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Next Wave #1038: Jackie Hayes

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Chicago’s Jackie Hayes is taking angsty anxiety and using her magical emporium of skill to make crunchy, addicting and warm tracks; taking the pain and squishing it in indie goodness. From sharing stages with Claud, Role Model and The Japanese House, Hayes fits into the class of musicians luring us with their resolving melodies, gentle head-boppers and undeniably passion-filled motifs.

Following the release of Hayes emo-washed indie tracks starting in 2017, with her debut single ‘Flower’, the young artist has been feeding us a catalogue of tunes. Being in a constant polarity of working to doing music, she always found time to keep her music a priority, “I used to take music-related calls at work and I was always afraid I’d get secretly shopped or my manager would walk up at the wrong time. Luckily that never happened. I would also hide behind the fridge and answer emails. It was like two full-time jobs at the same time.”

The start of 2021 saw Hayes drop two standalone singles, ‘eye 2 eye’ and ‘dead end’; kicking up the dust and carving a path that would lead us to her new five-track EP ‘There’s Always Going To Be Something’. A standout track off the latest EP is ‘omg’. Sitting at the top of the leaderboard, it displays Hayes organic talent. Her restrained vocals sound fatigue-flushed making for a vibey, chill aura complimented by her steady guitar riffs, manic backing melodies and tight beat. “I went back to the music that I listened to when I was younger for this EP. When I was living at home I would go down to my basement and sing along to my Paramore CDs. I think that is how I really got into singing. I more recently started listening to Santigold and Jack Stauber.”

‘material’ shows Hayes’ natural ability to bring our anxieties down to nothing with her gentle sense of enlightenment through the tropes of life. The stand out melodies flood the soundscapes with a sense of comfort and a feeling of everything will be alright. Adding a spicy touch of emo to her indie sound, the subtle fierce attitude allows Hayes confidence and calming demeanour to seep through the charming and honest lyrics.

The entirety of ‘There’s Always Going To Be Something’ was written during the pandemic, when Hayes was juggling both her music career and working as an essential worker at a grocery store. The fear of the uncertainty around the world influenced her songwriting, “I have generalized anxiety disorder so anxiety usually is a factor in my songs, including material. I made the entire EP during that time and I was pretty stressed. A lot of times I will repeat things over and over in my head, anxieties, irrational fears etc, and it would reach its worst while I was at work for some reason.”

The EP has a softer glaze to some of her previous tracks like “headache”. Her gritty sound feels melted into a more introspective angle, allowing us a more transparent view into her spirited energy. The open book of Hayes’ music shows us the familiarity of needing to escape and seeing the world from less innocent eyeballs in the truth of adulthood: “don’t wanna be negative / that’s just the way it is’.

The artist is also known for her vivid and potent music videos, with her latest being for ‘omg’ which is a complete kaleidoscope of colour. “For whatever reason I was feeling a lot of bright colors at the time. It probably had to do with the rug I have in my living room. (sponsor me rugs.com) To me this album sounds purple, pink, orange etc and I just wanted to reflect that in any artistic choice we made.”

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‘There’s Always Going To Be Something’ EP is out now.

Words: Alexander Williams
Photo Credit: Adam Alonzo