YouTube star Hannah Hart has parlayed the success of her immensely popular video series “My Drunk Kitchen” into a New York Times bestselling book of the same name, and has just released her memoir, “ Buffering”. Her personal Guest DJ set focuses on songs that reflect her life's struggles, including coming to terms with her sexuality. (Hosted by Eric J Lawrence)
Eric J. Lawrence: Hi! I’m Eric J. Lawrence and I am here with YouTube star Hannah Hart. She parlayed the success of her immensely popular series
My Drunk Kitchen into a New York Times best-selling book of the same name, and has just released her memoir, Buffering, another New York Times best-seller. Today we’re here to talk about five songs that have inspired her throughout her life as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. Hannah, thank you for coming down.
Hannah Hart: Thank you for having me. This is so rad. It’s like a dream come true.
EJL: Very cool. Well what’s the first track you got for us?
HH: The first track I have is #88 by Lo Fang. Lo Fang is a band I really, really love. Their album “Blue Film” is actually the album I listened to almost on repeat while writing Buffering. So I thought it would only be appropriate to play #88 first.
*Song: Lo Fang – #88*
HH: The feeling of the song…I felt it really encompassed what it feels like to be in, what I like to think of as, a downswing. That feeling you have when you wonder if life will ever be different from the way it is right now. It’s like mournful, but hopeful. There’s something in it that’s a little bit triumphant, almost as if you want things to be different but you don’t know how or when they will be, or if they will ever be. But you’re still hoping that they will be.
EJL: That was Lo Fang with #88. Well, what’s the next track you got for us?
HH: Ok. The next track is a track called Murakami by Made in Heights. I love this band, so kind of following after #88, this is like the next feeling you walk into, which is like “what kind of rhythm do you need to pull your life forward.” Any kid that grows up as a child of trauma or grows up in like a “dysfunctional household” or a household where you have a lot of unorthodox memories….there’s a line in this song that says “it’s just a story though/is it a story though/I can’t tell if it happened cause it felt impossible/don’t know whether it was real or a dream/imagination playing tricks on me.”
HH: Having to get the strength, to be able to accept the past is something that I think a lot of people try and avoid. You know, kind of those moments where you’re like, “well, actually this happened”. You know? And that you can still have your healthy, happy normal life and have survived through rougher experiences.
EJL: Right. Well, here it is, Made in Heights with “Murakami”.
*Song: Made in Heights – Murakami*
EJL: That was Made in Heights with the song Murakami. Well what’s the next track you got for us?
HH: Ok, so this is more fun. The next track actually really reminds me of my coming out journey. I came to terms with my sexuality in college. And this song “Cookie” by Dessert is, you know, it talks about that feeling of like “you make me feel like this…but I like it. Like I don’t wanna feel like this, I don’t wanna be like this, but I like it. You know? And you can’t help it. And so for me that was falling in love. I thought that I’d been so broken that I could never fall in love with somebody. And I repressed my sexuality so deeply for religious values that I just was like “well, you know what would be even worse than never having love, would be falling in love with like a woman, you know? Cause it couldn’t be that I’m just gay, right guys? Right everybody? Is that cool? Oh no.” And then I got to college and I met my first girlfriend, and we kissed, and it was incredible. And it was hard, though, because I didn’t want to feel that way, but I liked it.
*Song: Dessert – Cookie*
EJL: You know, so many love songs frankly do come from a heterosexual perspective. Do they still speak to you in that kind of way?
HH: Yeah, it’s kind of like you just tune gender out when you’re listening to a love song. It’s really just about the feeling. Now I’d be hard-pressed to describe this as a love song. It’s more of like a state, a mental state song.
EJL: Fair enough.
HH: But I think that a lot of love songs apply to everyone, you know, I wish we could all use they/their pronouns but it doesn’t really bother me. I guess.
EJL: Well, here’s Dessert with the song “Cookie”.
EJL: That was Dessert with the song “Cookie”, selected by our guest Hannah Hart. What’s the next track you got for us?
HH: The next track I wanna do is by one of my new favorite artists, Jack Garratt, and it’s called “Breathe Life”. One of the major points I talk about in Buffering is the process of trying to save my mom’s life which, for us, involved me conserving her, meaning taking over her legal guardianship. And the process is nearly impossible; meaning that the only reason I was able to conserve my mom was after years of planning, a month in the Bay Area with the court system, and the fact that I had the time to be able to go do that as a result of being in charge of my own career, being educated, and having gone through years and years and years of therapy. So all of those things…oh! And I’m kind of famous, so with that fistful of advantages, it was still almost impossible. And I listened to this song to keep myself motivated.
*Song: Jack Garratt – Breathe Life*
EJL: That was Jack Garratt, with the track “Breathe Life”. So what’s the last song you got for us?
HH: Well, the last song I have is “Truth” by Alexander. I believe in the power of just saying what’s true. And I also believe that there are multiple truths for multiple people, that this is my truth, this is true for me. And there’s a line in this song that says “My darkness is shining/your dar kness is shining” and it talks about how when all the lights are shining, nothing’s divided. And so I thought that that’s kind of a beautiful message for the impermanence of life, and the importance of just going out there and just putting yourself as honestly and authentically on the table as possible.
EJL: The way you started your career is with fairly new technologies with things like YouTube. Can you imagine what you would have been doing, say a hundred years ago?
HH: A hundred years ago? Not voting, that’s for sure, cause as a woman, I don’t know if I had the right yet. I don’t know, I mean honestly I’d like to believe I’d still be writing. I’ve written my whole life. I love writing. And, blessedly, pen and paper writing is something that no one can ever take away. And, in a weird way, I feel the same way about the way new media works. No one can take away your ability to tweet, nobody can take away your ability to shoot a video and edit it together, if you have that resource. With the advent of pen and paper becoming available, ink becoming available, the printing press becoming available, all these new forms of thought happened. And, in my opinion, this dawn of new media that we are having now is just the next iteration of that.
EJL: Well, here’s the song from Alexander, this track is “Truth”.
*Track Alexander – Truth*
EJL: That was Alexander with the song “Truth”, as selected by our guest Hannah Hart. Hannah, I want to thank you so much for coming down and speaking with us, and sharing the music with us.
HH: Thank you so much for having me! This is so great.
EJL: For a complete track listing and to find these songs online, go to KCRW.com/GuestDJproject and subscribe to the podcast through iTunes.
Photo by Lori Paulson