Hayley Mary - A Little Piece

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Hayley Mary chose the song A Little Piece as some of her best work.

Some Of My Best Work is a podcast hosted by Jane Rocca, music and culture journalist.

Guests nominate one specific work they feel is some of their best.

The text below is a partial transcript from Hayley Mary’s episode of Some of My Best Work. 

It’s been edited for length and clarity.

I chose this one because – obviously it’s a Jezabels song from many years ago now – it was in some ways a first kind of breakthrough song.

I got the impression it would be interesting to include something that had a bit of a moment to it career wise.

It was picked up on a mountain biking video in Scotland that went viral. It had a life of its own and in a week, it had 30 million views.

What I like about this song, is one of our weird time signature ones.

But that was a bit of an influence of our drummer, Nick and the Celtic kind of tragic epicness of it all.

Those are the things I remember the most about it.

Lyrically I was going through some kind of breakup. I listened to it for the first time since it came out and I remember that frame of mind I was in and how much I’ve changed since then.

My view of love, it’s less Shakespearean and dramatic.

It’s been nice actually going back and going, ‘what do I remember about writing this song? 

It’s also another thing I think I can see upon reflection is the kind of the David Lynch effect there and the Cherry Pie reference the gothic poppiness of it all.

This story continues below.

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Listen to this story on Some of My Best Work, a free weekly podcast hosted by music journalist Jane Rocca.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

All my Jezabels songwriting, there’s a few songs on the EPs that do this.

I never really sang high until I played with Nick, because Nick’s a metal thrash drummer where he grew up in marching bands.

When it goes to the chorus, it gets thrashy and symbol-ie. I often found that I needed to project a lot higher than a normal indie singer to feel like I was serving that epic-ness.

I discovered falsetto singing through playing these kinds of songs.

I’ve carried that on because I would often write songs that I couldn’t sing and then learn to sing them. I felt it suited the band. It’s not always right, particularly solo stuff.

I’m actually better off going lower or going for a more consistent, less bipolar for one of a better word. It was often low, high, low, high, but that was a technique I used for a long time and still do sometimes. 

There was a crossover period where we were starting to tour a lot and getting supports and I was finishing uni.

That influenced some of the themes that were very prevalent in Jezabels years of writing.

It was always quite a contradictory kind of exploration of the themes of the sometimes harsh and sometimes illuminating mistress that could be feminism.

I still don’t have a very clear view on feminism or I don’t particularly know if I’m pro or it’s a multi faceted thing.

If you go into the lyrics, there’s a lot of back and forth about this, the sacrifices I felt it required to be a strong woman.

I never knew what songs were about until about two years later. My perception of this one is that predicament.

There’s a catch 22 in the idea of the first verse, there’s a cold easy glow dancing over our street. It’s that feeling when a new era’s coming and you’re like, there’s a change afoot.

I was in a long distance relationship at this time and I feel like long distance relationships, particularly if you’re an emotional musician, tend to have this way of making everything feel a bit Shakespearean. 

It was written over a few periods. I messaged the guys today going, ‘do you guys remember anything about this?’ 

The one thing they said, ‘I think we put bongos on that’.

I remembered that the riff was the original starting point of it. Sam often had ideas that would be the springboard and come with a riff or a chord progression.

I think the opening riff was the start. That obviously excited Nick and so a song was born.

Heather did a really good job in providing a baseline that was chords, but also had a melody kind of built into it.

That’s probably where I got the chorus feeling from, but we used to just jam until I came up with something.

It was a weird fusion. When it worked, I think it was because there was places in which there was a crossover.

It would be something filmic, or there was a couple of bands like Arcade Fire and The National that were social commentary bands that tickled our indie uni student fancies at the time.

It was authentic, I was an emotional 19 year old. They feel a lot and they think they’re the first person to discover feeling this way.

I’ve often found maybe that’s can be alienating to people.

I’m not so inclined to be alienating as I used to be.

Now I want to reach out a bit more through music and make people feel good.

Rather than explore the darkness.

Listen to this story on Some of My Best Work, a free weekly podcast hosted by music journalist Jane Rocca.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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