Concerts

Hannah Beeghly of mlady Is Happier Alone

Hannah Beeghly of mlady.
Hannah Beeghly of mlady. The Salt Lick Denver
“Happier Alone, Fuck You” and its kindergarten-friendlier version, “Happier Alone, Thank You” is mlady frontwoman Hannah Beeghly’s take on the classic breakup song, even though she hadn't ended a relationship when she wrote it.

“Sometimes I feel like my songs are too specifically personal,” Beeghly says. “I wanted to play around with not doing that so directly.”

The popular Denver band, which comprises vocalist Beeghly, guitarist Austin Bourdon, dummer Sydney Jones and bassist Sam Paul, plays the Westword Music Showcase on Friday, September 9, at Gold Point. The band is part of the Salt Lick Denver collective and its associated record label.

“Happier Alone” showcases mlady’s lush, layered sound, which evokes dream-pop bands such as Beach House. Beeghly says the bones for the song came about quickly while she was messing around on her guitar one day, thinking about how to turn a feeling into a story.

“I feel like those feelings I’ve definitely felt, like texting a person and not being sure if they are ever going to text you back again,” she says. “The feeling of things ending and finality. Those are things I’ve related to, and I wanted to say it from my point of view.”



Beeghly adds that the lyrics she writes often seem to involve emotions and thoughts lurking in her subconscious. It’s a way to clear them from her mind and be a healthier person in the process. “With some of my songs I feel, ‘This was completely random,' and then a year later I’m in therapy saying the exact same lyrics,” she says. “I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh, maybe in a year I’ll have the realization that my subconscious meant certain parts of it.”

Bourdon says he likes how Beeghly sings "Thank you" throughout the song and saves “Fuck you” for the very end. It makes him curious about the sentiment expressed in the lyrics and its exact meaning. “Whenever I hear it, I think of it in a way like, 'Is that like a sarcastic thank-you or is it both? I-thank-you-for-this-now-fuck-off type of thing?' I don’t know,” he says.

“In my mind,” Beeghly chimes in, “It’s like, 'I’m fine. Thank you.'”

“So it’s really a fuck-you every time?,” he asks.

“Yeah, but [with] the idea that you’re kind of anticipating it and don’t pull it out until the end,” answers Beeghly.

Bourdon adds that the song was fun to compose, though the process diverged somewhat from the average mlady song, as it wasn’t written for an album (it does appear on From My Living Room, a collection of demos of released and unreleased songs). Beeghly brought a somewhat complete idea that she’d written on an acoustic guitar, and Bourdon added electric lines to it.

“The electric lines are pretty different than what I would normally do,” he says. “I think they took some more abstract thinking to get there. It was more of an effort to really set the vibe than [it was with] other works in the past.”

Bourdon adds that he was aiming for a Brian Eno tone — think “Deep Blue Day” — as he laid down the guitar. “It’s lots of low end and really smooth, rather than a really cutting and high gain,” he explains. “It’s more like an almost jazz-type tone that fits the ambient vibe a lot better.”

Beeghly adds that Bourdon’s guitar tone reminds her of sounds in “Hammond Song,” by the Roches and produced by Robert Fripp, who also collaborated with Eno.

“The tone of that guitar and the way it connects with the rest of the song has really inspired me,” she says. “Some of my stuff is less overall ambient, so textures and other stuff have been a delight for me to listen to lately.”

Mlady is big on sonic texture, and Beeghly says she looks for a balance and sometimes imbalance of texture in the songs, because “both can be cool.”

“I’ve been listening to a lot of ambient music,” she says. “Some of the movement in the song can be so slow, but just the tiniest bit of change in the texture can be so powerful and efficient at getting a message or feeling across.”

The band recently recorded a new single, “Baby Water Blue.” It doesn’t have a firm release date yet, but Beeghly says the song has some shoegaze elements with a cleaner delivery. Beeghly says the band worked with the Salt Lick instead of the Blasting Room, where it has recorded a lot of music, so it had full creative control. That can be good or bad, Beeghly says, but she enjoys the band's new direction.

“We were going for a watery vibe,” she says. “I kind of like the less polished sound we're getting now. I’m excited to switch it up.”

The Westword Music Showcase returns to RiNo on Friday, September 9, with free performances by dozens of local bands at nine venues in the area. Mlady plays at 7 p.m. at Gold Point, 3126 Larimer Street. On Saturday, September 10, more local bands will join national headliners the Flaming Lips, Saint Motel, the Main Squeeze and Cannons at three stages at the Mission Ballroom Outdoors; Cannons plays the Brighton Stage at 2:35 p.m. Tickets for the day are $55-$85; get more information at westwordshowcase.com. For more information on mlady, check out mladymusic.com.
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