Hannah Firth

Hannah Firth

Squinked Records & Management

Squinked Records is a proudly women-owned and operated boutique artist management company and independent record label in Melbourne, Australia. Founded by Hannah Firth, Squinked has turned from her brainchild, into a community of like-minded creatives. Squinked’s goals are focused on building emerging artists, through education, empowerment and community. We aim to ensure that our artists are equipped with all of the relevant information and tools to ensure a positive and successful career.

Where are you based?

I am based in Melbourne, Australia! 

Where do you work? What do you do?

I do a few things. Firstly, I have a fun independent record label called Squinked Records, where my main focus is releasing music I love, alongside artists in a collaborative manner, to empower them to be completely involved in the process which has built a beautiful little community.

Part of my work at Squinked is also artist management, I am working with powerhouse trio Neon Goblin, it’s been so much fun. My also ‘day jobs’, I guess you’d call them, have been working with DRW Entertainment, which has been such an incredible experience thus far. We are an international promoter, a merchandise company and a record label. I get to go on the road, tour manage and work with some seriously incredible artists from all over. I also work part-time with an entertainment lawyer, on projects like Vampr Academy, SXSW (US) and Dedicate.Vip. It is busy but I thrive on chaos and pressure builds diamonds!

What are you listening to?

I’ve been listening to HEAPS of Full Flower Moon Band recently, after booking them to support Frankie and The Witch Fingers, LA psych rock legends for their Brisbane shows and then seeing them at Big Sound, I’ve been HOOKED. They’re loud, and energetic and demand your attention, perfect.

I’ve also been loving Heavy Amber, a three piece genre bending psych band from Melbourne. Kas and Sienna are incredible musicians and are really killing the local Melbourne scene at the moment.

How do you discover new music?

I discover new music mostly through gigs I’d say, nothing better than seeing it live and just becoming entranced. Other than live gigs, definitely Spotify, I know it’s a bit cliche but Discover Weekly playlists, Artist Radios and the playing on’s are such a good way to hear new things sometimes! I also think Instagram is such a good way to hear and learn about new music, to meet people and to connect. I guess TikTok too, but I am a bit behind there – mine is pretty much just cat videos.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services? Why?

I do listen to a lot on streaming services as I feel like I’m always driving, otherwise, I’m switching between Triple R and PBS, and community radio for the win. When I’m at home though it is definitely vinyl, nothing is better than being able to hold a physical and tangible copy of your favourite album or favourite artist and with vinyl, you have to be attentive and listening, you’ve got to flip it over and be present with it, it doesn’t often just turn into background noise. 

“nothing is better than being able to hold a physical version of your favourite album or favourite artist and with vinyl, you have to be attentive and listening, you’ve got to flip it over and be present with it, it doesn’t often just turn into background noise.”

Where do you do most of your music listening?

All the time. It’s almost weird not to have music on whilst working or at home or driving. In the office it’s always fun to go between ‘what do you want to listen too today’ and switching it up between everyone’s different tastes, which is another fun way to hear new stuff, even if it is mostly me forcing my love of psych rock, garage music onto everyone. When I am working from home I usually put my headphones on and the world is locked out but my favourite thing to do is play my records obnoxiously loud (sorry neighbours).

How do you find and listen to pre-release music?

I am lucky to work with a lot of cool bands/artists or have friends that make music so they tend to send me a lot of their unreleased stuff to listen to. Otherwise, I do love a premiere on blogs, radio stations etc. It is always fun to feel like you’re one of the first to hear something that someone has put so much time, love and energy into creating; creating music is such a process, a process that not many of us are even able to wrap our heads around.

“It is always fun to feel like you’re one of the first to hear something that someone has put so much time, love and energy into creating.”

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?

One thing that does really annoy me with digital listening is the lack of connection and personal experience people tend to have with music now. We’re living in a time where there is just SO MUCH MUSIC out there, which can be both a good and bad thing. A good example of how much it has changed the way people view, experience and connect with music/artist is the recent news of Steve Lacy and his tour, with everyone singing along to the first 30 seconds of his big song because its huge on TikTok, but then the rest of the show they’ve been quiet?! Like that’s insane to me!

I know for a fact the artists I work with put blood, sweat and tears into their art and it is hard to navigate through such a busy listening space, especially when these artists are putting their money, soul, energy and life into their work.

With such an oversaturated market where people can make music just on their laptops in their bedroom, it feels like there’s a lot of noise to cut through. I’m sure anyone can relate to those who work in music, I get sent a lot of music, and I listen to all of it and that again is only such a tiny amount in respect to what is being put out. We’ve recently hit over 100,000 songs a day being uploaded to streaming services, isn’t that wild!? There’s just so much there, every artist is fighting for everyone else’s attention and who deserves it the most? There’s only so much time in the day, but there’s endless music to listen to and the digital space has really amplified that. At the same time, it has allowed artists to connect with so many more fans in places they wouldn’t have ever dreamed so I don’t know, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword for me, love and hate relationship.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?

Make playlists! I honestly can’t count the number of playlists I have now on my Spotify, they’ve gone from having meaningful names to ‘…’ ‘,,’ to now just ‘SEPT 2022’ and then the ones I listen to the most are the put into other playlists I listen too regularly and for an extended period. Aside from that though, I am definitely an album person, I love listening through an entire album, so I tend to do that and get fixated on one for a little while and listen to that on repeat until the next one comes along.

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Do you tip other people off to new music? How?

YES! There is nothing better than sharing a new cool find with your friends, I love just randomly texting friends links to new great songs that make me think of them or something that I know they’ll love. Then you can force them to come to the shows when that band/artist is playing live. Win, win. Sharing new music is so important, collaborating on playlists, and sending each other a “song of the day” or “song of the week”, not only creates fun and exciting parts of relationships but damn you find some seriously cool new stuff that you might not have ever come across. 

Anything you want to “promote”?

Yes! I’m going to plug the UNREAL Melbourne garage fuzz sibling duo Bellhop (made up of lead singer/guitarist Harry Watson and drummer Bella Watson)! They released their introspective Tired Seagull at the end of last year and it’s a track for those that sometimes wish they could spread their wings and (literally) fly away. The track sees Harry take on the perspective of a Frankston beach seagull. If you’ve ever shooed away a gull that was trying to steal one of your precious hot chips, this track will make you reflect on the plight of our feathered friends, it is LOUD, FUZZY and takes you into the mind of a much-maligned bird!

Secondly, Neon Goblin, there’s so much exciting stuff happening with those guys and I am stoked to be a part of it right from the get-go, they’ve released Midnight Sundial with such an interesting release strategy, keeping it away from streaming platforms and it just seemed to work for them. I can’t see many other bands that could do something like that and make it work as well for them, the utmost respect for them and their art, but also DAMN their live shows are something else.

Hannah Firth: #HowWeListen interview from Byta / byta.com

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