DIY Spotlight: Susan Hyatt

Photo by Jenna Doolittle

After a short period with garage-rockers the Pandoras, Susan Hyatt formed the alt-punk band Pillbox in London in the early ‘90s, and started generating some great press. It should have done; the U.K. lineup of Pillbox was thrilling, both on record and live.

“I formed Pillbox in London during the 90s with two British gentlemen,” Hyatt says. “Pillbox was all about teenage angst and the raw feelings that I was still processing.”

By 2001, Hyatt had a new project—the new-wave/synth-pop-influenced Stimulator. A musical partnership between Hyatt and guitarist-producer Geoff Tyson, Stimulator represented the more mature side of her musical journey. 

Stimulator ended up on tour in the States opening for Duran Duran. Meanwhile, Hyatt found that songs by both Pillbox and Stimulator were being licensed to film and TV. More recently, Hyatt (now based on Nashville) reformed Pillbox with a whole new lineup.

“I try to maintain the authentic Pillbox sound by using the same musical equipment, including my Boss Super Feedbacker and Distortion Pedal, to recreate the ’90s experience for those who are too young to have been there.”

Pillbox recently released a new album, The Grunge Chronicles, which compiles their heavier, edgier material (“none of the pop stuff”). Hyatt says that the EP is therapy for her.

In addition to her music, Hyatt provides therapy and coaching for bands and artists. 

“When I was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 2017, as an artist who actually got therapy with my band, I was inspired to become a licensed therapist for bands,” she says. “Songwriting is about expressing your emotions and when you write a song you are being emotionally intimate with your audience.”

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