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Published: 2017/03/21
by Stu Kelly

Catching Up With Hayley Jane and The Primates

It’s not easy to make it as a relatively new touring band. Life on the road can be tough, sometimes the crowd sizes can be discouraging and it’s difficult trying to carve out your own space in such a competitive market. However, Hayley Jane & The Primates are one of the most exciting and rapidly ascending bands touring the jamband circuit today. The band possesses a natural sense of fearlessness on stage, which is fueled by their unquestionable chemistry, and daring sense to explore musical parts unknown by pushing the envelope in a live setting.

Hayley Jane & The Primates recently wrapped up their first ever tour below the Mason-Dixon line with stops in Asheville, Atlanta, Raleigh, Charleston, Richmond, Virginia Beach and D.C. Currently, the band is prepping for the release of their second full-length studio album which was produced by Craig Brodhead of Turkuaz and will come out sometime in 2017.

We had the opportunity to catch up with the band as they came through one of Washington, D.C.’s most beloved small venues; Gypsy Sally’s. We spoke about everything from the band’s influences, their aspirations and life on the road in an in-depth Q&A that was full of laughs, jokes and plenty of insightful moments that pulled back the veil to gave a glimpse of what life is like for a young, hungry and talented band with a very promising road in front of them.

The group consists of Hayley Jane (lead vocals, washboard), Justin Hancoc (guitar, vocals), Josh Carter (bass, vocals), Greg Smith (guitar, vocals) and Ryan Clausen- (drums).

You’re about to wrap up your first Winter Tour in the South, tell me a little bit about how it’s been so far.

Josh: It’s been a lot of fun; we haven’t killed each other yet (laughs). There’s been stronger shows and weaker shows…it’s our first time in the South so, you know, you never know exactly what to expect – but there’s been some fun highlights for sure. I think I can probably speak for the band and say the show we played with Col. Bruce [Hampton] was a highlight in Charleston, South Carolina. He actually played first, which was weird, but it worked out great. He stuck around and it was a super great venue, at the Pour House, that was definitely a highlight for sure.

Hayley: We had never been down here before, so it’s our first Southern tour. We’ve mainly stayed in the Northeast, except for one California tour, so coming down here was really important and it was great to finally break into a new market, with new people where nobody had heard of us.

Josh: We were pretty surprised by how awesome the South has been. I can’t remember a time where coming down Georgia to be a “jamband Mecca,” but it really was. Everywhere we went people were covering the Grateful Dead and I love it, I love going to places where Jerry is everywhere.

Ryan: The people have been super hospitable too, everybody’s been so nice. We stayed at a few friends’ houses, and the venue contacts have been awesome, and everyone has just been really kind. Which is refreshing when you don’t know too many people down here.

Greg: The Southern hospitality is very real.

How do you handle your rigorous touring schedule?

Hayley: Well, in the morning we put all of our names into a hat and when you pull it out that’s the person you get to punch (laughs) and they know that’s their duty for the day.

Josh: Unfortunately, all of the pieces of paper have “Josh” written on them.

Hayley: But in all honesty we’re new to this length of tour, we’re eleven days in so we’re feeling it, our bodies our tired, it’s no joke. Being in a van that much is tough. Just remembering to stretch is so important. Communication and patience…being okay when you know someone is having a rough day, and if someone is having a rough time everyone just kind of lightens up. Everything ebbs and flows, talk to me tomorrow and I may have a completely different thing to say.

Greg: I would say it’s been pretty much non-stop. We’ve only had one day off and on that day off we did an open mic night and played three songs at Cary Street Café, in Richmond.

Hayley: It’s funny because that open mic night was one of the most fun moments on tour for me. It was just crowded with a lot of people and it was a blast. It was definitely a small highlight for me.

What are you listening to as a band? What’s been helping pass the time on the road?

Justin: It’s so funny you should ask. We’re borrowing this van from a friend of ours, William Thompson, and we found out before we were getting ready to leave for tour that there was no auxiliary input, so all we’re working with is CD’s. Luckily I have a massive CD collection, but I only brought like 12 CDs. So we had listened to all of them by day two (laughs).

Hayley: Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Beastie Boys, Ween, Rift .

Josh: Every time I get behind the wheel I always put Workingman’s Dead on. So we’ve listened to that all the way through like five times.

Justin: We also have The Wedding Singer soundtrack (laughs).

Greg: We also stopped at a record store and picked up Mother’s Milk .

Josh: We’ve played a lot of The Last Waltz over and over, which has been great.

Greg: We all have our favorites. I love Dr. Dog and I wish we had a physical copy of their new album.

Josh: I wish we had some Chris Robinson Brotherhood or some Warren Haynes. I would love to meet them both.

Hayley: His dream is to eat BBQ with Warren (laughs). That’s his dream.

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