Hayes & Y is a blend of Bulgarian and Finnish musicians based in Manchester. Over the last few years they have taken inspirations from the city’s music scene to produce tales of self-exploration. Their most recent EP is Safeplace., recorded and produced in their shared apartment. We caught up with the band to find out more.
Safeplace. is our attempt at a conceptual album.
First up, tell us about yourselves - what led you teaming up as Hayes & Y?
We started the band about 10 years ago, when the three of us were high school students in our native Bulgaria. After a few years playing different bars, clubs and venues there we got a big break and supported Kasabian at the massive “Spirit Of Burgas” festival. That convinced us it’s time for the next step and we moved to England. We met our drummer Dennis, who is from Finland, in London and then moved to Manchester where we reside now. It’s been quite the journey.
Who do your take inspiration from?
We’re inspired by every artist that searches for originality and truth in their work.
Why the name ‘Hayes & Y’?
There’s not a lot we can say here really - it’s just a name we thought sounded cool and original. Has served us well so far!
How would you describe your musical style?
It’ll have to be a mix of different things. Post-indie rock, synth pop, alternative, funk. It took us a while, but we take pride in having what we consider “our style”.
If you could collaborate with any living artist or band, who would you choose?
We’d love to work with some Mancunian artists we love - Blossoms, The 1975.
Tell us about your debut EP Safeplace., what’s it about? What are its themes?
Safeplace. is our attempt at a conceptual album, even if it’s just a short one. All the songs are tied together through musical and lyrical themes. It’s a story of estrangement and disenchantment with someone or a group where you thought you belonged.
When did you write Safeplace., and where did you record it?
We write, produce and record all of our songs at home. We live together and have built a small home studio where we love to create. It’s much different than having to rent a studio and we think the level of comfort is clear on this record.
How does Safeplace. represent your style?
It’s a step further than anything we’ve done so far. It’s more ambitious musically, the songs and the arrangements are more complex, the songwriting is more complete. It’s exactly where we want to be right now and we’re so proud of it!
Can you talk us through each song on the EP?
1. ‘Safeplace.’ - It’s the first single and the track that influenced a lot of the artistic decisions on the whole EP. We wrote it last, but it helped us realise what we wanted the album to be and helped us pick the other two songs. In terms of production it’s definitely the most complex thing we’ve done.
‘RED’ - ‘RED’ is quite different to the first one and that’s why it made sense that it’d follow it. It’s a much simpler arrangement that shows off the basics of our band. We wanted to leave a lot of ‘air’ in the song, a lot of space for the vocals and the individual instruments to shine through.
‘46’ - It’s the closer of the EP and as such it had to have a big finale. If you listen closely you can here one of the main melodies from Safeplace. repeated in this one. It closes the small circle of the three songs as it goes back to the beginning.
What was the inspiration behind the monochrome video for title track ‘Safeplace.’?
We trusted the video production team completely, as we already knew and loved their prior work. The video is a coming-of-age story, one that can be found in the song itself. We’re thankful to the director Vasil Vitanov for being so passionate about the project.
What are your hopes for Safeplace.?
The hope is always the same - for our fans to enjoy it and then to reach new ones. So far both of those have been going really well! The response has been amazing and the title track was picked up by Spotify for their Fresh Finds playlist, which is a very big deal for us. It’s also been played on Amazing Radio and BBC Introducing in Manchester.
What other plans do you have for the year?
We’d love to do a UK tour this autumn and are working towards that. We’re also going to release at least one more new song until 2019 is over and it will be a banger.
Finally, if you could go back in time and give yourselves one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
It will probably have to be to embrace what we are and not be afraid of what people would think. Moving to a new country can be very hard and requires a lot of self-belief. The road to here is what has made us what we are though, so maybe it’s better we learned some things the hard way.
Watch the video for ‘Safeplace.’ on YouTube below. For news and tour dates go to the Hayes & Y Facebook page.