Hayley Marsten

by the partae

Where are you currently based?

I’m based in Brisbane but I’m from Gladstone in central Queensland originally.


How did you first start playing music?

I started writing songs when I was 7 but it wasn’t really until I was in High School that I really got obsessed with it. My friends were in a band and sometimes they would let me guest front-woman them in the shows we would put on at lunchtime. I was hooked and I started writing and performing solo from then on.


What’s been happening recently?

Recently I’ve been kept pretty busy prepping all the release stuff! But I’ve been really loving getting back into writing again. Last year I had a big outpouring of inspiration and I wrote half an album and then took a break for like 7 months. So it’s been really awesome to get back in that headspace and co-writ with some of my favourite people.


Your single ‘Drowning Myself’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?

Yay it’s finally out! I’ve always really loved songs that are really upbeat and poppy but the lyrical content is quite emotional and vulnerable. It wasn’t my intention going into writing Drowning Myself that it would come out like that but it just happened. I was listening to HAIM’s amazing album Women in Music Part 3 and my co-writer Kieran Stevenson and I have always been huge fans so we decided to let the song have a bit of breathing room in pop rather than trying to force it totally into a country sound.

Last year was a really difficult time for me (as I’m sure it was for many people) mostly because I was so used to being on the road from my extremely busy 2019. And because I had been on the road so much and going so hard with the release of my debut album Spectacular Heartbreak, I was already so burnt out by the time 2020 came around. I spent basically the whole time in lockdown punishing myself because I couldn’t seem to be the resilient person I used to be and as a result probably drove myself deeper and deeper into depression. So Drowning Myself is really the realisation that sometimes you are who is holding your head underwater. The whole experience really taught me I need to be a whole lot kinder to myself.

How did you go about writing Drowning Myself and what does this song mean to you?

I initially had the idea in May last year. I put down a very rough idea in my voice memos in the middle of the night that is horrifying to listen back to because it sounds like a goblin. Kieran and I started a weekly co-write session when restrictions eased and this is the first song we worked on. It came together really easily, as most songs we write together do! Which is so exciting. As soon as we finished it I knew it was something really special and I knew it had to be the next single. More than just the inspiration behind this song being so vulnerable in a way I have never been before, this song means so much to me because it was the first song I wrote after that really dark time. Before this I really thought I would not be coming back to music or writing again because I just didn’t have anything left.


Drowning Myself see’s you move away from your traditional alt-country sound, how and why the change?

It was not planned at all. Even though I’ve always been a huge pop music fan I was always very aware of not colouring too far outside the lines of country. But after last year and having some much time to really re-assess myself and who I am as an artist I just decided to stop trying to steer things so much into one genre and just make something I loved and was proud of.


Where and when did you record/produce/master and who with?

We started recording in March this year. Dan Sugars my co-producer recorded it all in various studios around Brisbane. We recorded some parts in full-blown studios and also some stuff on the complete other ends of the spectrum with a very DIY setting. We actually recorded my vocals in my walk-in wardrobe. Magoo was our executive producer and mix engineer so we had pre-production meetings and then he would listen to every part of the song as we went along to give us any pointers/feedback. It felt really collaborative and like a whole lot of friends coming together for this even though a lot of it was recorded via distance.


You co-produced the track, how was this experience?

It was something I was super against when Dan first suggested it. But I think it was just because I still didn’t really back myself fully. I’m so glad that I eventually just got out of my own way because it was such an amazing experience to really get into all the tiny parts of the song and think about how I wanted to present it. A lot of backing vocal parts that I spent months thinking about. But I think really the reason it was such a great experience was having such a wonderful production team around me.


Who are you listening to at the moment? 

Right now I am obsessed with Silk Chiffon by Muna and Pheobe Bridgers, I can’t stop listening they have put something super addictive in this!! Also, Trouble Finds a Girl by Jenny Mitchell feat Tami Nelson just came out but it gives me full-body chills every time I hear it.


What do you like to do away from music?

Possibly the one good thing that came out of time at home is I finally developed hobbies outside of music! I am obsessed with cooking and I think I’ve become a pretty great chef! Now I’m waiting for all my friends to be able to tour again so I can make them my homemade baked gnocchi when they’re in Brisbane on tour. I also took up rollerskating but I am much, much less skilled at that. Lots of failing over very un-gracefully still.


What’s planned for the remainder of 2021 going into 2022?

I’m going to finish writing this album and focus on what I can control right now, like getting back into the studio. Next year I am gunning to get back on the road again and take my band this time. And then a finished album 2 later in 2022 sometime.


Favourite food and place to hangout?

Pasta, cheese and bread all together and probably my little backyard. I have party lights around the washing line that feels like a little dancefloor. I am hoping for many more dance parties in 2022!

Alt-Country Singer-Songwriter.
New Single ‘Drowning Myself‘ out now!
A fan of talking very fast.



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