From playing her original music in front of an audience in high school to becoming a favourite on the national airwaves of Triple J, Brisbane’s Hazel Mei is going places, and we’re stoked to be sharing her best work to date: her debut EP, Lost & Found, which dropped recently.
Assertively indie with a jazz-tinted underlay, Hazel oozes charisma both on- and off-stage, taking everyday moments and turning them into whimsical, reflective musical pieces that speak to the highs and lows of the human experience.
“Lost & Found documents my early 20s; the curiosity and uncertainty, the excitement, and ambition. From contemplating new romance, poking fun at the fickle nature of independence, to personifying my inner demons. Each of these songs captures a different version of myself and how that felt at the time,” said Hazel.
Inspired by the world around her, and drawing influence from the likes of The Arctic Monkeys, Boy and Bear and Harry Styles, Hazel says she was determined to create a cohesive record without adhering to current trends or genre rules.
“Sharing music is a unique feeling. Sometimes I’m ecstatic, other times nervous. It’s a vulnerable place to be, but it’s also such a rewarding feeling to be able to share your experiences with others.”
“This EP is exactly what I wanted to hear and make, and I hope people who hear it feel the same!”
So, without further ado, here’s the brilliant Hazel Mei to walk us through the tracks on her luscious debut:
‘LOST & FOUND’ TRACK-BY-TRACK BY HAZEL MEI
- It Is (n’t) Real.
It Is(n’t) Real is was the first song I wrote for the EP. It’s an introspective look at the power your mind can have over you. I wrote it hoping to let go of my overthinking tendencies and embrace the new experiences and people around me. The song has actually had three versions since I wrote it! Originally it was more of an upbeat Mumford and Sons style but I felt it didn’t quite fit with the direction I wanted to go in. I remember one day, Trevor Gee (co-producer and drummer) and I were jamming and we finally started shaping the way it is today. We tracked it pretty quickly with Jared Adlam (co-producer and engineer), who helped bring it all to life with his multi-instrumentalist prowess.
Fool explores the dialogue from my inner critic, who at the time had quite a lot to say. When I wrote it I was feeling pretty low and had writers block so it was to my surprise when the whole song and demo came together so quickly. I found a logic drummer loop and programmed all but the guitar in about 2 hours. Maybe a month later, Trevor came in and laid down some more inspiring drums and wrote the guitar line. It was so serendipitous. I felt like I’d fallen into my favourite song after so long of having no inspiration at all.
- So Pretty.
This was a lot of fun to make. I wrote this song years ago when I was wanting to move out of home, completely in a daze with new responsibilities and a lack of funds. I nearly didn’t record the track but one day in the rehearsal room Trevor had the idea of the big ramp up at the end and it gave the track new life! We live tracked the beds with the band! There’s something so special about capturing the energy of musicians in a room. Later we overdubbed some extra guitars, keys and vocals to finish it up!
- Running Now.
I started writing this when I was trying out my amp at a music store. I took it as a good sign that I’d picked the right one to buy haha! It’s about feeling like you’re on the right track to achieve your goals and feeling inspired to put in every moment of work necessary. This was one that Trevor and I chopped and changed a lot to get the structure right. In the studio it came together pretty quickly once we had the demo done into the lush, upbeat track it is now!
- Lost & Found.
Lost & Found was the first track we recorded with Jared! We wanted it to sound like a late night drive. This song is all about the dynamic you share with a new flame – playing it cool and keen all at the same time. We spent a long time workshopping guitars on this one, trying to find an arrangement that was just the right amount of cruisy, with a sneaky Arctic Monkeys moment too. I’m really proud of this song, it was a lot of fun to make.
Stream Hazel’s debut EP below and catch her launching the record at Brisbane’s Black Bear Lodge on 12 November.
‘LOST & FOUND’ – HAZEL MEI