Helping music lovers find new acts to obsess over is kind of our thing. With so many emerging artists to choose from, we wanted to let you, the fans, in on who’s going to be everywhere soon. That's why we're excited to announce Big Break, a new feature that highlights everything you need to know about the fresh faces turning the industry upside down. From the secrets behind their viral tracks to their big plans for the future, read on for the 411 on the industry's most promising up-and-comers.
Philly’s Hazey Eyes is on a mission to hit you in the feels. Emotionally charged dance floor anthems like “Some Reason” and “Scars” will keep you moving as they play, despite being strewn with haunting (and often heartbreaking) lyrics that stick with you long after the song has ended. This X factor, paired with strong collaborations with artists like Yoke Lore and Panama, has the artist, producer, and songwriter on path to becoming a huge name in the indie-electronic scene.
Thomas Michel, the man behind the dreamy stage name, is a 22-year-old Drexel University student who studies electrical engineering in-between touring with huge names like Shallou and Petit Biscuit. His most recent EP, Love Lost, is a look into the quintessential young-twenties experience, balancing senses of nostalgia, heartbreak, and hopelessness with unapologetically modern synths and beats. “Maybe I’m too young to understand,” the lyrics of EP’s last track admit. But Hazey Eyes is clearly not too young to leave his mark on the music scene––and he’s just getting started.
We caught up with Hazey Eyes to chat about his new EP, his upcoming tour, and his musical influences. Check it out below (as well as a playlist he made exclusively for Bandsintown), and be sure to catch him on his upcoming US dates—including our showcase on March 13th at SXSW!
Congrats on the release of your new EP, Love Lost. What do you want fans to take away from the album?
I want them to take away the notion that everything in life is a journey, and though things may not seem like they’re going to get better any time soon, they will.
It’s probably like picking a favorite child, but is there one song that you’re most proud of?
Haha that’s a very hard question, I do love all of them very much. If I had to pick one specifically, I would probably say "Emotion". Especially the ending portion of the song, I really love how it opens up.
Very into the Love Lost artwork and accompanying merch. How important are these visuals/design elements to you? How do they come about?
They are very important. I think that the visuals that accompany the project can really set the mood for the listener due to being one of the few things seen when they’re actually listening. The visuals are created by an Australian artist named Bradley Pinkerton who does amazing work that fits perfectly with my music.
“Scars” is a lyrical masterpiece that shows strength in vulnerability. Can you tell us more about your songwriting process in general?
I think it varies per song, which I enjoy because it stops music from being monotonous for me. "Scars" was written in person with Yoke in Brooklyn, but was the only song off the EP that was done in person. Sometimes I start with ideas that I send around to my vocalist friends, and sometimes vocalists send me ideas to expand upon. I think some of the most organic work comes out of in-person sessions, but I’m kinda removed from that now while I’m still in college.
You picked up the piano, violin, bass, and guitar all before you started high school. Why do you think gravitated towards music at such a young age?
At first it was definitely because my parents pushed for me to do it. I didn’t really like practicing when I was younger, but I’m really happy I did looking back now. It took until high school for me to start doing my own thing with music, but I had always been an avid listener growing up.
You’ve said that you loved bands like Blink-182 and Taking Back Sunday in high school; do you find any pop punk influence in your music? How does it mix with electronic?
Definitely! I think the although the instrumentation is different some of the lyrical concepts are very similar. I think that the energy present in alternative/pop punk music corresponds to the type of energy you see in electronic music.
How would you describe the your live shows in three words?
Lots of fun!
You’re currently on tour and gearing up to play a few showcases at SXSW next week. What are some essentials you’re always sure to bring with you on the road?
Definitely lots of pairs of socks. Fresh socks make life so much better. Other than that, I always need a keyboard with me so I can keep working on new ideas and write music.
What was your first concert? Dream concert?
My first concert was a Kansas concert when I was very young. My dream concert would have to be maybe The Beach Boys, I would have loved to see them live.
As a college student, how do you juggle school work with your music? How’s the music scene at your school?
It can be a lot sometimes, like this whole week while touring I’ve had to spend my free time writing final papers for different classes. I always seem to get it done though, which is good! Unfortunately, I’m not as involved in the music scene at my school as I should be, but I know there is a great DIY scene around me.
What artists would you love to work with in the future?
This is a very long list haha but a few would be Glass Animals, Mura Masa, or James Blake.
What is your biggest hope and ambition for 2019?
I just want to interact with as many fans as possible. They’re really the ones who drive my artist career, so anything I can do to give back is imperative.
What does a “Big Break” mean to you?
I think a Big Break is really anything that gets your music out to people. I don’t think it comes in one form, there are so many different ways for artists to break these days. It can be a big show, big song, anything that resonates with potential fans.