Kirsten Hazler and John Dacey have been the duo known as Haze and Dacey since 2012. As of 2019, John has been adding baselines and vocal harmonies to Kirsten’s songs. “Sometimes a snippet of melody or a wisp of a lyric lingers in my head for months or years before it is ready to become a full song,” says Kirsten about her songwriting process. “Sometimes it all comes pouring out of nowhere, and is finished within a half hour.” They started performing many of the songs at their live shows, and began hatching plans to start recording in 2020. And then the pandemic hit, and everything, including recording, was put on hold. Through the pandemic, she saw that there were earie similarities between our reality and that of Margret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which Kirsten had been binging since being in quarantine. The collection of songs, inspired by the book and TV series, seemed more relevant than ever, and Kirsten was tired of waiting for the right conditions to record, so she recruited a band, which would later come to be known as The Haze & Dacey Collective. The band members practiced individually to the scratch tracks Haze recorded in her living room.
Their most recent song, “Jezebel’s,” from their upcoming album, Letters from Gilead, is an upbeat song, reminiscent of 1920’s style swing and jazz one would hear in a speakeasy meshed with some soft rock we get from Dacey’s electric guitar solos between verse and chorus. The song is guided by Kirsten’s Joan Baez-esque voice and powerful lyrics. While the song makes you dance a little, the meaning behind it is much darker. Inspired by Jezebel’s, a speakeasy in both the book and TV series of The Handmaid’s Tale, it’s about the women who work there and the rich and powerful men that take solace there.
Sung from the women’s point of view, she sings “Sometimes when the guy’s not so hard on the eyes, you can pretend that you had a choice” and “So pop all the pills and drink all you can take, ’cause it’s the only escape.” She sings about how they were given the ‘choice’ to work there, but there really isn’t a choice at all as they still get all the inappropriate behaviors of men. “‘Jezebel’s’ is notable for being the first song I ever composed on piano,” says Kirsten. “In the past I’ve always composed on guitar, and I started on guitar with this one but quickly realized it required piano to get the sultry speakeasy feel I was going for. And since writing this one, I’ve composed several more on piano … It really opened up a new door for me.”
While “Jezebel’s” sounds like a song you can move to, the lyrics tell another story, that of pain and emptiness. The music reflects the experience of the women Kirsten embodies, on the outside everything is fine and good, but on the inside, she wants to die. This is absolutely a song for the century as it speaks to the issues that we see today and gives a sense of empowerment. “Jezebel’s” is out now wherever you get music. Keep an eye out for their album, Letters from Gilead, also inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale, out November 12, 2021.