New York City’s Hayley Coupon recently released her EP Remembrance. I first came across Hayley’s music through her incredibly unique cover of Tame Impala’s Feels Like We Only Go Backwards. Her voice had this beautifully memorable tone, and her soulful vocals instantly made me feel warmth. To learn more about Hayley and her music, AMBY spoke with her about a funny moment at her first gig, going back into the studio, and an extensive doll collection.
AMBY: Hello Hayley, how have you been and what have you been up to lately?
Hayley Coupon: Hey there. I’m in Cape Cod right now for a month, writing furiously, and getting ready for a lot of upcoming shows this fall.
AMBY: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with your music?
Hayley Coupon: A little bit of rock n roll, a little bit of folk rock, a little bit of honesty and soul.
AMBY: What’s the story behind your killer song True Friend?
Hayley Coupon: Perhaps as a byproduct of living in a city like New York, a lot of people have come into my life and left. True Friend was written in a bout of frustration, wondering why that happens – even though most of the time it’s a positive thing in disguise. The song was meant to challenge myself, and you as listener, to question what makes a real & honest relationship. In a way, all of the songs on my EP are about moving on, forging ahead, bitter-sweetly; Remembrance was chosen as the title because of the nostalgia embedded in that – recalling the past, with a bit of ceremony.
AMBY: You have just released your EP Remembrance. What were some of the highlights while recording it?
Hayley Coupon: The whole recording process was really exciting for me. I was working with a close friend of mine, which made it even more fun and special. We recorded Let Me Be and Pendulum live, which were highlights for sure – the energy in the studio when you have five musicians concentrating on the present moment like that is powerful.
AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?
Hayley Coupon: Only three?? Damn. Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, Fiona Apple’s When the Pawn, and Joni Mitchell’s Hejira.
AMBY: Does hailing from New York, New York influence your music and if so, how?
Hayley Coupon: Yes, but I’m sure other factors influence my music much more … NYC influences my music in the way it influences everything else – the city requires a certain level of cerebral activity at all times. Either you’ve got a high from matching it’s fast pace step for step, or you’re actively seeking or creating a peaceful space to escape it, or it’s one of those days when that balance is totally off kilter and you can’t seem to do either. Any of those moods can be inspiring if you can learn how to harness it.
AMBY: Your cover of Tame Impala’s Feels Like We Only Go Backwards is quite splendid. What other song would you love to cover?
Hayley Coupon: There are so many songs I’d love to cover – Rolling Stone’s As Tears Go By and Radiohead’s Codex come to mind. In high school I sang in a jazz group and would love to do an album of standards one day – But Not For Me, God Bless the Child, Stormy Weather, Why Try to Change Me Now …
AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to you at a gig?
Hayley Coupon: At my very first gig ever, I was too shaken to speak. When I finished my set, I didn’t say anything – I just rushed offstage. The sound guy had to yell, “Are you guys done?” My band still teases me about it.
AMBY: What is your song of the year so far?
Hayley Coupon: Lorde’s Royals.
AMBY: What has you excited for the rest of 2013?
Hayley Coupon: More shows, more writing, and getting back in the studio to record new songs!
AMBY: What is the most inappropriate thing you have ever said?
Hayley Coupon: It would be even more inappropriate if I repeated it here!
AMBY: And last but never least, what’s something about Hayley Coupon that nobody knows?
Hayley Coupon: My stepfather used to record cassette tapes of me at 5, explaining the complex biographies and relationships of my extensive doll collection; these tapes are records of my first songs, because I used to give each doll their own theme song, which I’d make up on the spot.
Thank you Hayley Coupon, for giving us your answers!
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