After doing a huge national tour supporting Katy Steele from Little Birdy, Brisbane musician Hazlett showcases his curiosity and amazing presence when it comes to writing songs from an emotional perspective. With his authentic and charming soundscapes brought in his latest EP release, Honey, Where is My Home, there are raw tones that are showcased among the songs, combining a smooth pop, indie-folk texture similar to the likes of William Fitzsimmons, The xx, and Bon Iver. In our latest interview, Hazlett shares with us the details of his recent release, why he traveled to Scandinavia to record music and the reason he looks up to Bruce Springsteen as a musician.
What was the initial spark that got you into becoming a musician?
I went to music festivals when I was fourteen. I went to one of the Big Day Out [Festivals] and I wasn’t playing guitar or anything at the time and it had a massive lineup. They had The Dandy Warhols, Wolfmother, Kings of Leon and I think Metallica was on that lineup as well. I was watching Kings of Leon and I was in awe and I was like, “Yes, I want to do that. I’ll take whatever they have.” That’s pretty much how it started.
So your debut EP, Honey, Where Is My Home?, I know you recorded it in Scandinavia, what drove you to create your music in such a different place?
I have a friend that lives around there and it was during the time when I gave up on music. I was sort of trying to get my adult life together. I was in that mindset that music wasn’t going to ever happen to me and a whole bunch of other things like that. I wasn’t really happy on what I was really doing and my mum noticed I did a lot of stuff for other people but never really did anything for myself. She was like, “You should do something for yourself for a change” and I knew I needed to get away and my friend in Scandinavia asked me to hang out with them there. Even though I had friends up there, it was really isolating at the same time, so I was just in a completely different headspace that I decided to basically run away and was forced to do things myself. My mum gave me the push to just go do something.
“It was basically having therapy with myself. I was trying to figure out where I was at the time.”
I think it’s important for you to take a break elsewhere and find inspiration, especially if it benefits your mental health. I think that’s what maintained the chemistry within your musicianship.
I think it’s important for people to be aware of that stuff in general. I was in Germany, playing music and things like that. From the outside, my friends back home were like, “Wow, you’re doing really well, you’re living your life as a true musician” but I mentally I wasn’t in a good place. While I was there, you explain that to people and they don’t understand. It’s not that simple – that’s the point of mental health; you can’t just pinpoint what it is or why you should or shouldn’t be doing something. Ever since that experience, I like getting people to be aware of that stuff.
Gauging from your EP as well, there’s a lot of ambience and nostalgia that comes through with the songs too. Were you reflecting a lot about the past and the future when you were writing it?
It was basically therapy. It was very reflective and it goes through movements. At the end of the day, it’s all these different headspaces and realisations, which is what I wanted to get out. It was basically having therapy with myself. I was trying to figure out where I was at the time.
You also look up to artists like Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. From these artists, what do you admire most about them?
The main thing that I love about those two guys is their attitudes and the way they do things. For instance, a friend of mine actually, he was at dinner and saw Springsteen with Bono from U2. His friends were like, “Oh, it’s Bono from U2, should we ask to get a signature or something like that?” So Bono goes up and goes to the bathroom and my friend asks if they [Springsteen and others] were friends with Bono, and they were like, “Yeah”. Bono sat down with my friends and then this other guy got up and he was paying the bill for the table and they got the photo with Bono.
Then they went up to counter to pay for their meal and the waiter was like, “Oh it’s already been taken care of” and they were like, “Oh, by who?” and he was like, “Oh, Bono’s friend, Bruce Springsteen.” They didn’t even realise they met Bruce Springsteen and he’s just that kind of guy that doesn’t want any glory or anything like that. He’s just a genuine-hearted person, he paid for that meal and he didn’t want anything to do about it except to make sure those guys had a nice night. Little stories about him is all I ever aspire to be.
For new listeners out there, what do you hope they take from your music?
I hope they feel like they’re a part of it. The whole reason that I did the whole EP thing is because people don’t have a big attention span these days, especially for a new artist like myself. I care about these songs and I want them to be listened to so I broke down these songs into digestible EPs so people can listen to those six songs either on the drive to work or something; they can do that and they can enjoy it the way it’s supposed to be, and hopefully they follow it [the music]. I just want them to feel attached to it and get excited over the next part of the story in EP two and three. It also gives them a chance to be part of something cool.
Honey, Where Is My Home is available now and can be streamed via Spotify HERE