Listening to the tranquil ‘Goodbye to the Valley Low’ EP, one would not think the man behind the soothing vocals, Hazlett, consciously once decided to quit being a musician. Having a second go at this unpredictable career, Hazlett appears as a rare jewel amongst other industry sharks.
With the unveiling of ‘Bloom Mountain,’ featuring my favorite ‘Please Don’t Be,’ Hazlett quickly became an artist to watch. Faced with self-doubt and disbelief, he turned to writing, rediscovering the more therapeutic aspects, gradually accumulating material free of distractions or any conceptual intention.
Hazlett searched for a calmer setting, escaping the constant city commotion, following his inner-romantic instinct. He found what he was looking for in a remote location of a snowed-in cabin. This serene atmosphere played a crucial role in the visual backdrop for ‘Goodbye to the Valley Low.’
Starting with ‘Blame The Moon,’ and ‘Missionary Feelings,’ Hazlett built on the feather-light guitar and calming vocal harmonies to truly encapsulate the quietness that travels with snow. For Noctis, Hazlett refers to his new EP ‘Goodbye to the Valley Low’ as “the sound of creative concentration.”
Congratulations on the release of you new EP ‘Goodbye to the Valley Low.’ Could you tell us more about the meaning of the title?
It is supposed to be a bit of a continuation from the last record. I’ve been saying recently that if ‘Bloom Mountain’ was a party then ‘Goodbye To The Valley Low’ is the moment when everybody has left. The place is a bit of a mess and it’s just you contemplating what just happened by yourself. Not in a sad way but more a content reflection of everything.
You recorded the project in an off-grid cabin on the west coast of Sweden, why did you decide to record in such a remote location? Could you describe how it looked like?
I think recently I’ve grown pretty tired of the city and especially living in an apartment. I felt like city life and all the noise that comes with it was clouding my head in a way and the romantic idea of escaping to a cabin felt like a timely thing to do. It was amazing. It was this light wooden house that was built inside of a big glass triangle so you can walk out on the front deck but still be safe from the snow storm we had outside. Honestly I’d love to live there permanently.
How did it influence the sound compared to your other projects?
I think there’s a calmness and quietness to this record that I haven’t been able to capture before. It could be the climate and nature of it all but I think it’s more that there was no distractions. I could see through ideas clearly from start to finish without something pulling my attention away. It was just eat, sleep, record, repeat. So hopefully there’s a sound of creative concentration that flows through it because that’s how it felt.
In January, you released your debut album ‘Bloom Mountain,’ what did you want to uncover in ‘Goodbye to the Valley Low’ compared to the record?
It was actually a happy accident. I had no intentions to make something new, but I was so stressed and anxious that nobody was going to like my debut album that I just started writing in my window the weekend it came out. So if anything I think this new EP helped me rediscover how much writing is therapy for me. If there’s things going on my life I need that outlet to write. So I had no intentions of uncovering anything in particular it just sort of happened, which might be my favourite feeling.
At one point, you decided to move to Sweden, could you explain why? Why did you choose Sweden?
The move to Sweden came about after I quit music actually. An old friend heard a YouTube video I posted the year earlier and asked if I wanted to record with some people he knew in Stockholm. I rejected him three times before eventually, after some encouragement from my mum, I thought hey why not give music one more chance.
One Summer evening you met your longtime collaborator and friend Freddy Alexander. How did this meet cue come about?
It was on that trip actually. He was the very first person my friend arranged me to work with on my trip. We hit it off straight away and ever since then he’s been a part of every single song I’ve ever put out.
How do your studio session look like working with Freddy Alexander? Could you translate the chemistry you have as musicians into words?
Our sessions together these days are pretty loose. We’ve worked together so long now that a lot of our creativity is pretty unspoken. I don’t really know how to explain it but it’s definitely an innate chemistry we stumbled on. It doesn’t matter if we work on things for an hour here or there or a whole day or even week like this cabin, we both know when something is working or not and we never try to force anything. I’d say we balance each other out and both of us are just trying to serve the song the best we can which keeps us in sync. But I would say our time together is very much based around the coffee machine and vibes. If one is there we can make it work, if both are there it’s going to be a good time.
Is there anything you have already in the books for next year that you are able to share with our readers?
I’m hopefully hitting the road a lot in the new year. I just got to announce I’m opening up for Ocie Elliott through Europe in the spring and a few other things I’m planning. As for the music I’m excited to get this EP out and see how people react to it. Depending on what they think I may have something up my sleeve. But let’s wait and see.