Friday 7 October 2011

K&A with The Hazey Janes

You'd be forgiven for thinking it was 'Dundee Week' on Kowalskiy.  Following on from our introduction to newcomers Vladimir, it's time to hear from some Dundonians who, if their latest album is anything to go by, are very much in their prime... The Hazey Janes.  The Americana-infused indie affair, The Winter That Was, is their third full-length release and it's an absolute joy to listen to.  It's one of their rollicking power-pop moments Carmelite though, which is the first track to be released (for free here).

I spoke to Andrew and Matthew last week, and here's what they had to say for themselves.

Kowalskiy:  Who are The Hazey Janes?
Andrew: Live, The Hazey Janes are:
Andrew Mitchell: Electric guitar and vocals.
Alice Marra: Acoustic/electric guitar, keyboards and vocals.
Matthew Marra: Bass guitar.
Liam Brennan: Drums and vocals.
Matthew: We'll occasionally call in some of our talented friends to perform with us, for the album tour we're going out ourselves.

Kowalskiy:  Who are your main influences, and how would you describe 'your sound'?
Andrew:  There's so many musicians/groups and changes in our lives that have had an impact on us, it's quite difficult to narrow it down to just a handful here. Chords and melody are generally at the forefront though. I've heard 'Indie-rock', 'guitar-pop'... even 'folk-rock'.
Matthew:  I think we've been a band for long enough that we don't really have the same big musical influences that we used to. We're probably more influenced by each other, our friends and our surroundings.

Kowalskiy:  You're back with your new album The Winter That Was next month on Armellodie. What can fans, old and new, expect from it?
Andrew:  Brass, strings, choirs, reverb, melancholy, synthesizers, and, of course, lashings of distorted guitar!
Matthew:  It's not a massive departure from our earlier stuff but I think long-time fans will hear a progression. The songs are a bit more open-ended and open to interpretation. It's slightly darker in places which seems natural as we get older.

Kowalskiy:  What's the plans to tour the album?
Andrew:  There's still a few dates to be confirmed, but the Scottish leg starts on October 18th in Glasgow at the Captain's Rest, then reconvenes with a second run in late November, promptly followed by English dates after that.
Matthew:  We have a week of shows preceding the release of the record, then we'll head out again once people have had a chance to hear it. It's nice to be visting places all the way from Thurso to Brighton. The full list of dates can be found at our website -

Kowalskiy:  What would be your ideal gig?
Andrew:  Something along the lines of Guided By Voices, Deerhoof, St. Vincent and Philip Glass?
Matthew:  I'd have to go with us, then Julee Cruise and Chris Isaak backed by Sun Kil Moon. At the Roadhouse in Twin Peaks!

Kowalskiy:  What's been The Hazey Janes' highlight so far?
Andrew:  We've been fortunate enough to work with some exceptional producers and engineers in great studios, but one of the main highlights, because of what it represents, would probably have to be the release of this new record, I think.
Matthew:  Playing a sell-out show with Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles and Velvet Crush in Austin, Texas was pretty special. That and visiting New York for the first time. We never thought our music would take us there.

Kowalskiy:  In the press release from Armellodie, you're described as 'Dundee's finest exports'. Are there any other local bands we should be looking out for?
Andrew:  The city's always a reliable source of great musicians, artists and creative people: Avast!, Spyamp, Pensioner, The Stranger's Almanac, Rush Hour Soul, Doomlords... the list goes on.

Kowalskiy:  What else do you have planned for the future?
Andrew:  We've got a few ideas for the next album already, as in where we want to go from The Winter That Was - I think we'll probably start demoing early next year.
Matthew:  Yeah, we want to get on to the next record as soon as possible. We've also got a collaborative recording project in the pipeline which we're looking forward to.

Kowalskiy:  Any words of wisdom you wanna add??
Andrew:  Eh... I was once recommended Berocca and vodka?
Matthew:  Music is joyous and the rubber bit from a Grolsch bottle makes an excellent strap lock for your guitar.

I couldn't agree more. The music part that is, especially this album.  I'll let you be the judge of the other two!  You mix Berocca and vodka at your own risk though.  Sounds lethal!  Here's one of the standout tracks You Only Stand To Lose If I Stay to help you make your own mind up about the album.

The album is out on the 24th of October via Armellodie Records, but you can pre-order it now over here

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