Following her explosive debut album Just Give In / Never Going Home, Australian native Hazel English has embodied the modern trend of dream pop, while singlehandedly eliminating any pre-conceived ideas of the genre.

After her move from Australia to Oakland, California, Hazel signed to indie-kings Polyvinyl, composed one of the most promising debut records in years, and toured most of the world - all the while still embracing the DIY method her music projects. As Hazel was caught up in the whirlwind of touring in Europe, we got to catch up with her, discussing her upbringing of music, her five desert island discs, and what it’s like being a vegetarian while on tour, among many other things.

When did you start to make music?

I started playing music about ten years ago, but I guess I did play in a school band when I was a kid as well. I was just learning songs for a while, and then I started writing songs. It’s been a while, but I didn’t start to release music until more recently.

How did you your relationship with Jackson Phillips (Day Wave) come about?

I met him at a book shop. We just started chatting, and decided to work on something together, and it just worked out.

What’s the reception of your record been like in Australia? Particularly with friends and family?

We haven’t actually been to Australia yet, surprisingly. It’s kind of funny, we’ve been touring everywhere, but we haven’t toured Australia. But I’m really excited about that, hopefully soon we can do that. They’re really happy about it, and they’ve been really supportive of it. They’re just happy that I’m doing what I love, and they’re excited when they hear me on the radio and stuff. They’re really supportive, so it’s nice.

You had originally been studying abroad in San Francisco for creative writing. When did you decide to call it quits with that and focus on music?

Well, I graduated, but I decided to get my masters, but then I didn’t do that (laughs), and decided to make music instead, about two years ago. So that kind of pushed me forward, committing to music.

What do you do outside of making music that influences you creatively?

Actually, travel really inspires me. I’ve been traveling quite a bit, and I feel like, really inspired. I think just trying new things, going on adventures. I also get a lot of ideas when I’m biking around, or like, a lot of the time in the shower I get ideas for songs too. It’s usually a state of mind when I relax and I’m not thinking too hard.

Following a lengthy tour, where was your favorite place to play? What crowd surprised you the most? Do you have any pre show rituals?

We’ve always loved playing London. London’s really cool, and there’s always a great reaction there - we played a show there last week. And of course San Francisco is always great, too. Kind of home away from home shows, there’s usually a great reaction there, too. It’s always nice, seeing people sing along. We’ve been playing in a lot of cities in the UK, like Bristol and Birmingham. And I don’t know anything about these cities, really. All of these people showed up. And it’s really cool. We sold out Manchester, too. Germany was really cool, too. Hamburg was surprisingly a really great crowd, they were really into it.

What’s it like being a vegetarian while on tour? Do you find it’s harder to eat healthy?

It’s really easy. I’ve never had a problem, honestly. I actually think it’s easier in Europe, especially the truck stops, they have a lot more healthy options than the US. They even have pressed juice options, too.

What are your 5 desert island discs? Who are you into right now?

Oh, that’s hard off the top of my head. Souvlaki by Slowdive would be one of them, for sure. Heaven or Las Vegas by Cocteau twins, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, Tender Buttons by Broadcast, and Loveless by My Bloody Valentine. I’ve been really into the new Slowdive album, obviously, which is really great. Childhood, too. They’re really amazing. I’ve been listening to the bands I’ve been playing with a lot.

The modern world of indie music is stuffed to the brim with dream pop. How did you avoid falling into the pit of repetition and come out with a record that’s more wholesome, if not artistically rewarding?

I think it’s just about the intention behind it. I just try to write songs that are honest. To me, that’s what helps. I don’t know, I just think that’s’ relevant, and what people are drawn to about it. So for me, it’s just staying genuine to it and true, and not doing it for the wrong reasons, I guess, or not trying to be anything I’m not, or not trying too hard. If it feels easy, then there’s usually something in it that people respond to. I just try to keep it simple.

Modern artists tend to drown in their influences, and overly pronounce them. Is that something you try to avoid?

I mean, I have bands that I love, but I don’t ever try to be like, “Oh, I want to make a record that sounds exactly like this person.” That’s just not how I approach music.

Polyvinyl is known for hosting indie giants and cult favorites alike, such as Japandroids, American Football, and Of Montreal. How did you link up with them?

Well, I guess they contacted my manager. It actually happened pretty quickly. I wasn’t super involved in the process, but I’ve met some of the people from Polyvinyl, and they’re really great, everybody is super nice from that label, and I’m stoked to be apart of it.

Do you think your lyrics are more autobiographical, or sort of general where they’re open to interpretation?

I think both. I do write really personal lyrics that come from experience, but I try to make it a little open to interpretation, because then people can make it personal to them, and meaningful to them, and identify it in their own way, and that’s really important to me.

Was there ever a song you wrote that you really impressed yourself with?

I don’t think about it like I’m impressed with myself, but I’m glad with how it sounds in the end. With ‘Fix’ I was pretty happy about it, how it evolved, and how mellow it ended up sounding. Probably one of my favorite parts is the bridge. I come away thinking that it’s me, and I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I’m glad when we get to the end and I’m happy with it.

What was your “holy shit” moment, where you finally realized this could be a career rather than a hobby?

I think when we started touring, it was like wow, this is crazy. Going to a completely new place, like Brussels, where I have never been before, where people are actually listening, and not just in America and Australia.

What can we expect from Hazel English in the future?

Pretty much just touring and a new album.