Updated: Feb 10, 2021
Hope D is the unstoppable force making waves in the local music scene, passing milestone after milestone. The Brisbane indie artist has been turning heads and stealing hearts with her incredible talent and infectious charm.
Placing at #69 in triple j’s Hottest 100 last month with ‘Second’, Hope D has kept up the momentum by releasing her debut EP Cash Only. This seven track EP features four singles from 2020 as well as three brand new tracks: ‘Addict’, ‘Life Sentence’ and ‘Outro’. The title Cash Only was inspired by Hope’s tattoo artist who had the words painted on her nails at her first post-covid appointment. Surrounded by chaotic times, it’s the perfect metaphor for this collection of raw sonic confessions. Cash Only delves deep into themes of addiction, heartbreak, wild nights and self-discovery.
The opening track ‘Addict’ is a stand-out that earns its airtime with the artist adopting a grungier sound to chronicle her struggles with a gambling addiction as an 18-year-old. ‘Addict’ takes us on a journey through the vicious cycle of denial and self-destructive behaviors.
Hope shares, “Having an addictive personality and a huge love for the arcade as a kid, I knew that the shining lights and fruitful promises from the casino would be something that might be more than just a one off. The song itself is a real recount of when I was going through the very loopy and hallucinogenic period of time when I was becoming addicted."
Manic instrumentation transports you into Hope’s whirlwind of paranoia, delirium and hysteria. Chilling electric guitar and steady percussion accompany Hope as she shares her internal monologue of self-denial.
They say I’m addicted to the chips I can’t eat/
They say I’m addicted to the drinks I don’t need/
They say I’m addicted to pills that help me sleep/
But I can’t sleep unless I have them so does that make me an addict?
'Miscommunicate' is the perfect song to hang your laundry to, to drive around town at night and watch the city lights drift by, to stay up til 3am listening to on repeat - it's deliciously versatile and in my opinion, the track to end all soundtracked moments. With subtle hints of summer through shimmery synths, and notes of winter through chilled vocals - it's good to whack on the stereo and blast real loud all year round.
"I wrote ‘Miscommunicate’ to try and get attention from my partner at the time. I am not very good with my words when I have to talk, but singing them in this song was my way to communicating how I truly felt at this time in my life. I was purposely miscommunicating in order to get a reaction, and to jeopardise the relationship to deliberately make it bad before I had to talk out my feelings about it."
This is a song you can listen to and really think deeply about - whilst its still an absolute banging track, it makes you stop and wonder ‘Damn. She really went and put that into words, huh!’ Her knack for grasping at the most human expressions and nature of relationships, and for actually putting it into sentences and words that work well lyrically, is astonishing.
‘Life Sentence’ is the oldest written song on the EP, providing a vulnerable insight into Hope’s experiences navigating toxic relationships. The track opens with soft vocals and minimalistic guitar as Hope pleads with her partner to be honest with her.
Don’t you know there's poison in these shots/
But I'm not a vaccine/
But you are to me though /
I'm just a pill can't you see/
Just a worthless placebo
Hope feels trapped, frantic and confused and she fights battles within her own mind and her relationship. Guitars and percussion layer as Hope’s frustration simmers up to a hard-hitting emotional release.
Kiss me one more time and trust me this is fine/
Insanity's a sin and there's no repentance/
Fan favourite 'Second' returns as an extended version chock full of racous synths perfectly complementing her animated vocals, and weighty rhymes."'Second' is about a period of time in my life where I was going out partying too frequently and not being able to recall much from the night before. It emphasises the thought of wanting to have a good time for at least a second - but I was doing this for so many 'seconds', that the time added up to what felt like years of forgotten nights".
Hope D doesn't shy away with a gut-punching honesty in her songwriting and 'Common Denominator' follows suit. “I wrote this song about my first relationship, where we were set up by a mutual friend. I gradually realised that the only thing we had in common (and the reason we even met) was that we were both gay.” Though the top-line does highlight the comic nature of the idea, the subtext does present a more introspective perspective. Hope says herself,“I actually remember pretending to know her favourite bands," moulding herself to like this person at the time.
In her own words, ‘Swim’, her debut single, “tells the brutally honest story of the internal battle of trying to find yourself, and then hiding what you find, out of the fear of not being accepted”. A lining of bright pop guitar riffs and an overall jaunty aura masks a deeply personal recount of finding yourself in a world where you clearly don’t fit in.
'Outro' concludes the EP on a powerful note with heart-wrenching poetry. Hope grapples with her identity as a queer woman and ponders if happiness will ever be on the cards for her.
I fell into water ‘cos my head wasn’t in order/
My head and heart were numb and made of stone/
He said I have a choice with this/
I can just fake my smiles and love a man/
or else I could enjoy my life alone
Bass-heavy instrumentals erupt as Hope vents her frustration with close-minded communities who refuse to accept her identity. As the electronic chaos dies down, Hope grows to accept herself as worthy of love.
I no longer think I’m worthless/
Now my feet, they touch the surface/
and I know that I no longer have to swim
Cash Only beautifully captures pivotal moments in Hope's life and just happens to provide the perfect solace for young world-weary navigators - that they're not alone. This debut EP is everything we hoped for and more, cementing Hope D's place as an indie staple. Check out Hope's new tour dates below before they sell out.
Hope D - Cash Only - EP Tour 2021
Thursday 11th Mar - The Triffid, Brisbane (NEW SHOW) Fri 12th Mar - The Triffid, Brisbane Early Show: 6PM SOLD OUT Late Show: 9PM SOLD OUT Sat 13th Mar - Miami Marketta, Gold Coast
Thursday18th Mar - The Workers Club, Melbourne (NEW SHOW) Fri 19th Mar - The Workers Club, Melbourne Early Show: 5PM (SOLD OUT) Late Show: 8PM SOLD OUT Sat 20th Mar - Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide Early Show: 6PM (NEW SHOW) Late Show: 7PM SOLD OUT Thursday 25th Mar - Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney (NEW SHOW) Fri 26th Mar - The Hamilton Station Hotel, Newcastle Early Show: 7PM (NEW SHOW) Late Show: 9PM SOLD OUT Sat 27th Mar - Waywards, Sydney Early Show: 6.30PM SOLD OUT Late Show: 9.30PM SOLD OUT Sun 28th Mar - La La La's, Wollongong Early Show: 4.30PM SOLD OUT Late Show: 7.30PM (NEW SHOW)
Written with contributions from Ashley Naylor and Nicholas Robertson