Friday 16 December 2016

Things Are Getting Hazy: An Interview With The HazyTones

Some people wait for new records from well-promoted bands who gain their contracts with major labels, but doom underground holds really groovy examples of slow and low bands with strong potential. The Hazytones appeared in Montreal just one year ago with their vision of vintage fuzz-clad doom rock and for this one year it gave a clear shape for their ideas.

First there was the single “Living on the Edge”, and then the self-titled album was born. Fair, extremely catchy and full of hooks it grabs your attention from the very first listen. Frey Coaster (bass, vocals), Ulrick LaMast (drums) and Mick Martel (guitars, vocals) put a lot of effort in this album, so I was bloody impressed and I asked them a few questions about The Hazytones.

Mick and Fred satisfied my curiosity with truly interesting answers.

What drove you to gather together and play this form of psychedelic doom rock? What's your primary motivation?

We are motivated by a lot of stuff. First of we wanted to bring back the vintage sound of the 70's through our first album. We really like albums like Mind Control form Uncle Acid which is really stoner and psych for example. Fred, the bass player, is also a big fan of the early Black Sabbath stuff (Master of Reality, Paranoid, etc.). We really like the sound of an heavy distorted fuzz. On the album, we tried to keep everything analog.

There's almost no digital effect on it. I think that what gives the album his 70's feel. We also like the vocals with a lot of reverb and delay. For this purpose, we used a vintage Rolland Space Echo which gives a crazy atmosphere and you can definitely hear it on the record. But when we were recording the album, in September 2015, we didn't know that the band would draw so much attention from the stoner/doom scene.

At first in Montreal, we started playing small gigs and we received good comments about the music and our stage presence. Then, a manager, Fred Roy-Hall, decided to take care of us and push us further. That's about when we decided to take it to the next step.

Your debut self-titled record was released in September 2016 as a digital album, what about physical formats?

Actually, we have it in physical format on CD, it just got added to Bandcamp for shipping. We made 500 copies (sold about 300 already) and we are currently printing vinyls that are coming at the beginning of 2017.

The album's artwork and songs' titles show the witching essence of your music. How do you see The Hazytones' lyrical concept? What did you put into it?

Mick Martel, the singer of the band, wrote all the lyrics of the album. He likes to take the feel of the everyday life. Almost like an anthropologist, he observes people around him. He also pick themes from his personal experience. Then, he interprets and transforms it into metaphors that are much darker than the real life. He likes to keep the lyrics not too obvious and let the auditor make his own idea. He wants people to be able to relate to the lyrics in their own way.

The Hazytones – Living on the Edge

And the same is about your sound – what are its necessary elements?

For the sound, we wanted to push the rock envelope as far as we could, heaviness wise. As we told you earlier, we like the heavy distorted fuzz. That was the corner stone of The Hazytones' sound. We also like the reverb and delay that you can hear on the vocals. This element is really important on the sound of the album. Furthermore, we wanted to push and compress the drum and bass really hard so it gives a heavy feel to the rhythm section.

When we were crafting the songs, we put a lot of crazy effects that apparent to psychedelism. For example, on Fool's Paradise, we made a psychedelic effect on the song's outro. It was a lot of fun to try out some of these stuff in the studio.

We can also talk about the tempo changes. There are a lot a mood changes and tempo changes, especially on the bridges and solo sections of many song. It's the case on Light Of The Day, Fool's Paradise, Free From Your Spell, Children Of The Universe, etc.. We really enjoy creating those kind of arrangements. It's really challenging, especially in the studio.

Finally, a lot of people tell us they enjoy our songs because of their catchiness. There are big chorus that you can easily sing along like on Free From Your Spell.

How do you see strong sides of the band? Which song represents the best of The Hazytones from your perspective?

The song that represents the band best is Light Of The Day, it's heavy, catchy, and makes people bounce their heads and go crazy at our shows. That's what we are aiming for but I think that the second album will be a little more on the psychedelic side. The strong side of the band for me is our vintage feel. People always mention our stage presence. We must admit that the band is definitely a LIVE band and we work hard to put on a great show.

I saw some The Hazytones photos and that groovy video you did shoot for one of your songs – it seems that you take the band quiet ironically. So what’s it about first of all? Is it about fun or is it about sinister tunes?

We take the band very seriously, we actually have two videos on YouTube. The first one is for Living On The Edge. It was made by a Montreal artist name Seb Black and it really represents the band with his dark vibe. The second video is for Light of the Day, which was made a little faster because we were leaving on tour. This one will definitely make you puke if you watch it after too much whiskey eheh... 

To answer more seriously, we are more about the music that the image. We really worked hard on the album and we continue to write and record. We know that the image of the band is really significant, but we put much more efforts on the music.

The Hazytones – Light of the Day

Canada isn't known as the band with a strong doom scene and it is difficult to touring because of big distances between cities. How do you deal with organization of gigs in your area?

Touring Canada can be a pain in the neck if you know what I'm saying, average drive is 6 hours a day or more. Sure the doom or stoner scene isn't super big in Canada but people appreciate it. More and more stoner bands are starting to get together and I think we'll see the number of stoner/doom bands increase over the next years.

What is the most enthusiastic feedback The Hazytones received till now?

The most enthusiastic feedback The Hazytones received was actually all the reviews that were written about the album so far. All the reviews were rave reviews from all over Europe (Russia, Ukraine, France, Belgium, United Kingdom) and the United States. We are also really stoked about a couple of label offers we've been receiving. We can't discuss the details for the moment, but all we can say is that 2017 will be a good year.

What are The Hazytones plans for the next year?

In 2017, we plan to tour Europe, Canada, and the United States. The European tour is set in March and April 2017. The Canadian tour is set in May and June. Nothing is confirmed for the USA so far, but we work on getting our visas and on booking shows. We're always writing songs so there's a chance that we might release our second album in late 2017 or early 2018. It depends of a lot of things as we told you previously (labels, tours, work flow and composing of the songs, etc.).

Words by Aleks Evodkimov and The Hazytones