Interview: Hazey Jane - Open

Promoting the idea that you can be your own source of inspiration, ‘Open’ by Hazey Jane is full of warm acoustic guitars and rich vocal harmonies. 

Ahead of their single launch show at Lion Coffee + Records in Clapton, London on 3 August, I had a chat to lead singer Bobby to find out more about how the band met, the perks of YouTube tutorials and their shared love for Nick Drake…

Interview by Annie Rew Shaw

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Annie) Hey, Hazey Jane! Can you introduce yourselves and tell me how you formed as a band?

Hazey Jane) Hello! We’re Hazey Jane – there are four of us. I’m Bobby (vocals) and I met Laurent (guitar) at secondary school. We entered a battle of the bands when we were 14 and came 42nd. The full band met at university in Southampton where childhood pals Paul (drums) and Connor (bass) bonded with the original duo over a particularly well-crafted episode of Later … with Jools Holland. Post-graduation, the band moved into a charming flat in Dalston. That’s when we started writing and performing in earnest. 

I love your new single ‘Open’. It’s the perfect companion to these beautiful summer days. Can you give us some insight into the story behind the song?

That’s very kind, glad you’re enjoying it! Summer vibes are a positive thing and ‘Open’ is definitely an optimistic tune. The song is intended to act as a playful reminder that outgrowing negative voices and listening to yourself is the healthiest process in the world. In this vein, ‘Open’ affirms that everybody can be their own source of inspiration. We’d be chuffed if even one person drew their own meaning and encouragement from that.

The artwork is beautiful! Who created it?

Thank you! We were very fortunate to collaborate with the incredibly talented Simona de Leo on this release. Her pencil sketch forms the basis of the artwork. The covers for ‘Open’ and ‘Lay Low’ (a single we released May) both feature expressive dancing figures – we shared this theme with Simona, along with the song, and she returned with this stunning interpretation! I hope I did it justice with my elementary Photoshop skills. I have a lot of time for instructional YouTube videos, the lower the production value the better. 

You’re unabashedly big Nick Drake fans… I love how you’ve developed that inspiration with a bigger, more soulful sound. If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

Much appreciated, and yes, Nick Drake is a huge inspiration from a songwriting perspective. I imagine many indie-folk bands would say the same. With regards to a contemporary collaboration, I can only speak for myself but Justin Vernon would be a clear favourite. Can you imagine! You’d be hard pressed to find a musician in our genre with more emotional gravitas. Everything he touches turns to gold.

You’re celebrating the single release with a launch show at Lion Coffee + Records in London on 3 August. What can we expect from the live show?

Yeah, can’t wait! Our last single, ‘Lay Low’, was launched at The Old Blue Last, which blew our minds. This time we wanted to try something different. Lion Coffee + Records is a cosy record store on Lower Clapton Road. We’re planning a really intimate performance with contributions from two of our favourite London based singer-songwriters: Jack Kaind and Jennifer Kamikazi. We hope this will give everyone a chance to connect with the new tunes before belting along to the old ones. Very excited!

What are your hopes for the rest of the year? Any more music in the pipeline?

We’re really looking forward to our festival appearances – they’re always a highlight of the year. Then we’re due back in the studio! There will definitely be more new music towards the end of summer… I don’t want to give too much away but we’ve got plenty to share. 

Pre-save Open here: