The National and Big Red Machine’s Aaron Dessner has recently discussed his new song ‘Hutch’, a number that he wrote in memory of the late Frightened Rabbit mastermind Scott Hutchinson. The song appears on Big Red Machine’s new record, How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?. It is the second studio album by the supergroup that also features Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon.
Tragically, Hutchinson died by suicide in 2018, and Dessner penned the track in the period following his death. In a recent NME interview, he said, “I wrote the music not long after Scott passed away, and I was, like everyone, so incredibly sad.”
Dessner continued: “I’ve lost other friends in the same way and every time you just wonder what you could’ve done differently. Could you have been more present, or checked in more? I spoke to him two weeks before that and he was actually encouraging me to sing. I covered a song of theirs with (CHVRCHES frontwoman) Lauren Mayberry and we were like, ‘Should I sing it? Should I find someone else?’ He was saying, ‘I love your voice, you should sing it’… I think he had a big influence on me singing on this Big Red Machine record.”
Dessner also discussed the heartbreaking emotions that abounded in the wake of Hutchinson’s death. It had a big effect of his own mental health: “It was shocking. As someone who’s struggled with depression myself, I know how easy it is to go into a tailspin that you can’t pull out of. Sometimes you do pull out of it, and other times people don’t – the line between tragedy and survival is quite thin. It’s an instant, it’s a split second in some ways.”
In the late singer’s memory, his family set up the Tiny Changes charity. The organisation funds and creates innovative ways to improve mental health services for young people. On a brilliantly upward trajectory, they are coming up to two years as a charity.
Listen to ‘Hutch’, below.