/ Lady Lyon
words, photos & video by josh yong
- Name – Hayley Lyon
- Based – Sydney, Australia
- Genre – Folk/Soul & Blues
- Web – soundcloud.com/musicbyhayleylyon
The friendship between Hayley and myself got off to the best possible start –
– a shared love for food.
It was “a soupy kind of day” according to Hayley, as we mutually decided that there was no way we were going to start working on videos until we got some food. Vietnamese Phở was what we were after, and Hayley knew of a place in Marrickville that would provide.
As we walk down the street she starts to point out a few different places, “there’s this place, which is nice” she says rather hesitantly, “…or we can walk just a bit further down here and go somewhere a bit more…authentic”, gesturing towards the next shop on our right.
We slide the doors open and step inside.
“I used to come here all the time, they decided to renovate and paint the walls from baby blue. It took them ages, and you can see they didn’t even do that good of a job, now it’s this weird brown colour.”
She wasn’t wrong, their idea of a fresh colour palette wasn’t exactly the most aesthetically pleasing thing. Thankfully though the food was delicious and the establishment’s reputation successfully surpassed its décor.
We were headed to the nearby suburb of Annandale, to a church space that Hayley had kindly organised ahead of time for us to use for this session.
Her contact there was a lady called Anne Lyon, which coincidentally also happens to be the name of Hayley’s mum. When Hayley went to check out the space ahead of time, her parent’s were in town for her birthday, and so Anne Lyon met Anne Lyon.
What’s more (yes, it get’s better), Hayley’s dad is a master builder and has just completed a refurbishment of a church in Maitland, a process currently being undertaken by the very church we would be in.
Needless to say there were many talking points that day.
The church itself is kind of a dream space to be doing a video in. It was a proper cathedral, complete with giant pipe organ, and we had the entire place to ourselves.
For the video I really wanted to show off the kind of grand epic-ness of the space, so I positioned Hayley down towards the back of the space, with her amp perched in the pews. There’s an amazing depth created by the rows of seating, with the aisle reaching right back past the pipe organ and into the shadows.
“I’ve always wanted to blast a guitar amp here” Hayley laughs to me. “churches are normally such quiet places and you feel you have to whisper all the time. It’s been a bit of a dream of mine just to be able to turn an amp up to 10 and fill the room.”
Hayley did just that. Her track “All Night Temple” is a powerful track. It’s got intersecting elements of folk, country and blues, as she laments over a lost love. “I’d never imagine you’d go and break my heart”. It’s a subtle exploration of how hard it is sometimes to let go. It’s pretty refreshing to hear a restrained take on this theme, I can tend to be conveyed in music quite in your face and clichéd, but Hayley doesn’t fall into this trap.
“When I’m high, I still call your name //
When I’m high, nothing has changed…”
– Lady Lyon “All Night Temple”
It’s the perfect setting for this song too. A church by definition is a temple, and it certainly is a place of asking and pondering questions that may very well go unanswered.
While we had the space, we planned on doing a couple more tracks, which Hayley will be releasing through her own channels in the near future. I was stoked on this, because there were so many different possibilities for angles and shapes to film that I had trouble settling on a frame.
I discovered this little alcove through a door to the side of the church, there was beautiful diffused light pushing through a high window, and the sound bouncing off the stone walls made the space sound so much bigger than it really was. It was in here that Hayley performed another one of her tracks, titled “Avocado Jazz” (you’ll have to ask her for the explanation of that one).
I really do feel like I could have spent the entire rest of the day in this church, finding new angles, new light to play in, but right on cue Anne Lyon (church-minder, not mum) rejoined us, indicating that our allocated time was up.
It was okay though, we had got what we needed and reverted back to the mandatory whispering as we packed our gear up.
Hayley is working on an EP which will be coming out soon. She’s made a deliberate action of taking the time to figure out what she wants to do musically. She’s spent the past couple of years working at a local venue, Oxford Art Factory, and this has exposed her to all kinds of music, she’s met many musicians, all the time shaping her own writing and performing style. It’s a process which I feel is perpetually evolving, with milestones such as EP’s or albums acting as a temporal encapsulation of your artistry in that phase of time.
Working at a venue has also given her the frontline view on the trend of live music arguably becoming a lot less popular than it once was. It’s a similar thing that seems to be happening in NZ too, with even a small $10 cover charge putting people off attending gigs.
Hayley tells me a story how there was a mixup with somebody not being put on the guest list for a gig, and then refusing to pay the $10 to get in, turning around and leaving the venue.
“What kind of friend is that?” Hayley exclaims.
I’m confident that live music will continue strong. Hopefully what we’re seeing now is some kind of post-technological-netflix-confusion phase, and people will eventually remember the energy of live performance and it will rise in popularity again.
Until that happens, check out Hayley’s performance in the Hunter Baillie Presbyterian Church on a sunny Monday afternoon – it truly is the next best thing to watching music live.
Enjoy – more projects on the way so keep in touch.
Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think of the project so far.
– JY x