Music / Features
They Made Me Do It -
Talking Influences with Hachiku
Words by Conor Lochrie
Friday 11th December, 2020
Following the release of her long-awaited debut album last month, we got in touch with alternative-pop mastermind Hachiku (aka Anika Ostendorf) to dig into the influences that inspired the dreamy sounds found right across I’ll Probably Be Asleep.
Anyone with even a sliver of dealings with the Australian immigration service will be aware that it's Kafka-esque, and Anika Ostendorf, the leader of Melbourne’s dream pop outfit Hachiku, certainly does. One of the tracks from her new album I’ll Probably Be Asleep references it directly. ‘Bridging Visa B’ wryly observes the cruelties of being left in purgatory while awaiting the results of a visa application, as Ostendorf had to suffer; “Is this some kind of test / You’re obnoxious at best,” she tersely sings, radiating clear weariness amidst shimmering synths.

Such ideas of dislocation, uncertainty, and restlessness colour her moving LP. They are familial concerns for a person in their 20’s, not least someone whose path was as weaving as Ostendorf’s. Growing up in Michigan, she bounced around England, the US, and Germany during childhood. After studying in London, she moved to Melbourne as an exchange student. The pull of the city’s music community soon proved too enticing, as it has done for many others.

Now aged 26, after traversing as many obstacles as she has, Ostendorf is resolute and ready on I’ll Probably Be Asleep: it means that her regular backing band appears only intermittently on record. Released last month via Milk! Records, it's an intimate chronicle of travel, loss, identity, and growth. The album bubbles with wavy ambient textures and swims in dreamy rhythms. Hachiku’s sound recalls the lushness of Mazzy Star or, closer to home, the light touch of Thibault. Her voice is breathy and soothing, despite how anguished the words may be. An instantly relatable artist, I’ll Probably Be Asleep signals a talent who should be a permanent fixture of Melbourne for a long time.

We caught up with Ostendorf to find out some of the influences behind the album. She lists some excellent dream pop antecedents, as well as some more surprising inspirations, which you can discover below.

Youth Lagoon - '17'
Love the sound of the Wurlitzer here and how it’s really clean to heavily distorted attack dominates the energy of the song and is so powerful in its simplicity. I was heavily inspired by that particular sound in our song ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman’.

Beach House - ‘Dark Spring’ & ​Slowdive - ‘Star Roving’
These Beach House & Slowdive songs were influential in the making of the title track ‘I’ll Probably Be Asleep’. I’m not even quite sure what inspired me more – the music or their respective music videos (weirdly both music videos are black and white animations of geometric patterns moving in and out of shape that are very meditative and transcendental). I love the distorted 8th note guitar beat, dreamy guitar feedback, drum machines layered with heavy real-life drums and overall driving energy.
Kavinsky - ‘Nightcal’
This was my main reference for the first single of the album ‘Shark Attack’. The super simple, downtempo, almost dragging drumbeat that just pulls you along and makes your head bop in time with the snare hits on two and four.

Ratatat - ‘DRUGS’
Ratatat are my number one idols for guitar sounds which in turn must be heavily inspired by Queen. Their signature guitar sound is super compressed, heavily edited, almost synth like and I love it.

Nicolas Jaar - ‘History Lesson’
This song at 2 minutes 57 seconds was a very specific inspiration for two very specific guitar lead parts - the outro in ‘Murray’s Lullaby’ as well as the instrumental breaks in ‘You’ll Probably Think This Song Is About You’. The guitar has such an epic entry.

Blood Orange - ‘Time Will Tell’
I love Dev Hynes and anything he touches. The production on that song almost sounds broken - like someone who downloaded an mp3 version of the song illegally on YouTube and then re-recorded it through their phone speakers. He pulls it off and it’s so cool.
I'll Probably Be Asleep is out on everywhere now through Milk! Records - head to to order the album in a whole heap of different formats.