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Q&A w/ Hayley Marsten

What are some of your earliest musical influences that have found their way into the music you’re currently making?

When I was growing up and being forced listening to my parents musical stylings the albums I liked were The Corrs and Robbie Williams, which seem like very strange influences for a country artist. But I remember being about 7 and really loving The Corrs songs that had the fiddle in it. Then when I got a bit older and Mum introduced me to Robbie Williams records and live DVDs (she has passed her Robbie obsession onto me subconsciously). I loved how he didn’t take himself too seriously, he had very funny, witty lyrics that you had to be listening to the words to get the jokes, I really wanted to be able to do that. Plus when I watched the DVDs I just hoped one day I would be able to be half as cheeky and entertaining as him. They seem like a strange combo but I think you can see both of them in this new song ‘Money Can’t Buy Class’, the cheekiness of Robbie and the country instrumentation from The Corrs.

All touring bands know that no two venues are created equal. What are some of the best rooms you’ve played and why?

Hands down my favourite show ever was at The Tivoli for the Queensland Music Festival’s ‘Songs That Made Me’ show last year. The Tivoli was my dream venue ever since I saw Kasey Chambers there a few years prior. So to get to play it with a packed house and so many wonderful, powerful and talented women was a dream. Plus the crowd laughed at all my jokes and that’s the one thing I think makes a great crowd.

There’s full 80s/90s pop culture and music resurgence happening right now, are you into it?

I live for it! I have been re-watching Friends for about 10 years now (I feel old) from when my mum showed me it in high school. So, I love that all that kind of culture is coming back now, I also grew up watching Seinfeld when I was probably too young to be watching it. I love that those shows are on streaming services because 90% of my vocab is obscure references to Friends and now my real friends can actually begin to understand how hilarious I am. There’s actually a sneaky Friends reference in the new video…

What is the first song you ever wrote and did it make it onto a release?

Oh god, it was not good. I wrote my first song when I was 7 which was the year that Shrek came out and I was really into that movie and the soundtrack. So it was a rip off of All Star by Smash Mouth and it was about having an annoying brother and sister (I’m an only child). Luckily since then the writing has improved and I’ve learnt to write about what you know and not borrow stuff from the Shrek soundtrack.

How was your high school experience? Were you in any bands?

I loved high school, most of the time. I went to Gladstone State High School in Central Queensland. I was never an official band member but in my friendship group there were two bands who played emo/alternative and 80s rock. So sometimes I was a ‘guest’ artist for them. I sang a lot of Jet, Fleetwood Mac, Cheap Trick and even some Slash with them. I think in our senior year I forced them to learn a rockier Taylor Swift song. I had a massive fringe and didn’t know how to do my eyeliner, not the greatest look for me.

Not music related… or a question but we’d love to see and share an image of your pet.

This is my puppy, Fryzie. I’m one of those people whose dog is a puppy forever, because he’s 14 this year. He’s basically the greatest thing on this earth and I’ll never love anyone or anything more than him. He also indulges me and lets me put him in ridiculous dog outfits from kmart and bow tie collars. He lives at home in Gladstone with my Mum and I make her facetime me with him but Fryzie has even more sass than me and does not give one single shit about my face on an ipad. But Mum does think he knows my voice when she plays him my music. Don’t let me talk about Fryzie cos I will never stop.

How would you describe ‘success’ for you band?

I feel pretty successful in my career in the past couple of years actually. I think when you’re looking forward to these goals you imagine them in a different way than they actually come about. All the things I’ve achieved with this latest EP, Lonestar are things I’d been hoping for and working towards since I was 17. It might not have happened exactly the way I thought it would because I still have a day job and sometimes my dinner is tinned spaghetti on toast but I am living all my dream, just on a really low budget.

What was your first ever favourite song?

I’m pretty sure it was The Wiggles or Peter Combe because I was super into them. But in terms of ‘grown up’ music I think it was a live recording of ‘Summer of 69’ from my Dad’s MTV unplugged cd, but I never told my parents I liked it because I liked being dramatic about their music choices. What a little shit.

If you had to choose one song you’ve written that best defines your band which one would it be?

I think this new single, ‘Money Can’t Buy Class’ is a very accurate example of my personality and sense of humour, I have a bit of sass in me. But then there’s another song on the record called ‘Coming Home’ that really is my story, how my parents divorce affected me and how being a child of divorce effects my relationships now. I’m a complicated woman apparently and I need two to describe myself haha.

If you had to choose would it be; The Baby Sitters Club or Sweet Valley High?

Neither because The Saddle Club rules all and I still want to ride horses with my friends and possibly solve mysteries on the side. Hello world, this is me.

Tell us 3 bands that we should be listening to/be keeping an eye out for?

Arna Georgia, one of my best friends and one of the most amazing new Alt-Country Artists in Australia right now. I’m also loving Imogen Clark’s new album, Collide, we did a songwriters show together during the Tamworth Country Music Festival and I quietly fan girled to myself the whole time. American artist, Ashley McBryde’s new album Girl Going Nowhere, the title track makes me feel happy and sad at the same time.