Party images by Jess Gleeson //
Hayley Mary practically needs no introduction. Over the past decade we’ve gotten to know her introspective lyricism, wild live performance style and her unmistakable voice, so much so that when she announced her signing to I Oh You as a solo artist we had more of a feeling of relief than excitement (we were still pretty bloody excited).
From the first singles ‘’The Piss, The Perfume’ and ‘Like A Woman Should’ we quickly sensed her shift from enigmatic frontwoman to a fully-fledged songwriter in a way that seemed so effortless. Listening to the garage-flavoured EP closer ‘Brat’, however, there’s no doubt that the angsty rock and roller is still part of her DNA.
But what’s it like stepping out from The Jezabels, how did living in Scotland affect her songwriting and how far away is the debut LP (buy/stream here)? Check out Hayley’s answers belowalong with some pics from her Sydney launch event:
They make a point of resisting that ‘guitar music’s dead’ thing in the UK. They just have a thing for it. That encouraged me to feel like I wasn’t totally irrelevant because I wasn’t making electronic music on a laptop. I’m obviously no Hendrix or anything; I have only recently picked up the guitar and it shows, but there’s something about the energy it brings and the ideas that start flowing when you start playin’ a natural rhythm from your body and words come from your mind and they somehow make sense together.
I was in a naive position with both my playing and my location in Scotland and I always find that being in unchartered territory is inspiring. But there was also the balance of being surrounded by my own heritage (I am Scottish, though I grew up in Aus) which made it feel like I had deep roots to draw on and was tapping into part of myself I didn’t know I missed. The Scottish and the Northerners in general; their dark wit and their deep spirits and, passionate yet cynical ways, brought on by a bitter but invigorating chill in the air; I feel quite at home there. I was also getting up to serve Haggis rolls at 6 in morning and something about the grind made me think, gee I need to get back into music and the hell out of hospitality, so I wrote like hell!
I still don’t really feel I’ve stepped out and probably won’t until I’m into an album and touring more. Maybe the anxiety will hit when go more into the public and remember that the Jezabels is probably all I am to most people. I’ve been living a totally different life for so long now, hardly playing with the band, just working in cafes and bars, watching Netflix, reading, writing and and getting to know myself outside it, that I forget how big a part the band was to my identity. Guess thats ok, but in time I’ll be just Hayley Mary I’d say.
With great power comes great responsibility.
With great responsibility comes great power.
Firstly they are two of the best singers to have ever lived so in some ways they were my parents. They taught me how to sing. But, also, my dad listened to a lot of Roy when I was a kid and my mum had a Cyndi tape she used to dance to like a madwoman before they separated. Both did this alone when the other was out usually. Perhaps it’s my childhood desire for harmony between what were seemingly opposing forces in my life, because I loved it all. (That’s also why I love the song ‘I Drove All Night’ so much, because both artists sang it so well.)
It’s a bit of a wank to say this but I didn’t really ‘choose’ the title. It kinda just ‘came to me’ while I was half asleep one morning in the melody of the title track and I woke up a little drunk still and made a voice memo to be honest. It was a cracker of a line so it just seemed an obvious song and EP title too. And yes, now that you mention it it does kind of sum up the two sides of ballads and gritty rock quite nicely, doesn’t it?
Probably a whisky sour of some kind, or a martini with whole peach in it. And an olive.
I like Brat right now because it is upbeat and demanding, but honestly they’re actually all good.
There is definitely an album. There’s an entire solo career if all goes to plan.
Hayley Mary The Piss, The Perfume EP Launch shows:
Friday 20 March
Lansdowne Hotel | Sydney, NSW
Sunday 22 March
Mechanics Institute (Brunswick Music Fest) | Melbourne, VIC
Other upcoming live dates:
Saturday 1 February
FIRE AID, Lion Arts Factory Courtyard | Adelaide, SA
Friday 7 February
Volt | Ballarat, VIC
Hayley Mary solo, supporting Ali Barter