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In Conversation With Mazey Haze: We Go 'Back To The Start'

Video by Mazey Haze on YouTube

Up-and-coming indie-pop star Mazey Haze made a lasting impression on me from the moment I saw her open for Feng Suave last November. Seamlessly blending dreamy synths, infectious basslines, and even the occasional surf-rock riff, Haze has the it-factor. Unapologetically honest, she submerges her audience in her world through her reflective, quirky lyrics, which somehow mean everything and nothing at the same time.

Mazey Haze invites you to indulge in her new sophomore EP, Back to the Start, while I invite you to get to know the wonderful woman behind the voice, Nadine Appledoorn.

How would you describe your music to someone who’s never listened to it before?

The term dream-pop always works. Normally I just say dream-pop, but I think you just have to listen to it!

What are your songs about?

I always want to make sure that my music is very pure and honest, and it’s always based on something I feel or have experienced. Mostly, it starts with the melody or rhythm, and at some point I get a vibe from the music, and I literally pick up a microphone and words just come out. Like for 'Sad Lonely Groove', I was just really present and very in tune with what I was feeling, without thinking about failing or the lyrics not being good. I think that’s the key.

Where did the name Mazey Haze come from?

When I was finishing my first EP, I was like, "Oh my God, I still need a stage name!". A friend of mine at the time was telling me that he was having trouble sleeping, and [that he] just kept starting at the ceiling, and in Dutch there’s a term for that which translates to “ceiling gaze”. I thought "Oh, [that's] cool, and wrote it down in my notes. Three months later I found it again, and somehow “gaze” became “Haze”, and I [then] came up with Mazey because I just thought [the words] sounded good together.

How did you get into music?

My mom always had a specific interest in music. When I was six I was in a children’s choir, and I saw some other kids there with a guitar and a band, and I was like "Woah, that’s so cool!". When I [turned] eleven, I taught myself guitar from YouTube. After that I didn’t really think about it; I just started writing songs. Then when I was a bit older and deciding what to pursue, I got into a conservatory [a Dutch institution providing higher education in music and dance], and I just fell into this.

What’s your music writing process like?

Often music just comes to me. Sometimes I actually have to get out of bed because the song or the melody just comes to me, and I need to write it down or record it before I forget it. Other times, if I’m in a very emotional period of my life then a lot of songs come out, because it helps me process everything. In those moments I’m so grateful I can make music, because it will always stay with me and it gives me so much in return. It’s crazy how much I’ve been able to do, starting from my bedroom and now performing in all these cities in Europe. I’m always so honoured when people tell me that my music has helped them, and [to know that there are] so many people listening to it!

Who are your biggest inspirations?

The Beach Boys are always up there, specifically Brian Wilson and how he was able to lead such a big group of people and make something amazing out of that. I love composers like Armando Trovajioli, he made such pretty music. I find it very inspiring when musicians are focused on digging out their truth. I also like Harry Nilsson; I think he’s inspiring in a different way.

From everything you’ve made so far, what’s your personal favourite song?

Maybe 'Kill Me I Got You', because it’s a little different to how I normally mix arrangements in my songs. Also the lyrics are a bit more abstract and suggestive instead of literally saying “I’m feeling sad”. The title itself is quite abstract, [and] in the first verse I think I say "[Sometimes, the water's close to your house / and] I’d like to watch us swimming there”. It’s a bit weird but those lyrics just kind of came out. They could mean something symbolic or metaphoric to people. To be honest, I’m not too sure what the lyrics mean [myself] and I intellectualise the words differently every time, but I think that’s why I love that song so much.

What has been your favourite gig so far?

Cirque Royal is one of my favourite venues in Brussels, and playing there was so beautiful. It’s a theatre so the sound was very reflective; you get lots of reverb which I always like. The show itself was really nice for me, because I had zero nerves. The one in Paris with Spacey Jane was also amazing, I feel like in France they understand what I’m trying to do with my music. I really like French people, French culture, and the French language, so it was just a really good vibe there too.

Who do you play with?

I have my own band! They record with me, they tour with me — I’m very lucky! I’m just waiting for the moment they’re going to go do something else. We all went to school together, so it’s really wonderful because they’re my friends (Juen Schütt on drums, Simon Christiaanse on bass, Allard de Bruijne on keys, and Denzel Sprenkeling on guitar). They’ve been with me for years and we have such great chemistry playing together.

Could you tell me about your upcoming EP?

It’s called Back To The Start! It’s a 5-song EP. I feel like I’m evolving every year with my style of music and I’m developing a lot. I think this EP is more organic, the instruments are less synthesised, and the EP overall is just less produced. The drum sounds are more reminiscent of the 60s and 70s music that I’m listening to a lot lately, and the lyrics are more about me personally instead of other people in connection to me. I’m trying to dig into myself more and think about situations from my own perspective now. I think a lot about how other people feel or how someone’s actions affect me. But now I’m trying to see things for what they are, and ask myself questions like "what do I want, what do I like, what’s important to me?".

And how about your upcoming tour this May?

It’s my first headline tour! I’ve only ever done one headline show so I’m very scared that only 2 people will turn up —which isn’t going to be the case, I’m sure, but it’s just how my brain thinks!

When will you feel like you’ve finally made it in music?

When I finish an album. Sometimes I find it hard to stand up for my boundaries or communicate what I really want even though I have a super strong [sense of] intuition. I know what I want, I just have a hard time communicating it. I think when I finish an album, where every choice I make helps bring to life my vision for how I want it to sound and feel, and especially if people truly understand it, I’ll be very proud! I think my EPs are going to be a really good foundation for that. I want to keep trying things, playing new instruments, listening to new music, discovering new artists, and maybe different producers, and just take my time with it.

To keep up with Mazey Haze, you can find her on Instagram, Twitter, and her website.


Edited by Talia Andrea, Music Editor