Hannah Diamond “Reflects” on Self-Esteem, PC Music

The crypto-pop label’s marquee pop star drops first full-length LP.

Hannah Diamond is a pop veteran in cyber-years. Among the first signees to PC Music, Diamond helped establish the London-based label’s reputation—one defined by intentionally hyper-manufactured electro and cryptic musical personae. In addition to Diamond, there were acts like SOPHIE and QT, their helium-voiced tracks sporadically popping up on alt platforms like Hype Machine or SoundCloud. 

While the crypto-pop novelty of it all would generate demand online and a kind of black market of unreleased demos, PC Music has inched toward the mainstream since producer A.G. Cook founded it in 2013, with artists like Carly Rae Jepsen and Charli XCX recently echoing some of its fizzy, frenetic tones. Meanwhile, the label has expanded generically, incubating new forms of avant-pop like 2019 breakout cyber-punks 100 Gecs. But if anyone can claim to be the priestess of the PC-music quasi-genre, it’s Hannah Diamond, who releases Reflections, her first-ever full-length album, today.

Reflections album cover (courtesy: PC Music)

Here, we catch up with Diamond, who pulls back the virtual curtain, sharing her musical inspirations, self-esteem struggles, and what went into her years-in-the-making LP. 

V How long did this album take you, all told? 

Hannah Diamond It’s been a really long process, actually, starting around 2014 or so. I feel like there have been so many speed bumps and hurdles [to me] releasing my music… PC Music started out as collective, and releasing stuff was super straightforward; like, “Should we drop a song tomorrow? Okay, cool, lets go.” Gradually it’s evolved into a [fully] functioning label, which meant lots of growing and  and learning about the industry. That took some time, to learn how to put things out there in a legit way, versus just dropping it on SoundCloud, I suppose. 

V What were some of the initial barriers to your putting out music in that more “legit” way? 

HD I wanted to make sure the album was really coherent and concise, and that it was something really specific to me. And because it was my first one, there was quite a lot of pressure… I wanted it to be something I could look back on and be really proud of, as a landmark moment. Also, it costs a lot of money to do things really well, and to put together a really big release. 

My fans always joke that I drop one single a year and it’s always around Christmas and then they don’t hear from me again for another month or something. [Laughs] But that’s definitely not how I’ve been planning my music career or how I want to do it

V How did you get involved in the PC music label community in the first place?

HD When I was at university, I studied fashion, and then I started working at a magazine. I met a girl there who used to be on PC Music, and we became really good friends. Then through her I met some of her school friends, including A.G. Cook, who produced most of my album. I was doing fashion, and taking photographs of my friends, making these kind of faux perfume ad campaigns or trying to create these iconic “celebrity moments.” [It was about] creating these alternate identities for them, in away… And [A.G. Cook] was doing that, but with music. We sort of combined projects, and that’s how it all started… I was there from the birth, really. 

Hannah Diamond (courtesy PC Music)

V Do you feel like this LP offers a more fleshed out version of yourself? Was that a goal in releasing a full-length album? 

HD Yeah definitely. The album is one big story. On first listen, you might think it’s really centered around breakups and heartbreak, but for me the album represents all my growth as person: learning to have compassion and love for myself. 

Especially the title track, “Reflections”… I wrote it when things were really bad. Like I had quite a few losses in one go that hit me quite hard. I think I sort of just went off track a little bit and lost myself. I had really, really low self-esteem for a while. I was in a hole that I just couldn’t get out of. It felt like I didn’t have a reason to get out of bed everyday. Then one day, someone said to me, “Would you ever think about someone else in the way you’re thinking about yourself?” I was like, “God, no!” It was like a click moment, where I was, like, why am I [doing this to] myself? 

V The sonic quality of your music is very upbeat and bubbly… Do you think it would surprise people to know that much of it was inspired by combatting these negative thoughts? 

HD It has actually been quite hard to share all this stuff in my music… There were moments [of feeling] super embarrassed, like, “Should I be saying all of this, and giving this much away?” But I am so glad that I managed to turn those feelings into something that I am really proud of now. Hopefully any fans or anyone who listens, who has maybe felt the same things, can also find strength in my music.

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