INTERVIEW: Hydra Lerna


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PHOTO CREDIT: Ellie Mitchell Photography


Hydra Lerna


THE first thing that strikes you about Hydra Lerna

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is that aqua-blue hair. The name, one imagines, derives from The Lernaen Hydra (or ‘Hydra of Lerna’). More often referred to as the Hydra: she was a serpentine water monster in Greek and Roman mythology. Small wonder there is something strange, edgy and eye-catching about her Hydra Lerna’s new single, Clean Like You. I was curious to know about that single and whether there was any autobiography. The Suffolk-based artist explains a bit – without giving away the gory details. There an element of Kate Bush eccentricity in the music of Hydra Lerna. I was eager to know whether there was any link and the artists that have inspired her. She talks about living in Suffolk and any plans on coming to London; writing songs that tackle darker and lesser-heard subjects and whether there are any tour dates coming up.


Hi, Hydra, how are you? How has your week been?

Hello! I’m hungry not gonna lie: my week has been lovely, thank you!

For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m Hydra Lerna. I’m a singer/songwriter/producer and harpist with blue hair and a love for dinosaurs. I write about dark secrets.

How did you get into music in the first place? Was music a big part of your upbringing?

I was the kind of kid that literally loved trying everything and getting stuck in.

When I was six, I thought ‘I’m going to write a song’ – and that was the only thing that ever grabbed my attention for longer than five minutes.

I guess it’s been keeping my attention for fourteen years.

Clean Like You is your sophomore single. What can you tell us about the background of the song?

This track is about trying to move on from a dark and dirty past and living with regret.

Is there any autobiographical relevance to the track or is it from the point-of-view of a character?

I have regrets like everyone else and ones that I am desperate to forget. I wrote this song from personal experience, for sure (I’ll spare you all the gory details).

Your music does tend to explore the lesser-penned, taboo and skeletons-in-the-closet side of music. Do you think too few songwriters are too unwilling to explore such topics?

I’m not sure, really. I guess some of the topics I write about aren’t really things that are talked about; so they’re not the first piece of inspiration in someone’s mind when being creative.

For some artists, it may not be great for their ‘image’ to expose the darker sides of their personality. I like it, though – I like the idea of people relating to my music on an obscurer level.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Ellie Mitchell Photography

Can you see yourself releasing an E.P. or album at any point this year?

I would really like to but I get so impatient with releasing things. Once I’ve made something, I want to show the world rather than hold it back.

Suffolk is your base I believe? How important is the area and people in regards your writing? Do you spend much time in London at all?

I live in south Suffolk but I may as well live in London: I spend so much time there and I absolutely love it – it’s just so expensive! The more significant musical opportunities are in London so maybe that’s why so many creatives gravitate towards there.

JP Cooper is someone you have supported in the past. What was it like working with him?

Supporting JP Cooper was an amazing opportunity. He was a really nice guy and his performance was literally flawless. Since supporting him, he’s been signed to Island Records – I’m so happy for him. His song, Closer, is my favourite and the music video makes me cry.

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I know your music has an electronic foundation but uses instruments like the harp. In the live setting, how do you manage to balance the electronic sounds with live instruments?

I have my Clarsach harp on one side of the stage with a loop and FX pedal and my laptop and Launchpad on the other. I flit between the two while singing. Sounds weird but come and see me do it live!

That being said, can we see you perform live anywhere in 2017?

I have some VERY exciting gigs coming up that I can’t announce yet, which sucks! Keep an eye on my Facebook page, though – I always update there first.

I know artists like Kate Bush are important you. Who have been the most inspiring and relevant artists to you?

I love Kate Bush’s quirky weirdness – I’m all about that.

I’m mostly inspired by strong women who are confident in themselves and their uniqueness like Grimes, Melanie Martinez; most recently, Lizzo. I love the attitude of Rock, though. I saw Lower than Atlantis in Norwich a few weeks back – love them.

The music of composers like Peter Sandburg and August Wilhelmsson plays a huge part in my life. Only when you listen to it will you understand why. It’s beautiful.

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If you had to select the three albums that have meant the most to you; what would they be and why?

Ok, make of these what you will:

Cry BabyMelanie Martinez. She’s just fantastic. Such beautiful music but completely unhinged.

She’s just fantastic. Such beautiful music but completely unhinged.

English RainGabrielle Aplin. Great songwriting; great vocals. I know all the lyrics and I never skip a track.

Great songwriting; great vocals. I know all the lyrics and I never skip a track.

Riverdance –  Bill Whelan. I just LOVE the music. Guilty pleasure since I was seven.

I just LOVE the music. Guilty pleasure since I was seven.

Who are the new artists you recommend we investigate?

Definitely check out HEZEN – she deserves to be huge.

After that, I dare you to listen to Ritual Awakening by Jenny Hval without feeling like you’ve had an outer-body-experience.

Have you any advice for songwriters coming through at the moment?

Write about stuff you can relate to. Don’t bother trying to get into the mind of someone else. The most powerful lyrics come from the deepest corners of your brain, and from emotions, you find the hardest to embrace.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song (not one of yours as I’ll do that) and I’ll play it here.

TokkaAgnes Obel

It’s a piano piece but makes me feel like I’m walking through a beautiful forest – but at the start of a horror film.


Follow Hydra Lerna

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PHOTO CREDIT: Ellie Mitchell Photography








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