React to ‘radiopassive:’ Behind the latest release of an artist from Notre Dame // The Observer


Michael Hanisch is perhaps best known on campus for his frequent Thursday night performances at Acousticafé or for his 2020 performance of Radiohead’s “Creep” at the “Keenan Revue”.

Self-taught guitarist and pianist, Hanisch started writing songs about three years ago. For Hanisch, songwriting is sort of a therapeutic art form.

“You put out on paper a lot of things that you need to get out,” he explained, adding that the writing process involves “pulling out this nasty stuff that needs to come out and trying to turn it into something. beautiful.”

“I kind of started and never stopped,” Hanisch said of his level of enthusiasm for the craft. “I play all the time. This is something I have to do. I don’t mean to say I’m addicted but it’s kind of like a drug, I feel bad when I don’t play.

Now a sophomore student at Notre-Dame with a few years of writing experience under his belt, Hanisch recently released his new album, “radiopassive”.

Its title is a pun on the word “radioactive”, Hanisch’s album explores his romantic experiences in high school, a period in which Hanisch said “[he] kinda let it happen [him]”And” was generally a very passive person. The progression of the album’s narrative reflects the trajectory one takes to fall in love and ultimately be rejected. In the album’s first three songs – “Boat Shoes,” “Stupid Together” and “IJWKY” (“I Just Wanna Kiss You”) – Hanisch masterfully portrays the characteristic innocence and infatuation of new romance. In “Boat Shoes,” Hanisch walks into someone’s free space with a new crush: he’s nervous, according to the song’s lyrics, but feels like he can talk to this girl anyway. “Stupid Together”, according to Hanisch, wants to be “more optimistic”, to evoke the feeling of “this first step, [when] you’re at a party and kind of let go of the inhibitions and have fun in the moment.

Hanisch considers the album’s third song, “IJWKY”, to be “the love song” of “radiopassive”. Indeed, the genuinely authentic nature of Hanisch’s lyrics is striking: According to his own account, the artist himself “thought the lyrics were really out of date and out of date and didn’t want to have to name the song like that.” However, he added that “all the words [he] wrote that it was true and [he] didn’t want to change it for a cooler sound, ”perhaps suggesting that part of the song’s authenticity lies in its relative corniness. As Hanisch puts it, the song “really captures [his] feelings.”

The tone of the album changes radically from a romantic first love to “rejecting in the worst possible way” in “Bleeding Ink”.

To explain this change, Hanisch explained, “a lot of songs make me try to guess what was going through his mind.” Specifically, “Too Close” would embody Hanisch’s feelings, including his retrospective view of this failed relationship. “She only loved me for my music,” he said to himself, “and [for] the image of what I could give him, the idea that what I produce is somehow more interesting than who I am as a person.

Despite “feeling conflicted about its release,” Hanisch ended the album with a track titled “Who’d You Think You Were?” – according to the artist, this song is equivalent to a cathartic “discharge of emotions”.

Currently Hanisch sees himself primarily as a student, but devotes the rest of his time to working on his music. “The plan at the moment is to keep writing and keep producing, and I hope that if a [of my releases] points out that I can produce a studio album, ”he remarked. “I want to play as many shows as possible.”

As for the future, Hanisch said the following: “After I graduate, I know I would be mad at myself if I didn’t. I want to take at least two years to really focus on music, maybe move to Nashville or Boston. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but at least I [will have gone] for that.”

Hanisch’s “radiopassive” is the result of rather modest circumstances, having been written, recorded and produced in Hanisch’s chamber. This “chamber album”, however, sums up the authentic music perfectly.


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