By Morgan Cairns
EDMONTON – “Symfan is a pop project,” begins Hannah Haderlein.
After taking a break to focus on school, the beloved Edmonton synth pop songstress is back, and she’s brought a whole new album with her. Released June 1, Circadian Workout is the follow up to her debut album, Minibus. It’s a labor of love three years in the making.
“I’ve been working on stuff the entire three years, and finally I kinda hit a point where I hadn’t released anything, for a few reasons, and I was like, ‘I need to get something out as fast as possible, otherwise I’m going to get stuck and I need to move forward,’” explains Haderlein. “It was in December when I realized I [needed] to do that.”
Circadian Workout is the result, an eight track album comprised of bedroom-pop beats layered over lush synths, all composed to complement Haderlein’s entrancing vocals.
The album’s lead single, “DYWM” (an acronymn for Do You Want Me) is just one of the handful of dance tracks on the album, and speaks to Haderlein’s devotion to having everything “just right.”
“People seem to really like that song, and I’m really excited about that because that was a song I wrote in December and spent all the way up to a week before the album was done, hitting my head against a wall trying to get it to be a banger,” notes Haderlein.
“Finally I hit a point one day where I figured out how I wanted to process the vocals in a way where they sounded exactly the way I wanted them to sound, and I was like, ‘Yes!’ And then I released it immediately.”
While Circadian Workout is full of fun, energetic dance anthems, you’ll also find it has a fair share of softer, dreamier tracks. Contrasting the electro-pop vibes and earworm chorus of “DYWM” is the ethereal “Tenda,” with its tranquil beats balancing out its haunting verses.
“I wrote the beat first, and then I came up with the lyrics kinda impulsively because I was playing a show and I wanted to show off the beat I had made,” explains Haderlein.
“It’s definitely my favourite track.”
Rounding out the album are tracks like the moody ballad, “We Could Just Play,” which Haderlein says she wrote in 2015 and included on the album at the encouragement of her friends; title track “Circadian Workout” which is a tongue-in-cheek portrait of the artist “trying to get my shit together”; and the mellow electro jam, “Lookway,” which Haderlein had originally released as a single in 2017, but reworked for the album.
“Once I had gotten to a point where I had produced the first two-thirds of the album, and it was time to work on “Lookaway,” I was like ‘oh, I know how I want the vocals to sound now,’” explains Haderlein.
“I learned so much about vocal production through recording the album, because that was something I didn’t fully understand.”
She goes on to explain that a major feat, and theme, that came through the album is the growth she experienced, both musically and personally, in the three year gap between albums.
“The album I released in 2015 I recorded 75 per cent of on my phone. I would just go to a park and work and make these little beats, these little loops, and basically I just slapped a bunch of songs together and was like, ‘Yeah, good, it’s an album,’” she explains.
“I think the reason why it took so long to get this out is because I learned how to use the proper equipment… I learned how to actually produce something using more industry techniques. Like, I had never used an EQ when I released Minibus, and I felt really insecure after I released it because I started to realize how little I knew about actual production.”
With two albums and a whole new set of production skills under her belt, Symfan is ready to jump back in where she left off, and wont be slowing down anytime soon.
“I’m excited to see what’s going to happen next because now I know all this stuff, and I feel like it’s going to give room for me to be more creative in my songwriting process,” muses Haderlein. “My first release was when I was 19 and I didn’t know anything about the world, and I was so pure, and now I feel like I’ve learned so much. All the songs are about growth and self acceptance.”
Circadian Workout is available for purchase on Bandcamp and iTunes, and is streaming on Spotify and Apple Music. Symfan performs on August 16 at the Palomino (Calgary), as part of the BeatRoute August Issue Release PartyCircadian Workout, Symfan, The Palomino