On?’ it was about a different guy. I came back to it for the EP and was like, ‘Oh, this is so poorly written.’ It was a SoundCloud demo. But I knew people liked it because a lot of my friends and people that were paying attention to my music were reposting it. And so I thought, ‘Okay, I'll take this down and I'll rewrite it.’ The song is about being infatuated with someone and wondering, 'What is going on? What's happening here?' It’s that tiptoeing, early stage. And then at the end of the song it all crashes down. But then it resolves a little bit, because it's just a cycle.”
“‘Bleep Bloop’ I made as a senior in high school. Everyone wants teenagers to get over whatever is bothering them and move on. They say we're just complaining too much. But mental health is something that really needs to be recognized, especially among teens. If you ask a lot of people, they’ll say I'm very laidback, very easygoing, but whenever I make a song, that's when I just let it out. 'Bleep Bloop' is my version of ranting. The sample at the end is a voicemail from my mom. I was in Denver for my 17th birthday. I guess I didn't answer. She left me a voicemail like, 'Happy birthday, I don't want to bother you, but love you.' It’s a reassuring end, after all the anxieties.”