About this site

I'm Hannah Jocelyn, a music writer with bylines in Pitchfork, Billboard, Grammy.com, and many other sites. I also make music myself, under the stage name The Answers in Between.

In late 2020, with nothing else to do, I started a Substack called The Only Times I've Ever Known (a Billy Joel reference) where I interviewed musicians and wrote about… basically whatever I felt like. With a lot else going on personally, politically, professionally, I burned myself out. So when anti-trans writers swarmed the platform and even received money from the company, I was mortified... and, uh, selfishly relieved to have an excuse! (okay, that's a joke - I'm a trans woman, and it was just mortifying.)

After TOTIEK, I worked at Sony Music for a year as an audio engineer; after that, I’ve had a data entry job and a podcast editing job while pursuing mixing for others, music writing, and occasionally performing my own music. All the while, I’ve gone to shows, me and my N95 mask, making connections both friendly and professional with everyone I could.

When that Substack ended, I rarely did interviews for two years, and when I did I was incredibly guarded - the interviews were fine, but not very interesting. At one point, I nearly quit music writing altogether, but ultimately changed my approach to write about smaller artists instead of trying for the biggest get. The big things did come, eventually.

I feel like a lot of musicians are forced to talk about their identity in interviews, and that can be illuminating to read but also exhausting on the part of the subject — and the interviewer!

That was the impetus behind the main interview series; Nothing Deep To Say, after a line in Pictoria Vark's "Good For". It's a way to access the personal through the technical – I’m not interested in asking What It’s Like Being a Marginalized Person In Music nor am I interested in long tangents about gender identity (I mean, I am, but not in this context). In this case, I’d rather see into someone's Pro Tools session than their soul. Often, you get the soul anyway; who you are will inevitably inform your writing and your production, and I like to think the specific focus uncovers truths of its own.

My colleagues like Sofia Loporcaro of Before The Chorus and Joshua Minsoo Kim of Tone Glow (who I both admire) handle intimate interviews beautifully - when someone's speaking with me, I want them to geek out.

As for the overall newsletter, I wanted a Hannah hub of sorts, as I've been scattered across Xitter, Medium, and Bandcamp all year and wanted one official place to post everything I've been doing. Music journalism is falling apart, the music industry is getting worse every day – I don't think I can outrun it, but I want to do what I can both for myself and for lifting up artists I admire.

This does mean that unlike TOTIEK, Transient Peak will have light paywalls; bonus content, exclusive reviews, early access to essays. I'm thinking of bringing back Imploders from the old 'Stack and doing a series where I work my way through a famous artist's discography.

There are very few opportunities as a freelance writer now, especially for music - now, if you like my work, you have a way to support me directly. (You can also support me via one-time donations on Ko-Fi!)

Thank you for reading, hope you enjoy!