Wednesday, 23 May 2018

INTERVIEW: Hazey Jane

It was a joy to catch up with the wonderful Hazey Jane chaps this weekend at The Great Escape. They're launching their new Lifeboat EP with a show at The George Tavern this Friday (last few tickets for that here) - I'm loving the title track which they released last week, especially the acoustic video I've embedded below! Check out my interview with the band below and keep an ear out for the EP this Friday. 


Hello! First up, introductions. Who are Hazey Jane and how did the band first form?

Hello! We are Bobby, Laurent, Connor and Paul. When in the same room, we make harmony driven, indie-folk tunes and work out. None of us work out. The band met at University in Southampton although Bob and Laurent started crafting Green Day enthused post-punk hits when they were 14.

From the name it’s clear that the likes of Nick Drake may have an influence on you - who else influences you as a band?

Nick Drake was indeed the greatest influence on our songwriting growing up. We emerged into our twenties from the particularly melancholy but inspiring haze he cast over so many Folksters of our generation. We place John Martyn, Joni Mitchell, John Prine, Judee Sill, CSNY (the list goes on) on the same pedestal, but Hazeyjane-Solidair-Blue just wasn’t snappy enough. Recently, the careers of Ben Howard, Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling have offered a lot of motivation and insight. Seeing bands like Bon Iver & War On Drugs live has certainly steered us too.


I was honoured to premiere the video for your brilliant tune Mother’s Lie back in November (and it proved quite the hit on the blog - it’s the fourth most viewed post on there!) What’s been happening in the world of Hazey Jane since then?

Fourth? Who’re those other three punks? Thank you for helping us get it out there! Hearing that people respond to any of our songs is a massive privilege and keeps us plugging away. Since November, HJ released Mirror View (our second single) - we played a sold out launch show for that one which was incredible. We recently got our mitts on a keyboard so have been writing a bunch of new tunes on that. Otherwise we’ve been keeping it real, preparing for our EP release and looking forward to a busy old Summer.

Your new Lifeboat EP is due for release this Friday - how does it feel to finally get it out into the world? How did the writing and recording process for this EP compare to that of your 2016 EP Us On A Wire?

Really quite good yeah. This collection of songs means a huge amount to us and we can’t wait to get them out there in the open. Us On A Wire was a folk EP. We recorded each song live with the help of two phenomenal engineers and mixed using analogue gear that we had no right to access. Lifeboat is our first step towards a bigger sound. We organically went for bolder chorus’s during the writing process and Jamie Dodd at The Animal Farm did a sublime job making the best of those in the studio. We owe him alot for the soundscape on the first three tracks. Rees Broomfield and Edd Thomas worked wonders on Grow and Losing My Mind respectively. We’re very fortunate to be working with such talented people throughout the production process.

You’re launching the new EP with a launch show at London’s George Tavern this Friday - what can people expect from the gig? (Beyond the brilliant support acts Me and the Moon and Dessie Magee!)

We couldn’t have hoped for stronger openers than Me and the Moon and Dessie, they’re both doing brilliantly at the moment and we can’t wait for their sets on Friday. We’ll be playing tunes from our acoustic, harmony driven catalogue before delving into heftier instrumentals and of course all the tracks from the new EP! The keys will be in tow so everyone will get a taste of the music we’ve been piecing together very recently … there might even be a couple of surprises in there.


What else do you have planned for Summer beyond this gig - any exciting festival appearances?!

We’ve got a couple of great festival opportunities this Summer. The absolute cream of the crop will be our headline set on The Den stage at Cambridge Folk Festival, where we’ll be sharing the bill with John Prine, First Aid Kit and Patti Smith. It’s always been an important festival for British Folk music and we’re very fortunate to be invited in. We’ll be at Greenbelt Festival in August too, another huge weekend with a couple of stonking headliners. Principally Pussy Riot! In terms of the very near future, we’re really excited to be at Hope Festival on Sunday 27th May! These are all firsts for us so we’re genuinely happy to be playing.

Talking of festivals… it was lovely to catch you for the first time in almost a year at The Great Escape last week in Brighton. What else did you get up to down at the seaside? Tell me some Hazey Jane go-to things to do when you’re playing shows out of town!

What a weekend. TGE was so much fun on Saturday, we played East Street Tap where we discovered top band after top band. Great to see our label mates Little Brother Eli live for the first time, they were sublime. We also played at The Brighton Fringe the following day, Dessie Magee was running a stage there so it was great to catch up with him. We stayed in Hastings overnight, classic fish and chips on the beach Sunday morning (Pam’s Chippy, represent). Fell asleep by the sea, woke up beetroot red. Plenty of beer garden action … I’m afraid the rest of the bands activities were far too moronic to elaborate here.

Finally, who’s in your headphones at the minute, who should I be listening to? If I could recommend you one EP at the moment it would be Franc Moody with ‘Dance Moves’ - 31 minutes of pure funk.

Too right, that is 31 mins of pure funk. You aren't lying! Right now we’re gladly accepting each installment of the new Ben Howard album as it comes. Three gorgeous songs so far, cannot wait to hear the whole thing.

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