In Conversation: Haze
Over the last five years, Bristol via Oxford and London four-piece Haze have prospered into a group with vociferous substance. Whether together or apart across this time, as a band they have matured into one that now make acerbic and striking songs on wide-ranging yet significantly biographical subjects, and in turn hunger for a sense of jarring yet contemplative musicianship to match. In preparation for their headline show for Wax Music and Fresh Juice on the 26th April – to celebrate the release of their new single ‘Ladz Ladz Ladz’ – we meet a band who possess intelligence, sharp self-awareness and a determination and focus that perhaps stands most prominent amongst their character.
The band have spent a lot of time apart during their tenure as a group, returning in summers and at Christmases to play shows, simply for their friends to enjoy. That desire to keep playing together after a prolonged time away displays the deep-rooted connection the four-piece have between each other, something that has allowed them to develop separately as individuals whilst still sharing particular tastes. Their music evokes this sense of cohesiveness, a subtle independence reigns without them losing any sense of unity. “We’ve certainly experienced and listened to new types of music that we never usually would have come across which, in turn, has developed us individually. It’s really fun to always come back from our separate things and put a gig on, we’re brought back together for that reason predominantly.”
With their musical tastes having obviously developed over time, it has informed their creativity. The group amassed a brilliantly scatty collection of songs that would form ‘Digital Fulfilment’, their first EP back in 2016. Obviously influenced by what they were listening to at the time, the release began to tease an idea of what they were aiming to accomplish with their music. “All the songs were written at different times, so varied quite a lot depending on what we were going for, songs written later like ‘Sterilise’ are closer to our current sound.” Guitarist and vocalist Will Harrison explains, “I’d say our new songs are more jarring and wonky in terms of the guitar parts and the vocal delivery is somewhat less melodic than our previous stuff.”
What’s particularly satisfying about Haze is that they aren’t afraid to challenge others’ perception and have an open discussion about their music, something that others could and would easily back away from. When I explain how I feel they now sound rougher around the edges, Will offers a more pertinent description. “Maybe rougher around the edges is the wrong way to describe it. I would say its become more dissonant musically, the songs are more thought out now in terms of how all the different parts fit together, and we’ve worked a lot more on having greater dynamic range in our songs.”
Haze use their creative form to engage with significant subjects, not just those of modern circumstance. Harrison describes their songs as “sensationalised depictions of historical figures or fictional literary characters, with little connection to my life“, and while it’s influenced mainly by what Harrison finds interesting at the time, their music does offer some perspective on the state of certain situations, “I guess you could say that rather than being direct perceptions of what is around me the songs focus on wider societal discourse.”
New single ‘Ladz Ladz Ladz’ engages with this approach, an informed commentary on the worryingly normalised and vile case of toxic masculinity within our culture, focused around a particular event. “Whilst sort of being a broader condemnation of lad culture, it was mainly influenced by the rape case of Brock Turner in the US and the disgusting way in which people defended his actions. I guess that the case is like a microcosm of society, in terms of the different reactions different people had to it.” When I ask whether they feel their music and creative output can have an impact on influencing change, Harrison adequately summarises just how the bad the situation truly is, “I’m pretty sure any of the sort of ‘lad’ that the song describes, stuck in the hypermasculine mindset and degrading view of women, wouldn’t be shaken by the song much. Go to any shit club in any town and you’ll see that the lad culture, which the song portrays as a backwards relic of the 1970s, is very much alive.”
Haze are cementing themselves as a group with something salient to say and the musical aptitude to back it. “We are very much a live band and always have been, I think our songs are more intriguing and chaotic live than on record. I think its important, whilst striving to write songs with greater meaning, to also have the raw energy that our sound has had since we started.”
Tickets are available here.