Unlike many other genres and music communities, the indie/alt culture appreciates new and rising artists that create diversity and new insights within the genre.
We constantly feature notable indie and alternative artists on the verge of success. Meet this week’s featured artist in an exclusive interview, the Oxford based rockers known as The Haze:
We previously described them as "inspired by The Rolling Stones and Oasis, [their latest] EP is reminiscent of Thickfreakness era Black Keys and classic AC DC vibes. The group's psych-adjacent hard rock captures an infectious energy with their anxious and passionately angsty sound aesthetic."
We recently talked in-depth with Josh Rawle, Alex Rawle, John Morrison, and Jamie Langford to find out more about the group's influences, creative process, and of course their take on all things alternative culture. Read on to find out more about how this incredible artist creates their unique sound.
Josh: Stone Roses, The Who - Quadrophenia, AC/DC – Powerage
Jonny: Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People say, That's What I'm Not, AC/DC Highway to Hell
What are your fondest musical memories? (as a band and as a listener)
Alex: Just being on stage and seeing people smiling and singing along to the songs you've written
Jonny: Yeah, seeing people enjoy the music we're writing and once we've got finished songs out of the studio
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
Alex: Late 60's and early 70's psychedelic rock (for example, The Doors) as it makes you think more about the music rather than just listening to a noise and that makes me write in a different way now and allows for more creativity.
Jonny: It varies, I find myself listening to the Rolling Stones one morning, then the Arctic Monkeys straight after, then to the late 80's with AC/DC straight after that!
Josh: Just to let you know, AC/DC were shite in the late 80's. Highway to Hell came out in 1979 so say late 70's :)
Jonny: That's what i meant, late 70's, early 80's :)
How did you all decide to collaborate into forming The Haze? What were your musical backgrounds before coming together? Is there a story behind the name?
We were all passionate about music and we all enjoyed listening to a lot of the same artists. The trouble was, most of those artists weren't even around during our lifetimes. To us the face of popular music had really lost its edge. We believed that there needed to be more bands with the energy of Slade and the hard working attitude of other bands such as the who that toured for weeks kipping in the backs of vans with a bag of chips and a marshall cab to cuddle. We decided that we wanted to be the band who bring back good hard working rock and roll back into the UK charts. The name formed due to a pattern that we discovered. A lot of very famous songs had the word haze in the lyrics somewhere. Obviously "Purple Haze" is an obvious one but it crops up in The Beatles "Help" and also "From the ritz to the rubble" by Arctic Monkeys.
What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process?
Jonny: We all write on our own, once we have an idea, like a melody, a beat, we put it to the rest of the band in practice. We all input into it and somehow at the end, we have a song!
Alex: First I try and find a killer riff that makes me think, yeah! One that has power and energy. Then try and build the verse and chorus structure. Then lyrics come last. When I have a story to tell or a view to put across.
You guys aim to “bring back guitar music into the charts.” What do you make of the “rock is dead” argument? What do you think about the recent revitalization of 70s sounds in the indie rock world? Is there a way you see guitar rock heading?
Rock will never die, its just been lying low for a few years. This is due to the fact that the nation appreciate somebody reversing somebody else's track and "spitting bars" over it compared to an artist who sits down with a guitar and writes all of their own song--not just the trashy lyrics. I mean, we had this period in the 80s where there was no new British guitar bands. Luckily 1989 bought one the best albums that Britain had ever seen... The Stone Roses debut LP. We like 70s music a lot so we are glad to see the 70s feel hitting the indie scene. You have to learn from the best and the 70s was definitely one of the better decades for rock. We're not worried about the rock scene. We are worried about what the world is spending their iTunes vouchers on...
I’m a firm believer that the cities that artists are based in helps craft their sound. How would you describe the Oxford music scene? How has the area inspired your sound? What do you think the UK has that inspires so much great music in the indie scene?
The Oxford scene is definitely changing. We are seeing more bands playing rock and roll and taking their influence from the 60s and the 70s. This is great. There is always plenty of shows on and a lot of competition for slots. This shows that the standard is high! We feel that we stand out slightly as we are about one of the only bands that aren't hippies haha. Oxford is a very quirky place when you get off of the beaten track. It inspires a lot of quirky bands to write quirky music. Not just 4 chord rock such as ourselves. The indie scene is growing rapidly because people are fed up of the contemporary pop that brainwashes the minds of vulnerable people all over the country. People want change. Its nice to have something new... We are big fans of local favourites ArtClassSink and Balloon Ascents and Foals, of course.
As an indie artist in the digital age, social media and streaming are essential tools for marketing and promotion. What do you think about online music sharing, both as a music fan and as a musician? How do you think social media/music streaming services impacts the rising musician?
Alex: As a music fan I love how the digital age has changed music with being able to download any song you want but as a musician, it means it's a lot harder to make it in the industry as there is a lot more competition.
Jonny: It's great for the music listener, but it makes life harder for the artist, so it has positive and negative impacts on us as music listeners and musicians. It just means that there is more competition because its easier to get exposure.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
Jonny: Seeing Noel and Liam back on stage together.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
Alex: We are currently writing more and aiming to find that one special song that will break through. We have a couple of real contenders so watch this space.
Jonny: Yeah, we are trying to bulk our originals set out. We have songs written, and a couple we think are really good. We now just need to spend the rest of the Summer fitting them into our set and playing them live!
Tell us a bit about your latest EP, Fight To Pay. What motivated the title and title track? What can fans expect, in comparison to your first EP? Do you have any tales from the writing and recording process?
The latest EP was very different to our 1st one. It has more of an edge and it comes across as if we have a lot more to say. As we have got older we see more things we aren't happy with in our world. This is why our music is more aggressive. Fight To Pay didn't really make any sense to us whatsoever...I thinks that's why we liked it so much, it doesn't have to mean anything. You can make your own mind up and tell us because we have no idea. It sounds edgy just like our title track. It has a classic-rock riff that inspired the AC/DC beat that trends throughout the song. Believe it or not we recorded most of it at our local zoo. Two of us work there and our boss produced it for us. This meant we could get into the gift shop after hours. The hard floors and soft toys created a grate balance in acoustics so yeah that was pretty cool looking at loads of snakes whilst recording tracks
Finally, a couple questions we ask all of our artists: which songs are you currently obsessed with? What new acts do you recommend to our listeners? What bands do you believe are your best kept secret in the indie community?
Nothing But Thieves are brilliant. Listen to the songs "Itch" and "Ban All The Music".