A Sort Of Homecoming: The Jezabels' Hayley Mary On Her Solo Plans
Forthright in energy and execution, Hayley Mary's recent track, ‘The Piss And The Perfume’ is a layered ode with equal parts lackadaisical nostalgia and the ripening side of pain.
As the lead singer of the Australian indie rock band, The Jezabels, Hayley surmounts a new posterity with the upcoming release of her first solo EP. There is this upbeat cataclysm of sorts that can be felt in both the track and the music video. It is still reminiscent of the tide the Jezabels swept and sang through; however, she has articulated a new sound and vocal association that is entirely her own.
We spoke on the dynamics that ultimately fuelled this decision to put out solo work and it strikes a chord in resolve with the path of unitary identity and the freeing association of voice and individuality.
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In times of transition/flux/chaos, where the dust is stirred and the light is bleeding through, the artists that grasp such intensity and create from it develop new saturation and emotive planes for audiences to engage with.
Mary wrote this EP after returning to Sydney. "I'd been away from Sydney and there's something about leaving your hometown that makes you have reflections on it and feel more fond of it. I wanted to do something like an ode to Sydney...running around the town, but not anything particularly famous like the harbour bridge, but just sort of the everyday Sydney spots that I actually missed."
A sort of homecoming is the backdrop of this first released track, although the word home may be a rather subdued frame of reference as opposed to the notion of environment, memory and being. She speaks of love, of wandering, of notoriety in this subverted haze of emotive angst paired back with pure joy.
Lo-fi scenes in the music video cut back to the simplicity of the mundane day to day places like a local bar, a stadium and empty streets. "The core of it was when I had just moved back to Sydney from London. I was living above a pub and with my current boyfriend and was a bit in love and that's a very exciting time to write songs... The pub would close and a lot of people would come back to our house and party till the wee hours. There was a lot of drunken/hungover memories in that era of my life."
She continues: "Sometimes it's a good space to write a song, the sun comes up and there's a certain beauty you witness. One morning I just wrote it in our sun dappled room full of beer bottles."
Hayley started playing music when she was a young child, writing songs on her father's guitar. Her process is compulsion and with this solo EP, which includes four tracks, she wanted to exude a lightheartedness within both the music video and lyrics.
The singer says: "I think it is a process of trying to become my most genuine self through doing what I like the most and hoping that other people will enjoy it. There's something universally appreciated about someone who looks like their happy in their shoes, and you can respect it."
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As the track oscillates in these patterned melodies of home and memory the listener is brought to a wistful and nostalgic tide. We talked about cultural influences, trauma, healing, sense of self all within the cultivation of home. Delving into home as authenticity and truth.
There is a pragmatic, yet fullness in the way her music showcases and expands past perhaps the first listen. "I'm quite a wanderer... home is a very challenging word for me, actually. For a very long time I never felt I had one and where I grew up I never felt at home. If I stay a year or six months in a place I am ready to move. Even in airports, truck-spots and the places you don't normally idealise in travel, I love."
"It harks back to this pioneering sensibility, feeling like you're on the frontier of something. Airports are one of my favourite places, I find them poetic in that they are neutral, but very emotionally charged. Everything could be happening, but on one level nothing is happening at all. I've also found that falling in love made me start to feel like I had a home."
I am drawn to the residue of memory in the environments she speaks on, they leave me feeling barren but in a remarkably subdued way that draws me in further as she soulfully laments, "the less that I have the more that I find."
Clad in an old school suit with an oversized bow, there is a playful nod to Charlie Chaplin, to humour and the nonsensical ways it touches and hides away upon pain. "I'm kind of into a little bit of theatre, sometimes you can find, like in the movement of Camp, you can be more real when you pretend."
This emotive juxtaposition that carries the track through to the end really highlights Mary's strength here as both a performer and a writer. She has an innate ability to seamless capture and utilise the earnestness of both the serious and the light: how to love, how to heal, how to dance, and how to be.
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Hayley Mary will release ‘The Piss, The Perfume’ EP on January 17th.
Words: Rae Niwa
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