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Come Along for the Ride With Tedd Hazard’s New Fierce Song “Marquee”

With his ever-evolving atmosphere and niche, unique sounds, long-time performer Tedd Hazard from Hazleton, Pennsylvania, keeps listeners on their toes.

With influences from punk to folk to jazz, Tedd Hazard uses everything he has to offer, including songwriting, melodies, and vocals, to string together eccentric and fearless music. He has been on the music scene since 2009, and even after over a decade of making music, he can find new ways to show his creativity.

His latest release, “Marquee,” performed and written by Tedd Hazard, uses aggressive and combative vocals that he is most well known for.

Accompanied by simple guitar instrumentation, the focus is all on the melody and lyrics. Being less heavily produced, “Marquee” has a very natural and acoustic background. As a result, this song gets going quickly, followed by a build-in vocal layering and sounds as the song progresses.

A rapid slow down at the end of “Marquee” leaves the song feeling complete and satisfying.

Though the complex sound and musical feel, the lyrics of “Marquee” give quite the opposite impression. Tedd Hazard’s strong-willed vocals disguise the hard-hitting and anxiety-ridden lyrics. Tedd Hazard expertly blends these emotions with his rousing sound, screaming for recognition and affection. As a result, “Marquee” leaves you feeling riled up yet emotional, with very different experiences depending on how you listen to the song.

Whether you are looking for a gritty and expressive song or something different to expand your musical horizons, Tedd Hazard’s “Marquee” is available for streaming.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Tedd Hazard, and thanks for sharing your newest song, "Marquee," with us. Tell us about the songwriting process for this track.

I'm sure this is entirely apparent, but Marquee was significantly spurred of the moment. Some songs take me years to have a version I'm happy enough with to record. For example, the song "Patch Me Up" from "And the Flowers are Still Standing" was written about a month after my gallbladder surgery in 2016. It was intended to be on Marshall Law, but I wasn't happy with it until that summer when I recorded Flowers. I can write some songs like "I'm Trash, and Nobody Loves Me" and "Victory Speech Impediment" in an hour or two and be super happy with the result. Some songs don't need to be 5 minutes long with heavy breakdowns and epic solos. Sometimes, a lot of times, in my case, simplicity is bliss. It's folk music. It's not reinventing the wheel. If you have to force a song, you should move on to something a little more natural. Marquee was highly natural to me. I just wanted to write a song about self-destructive narcissists clamoring for attention. I sat down, screwed around with some chord progressions and lyrical ideas, and in an hour, it was there. I think the result was one of my best works. Like I said before, you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Just speak your mind. It'll come if it doesn't just wait. It will.

How has your sound evolved over the decade you have been making and releasing music? How does "Marquee" compare to your earlier songs?

A lot of my earlier stuff was, for lack of a better term, "very punk." Which, you know. What do you expect? I played in punk bands for years. I didn't know anything else. But as I grew as a solo musician over time, I started to learn all kinds of jazz chords, different strumming/picking patterns, and styles. Stuff that complimented my music well. The turning point of my writing style was "Candlelight," when I started using a lot of rag-time sounds and harmonicas in my stuff. I stopped thinking, "how would I write this if it was for a full band" and more or less, "how would I write this if I couldn't rely on a full band." It's a lot of jumping through hoops and taking liberties, but once you figure it out, it's very rewarding. I basically went from "trying" to be NOFX to "this is how I wrote this song before, how can we do that again, but with a different theme/style." I'd say around 2014 is when my style found its voice. In the last two years, I've also taken up the banjo, something I never considered until we put one on "Flowers." I went to the studio a month later with Condition Oakland and said, "a banjo would be really good on this part." "Do you know how to play the banjo?" "No, but give me 10 minutes, and I can figure it out." A week later, I went out to a local music shop and traded a Gibson SG for a B7 Washburn banjo (which has been heavily modified since), and in two weeks, I learned the thing in and out by playing to my entire discography. Since then, I've been writing a lot with it. Marquee was entirely written on banjo. The bridge was tailor-made for the picking part. I want to say about 70% of my next record was written on banjo. It's one of those things where I had to make songwriting interesting for me again. You can only write so many songs on guitar until it gets stale. Since I picked up the banjo, I'd say I'm flourishing again.

Where do you tend to draw musical inspiration from? Do you have any artists you admire that have influenced your recent music, including "Marquee?"

Artists like NOFX, Propagandhi, The Dead Kennedys, Mojo Nixon, and The Weakerthans have influenced my style in the earlier years. These days, not a whole lot influences me musically except life. I come up with my best stuff in complete silence when I can hear myself think. I have been listening to many big band jazz, 90s Hip Hop, and Frank Sinatra in my free time. My playlists are getting weird.

I also take a lot of inspiration from my peers in the local music scene here in NEPA. It is not as much a competition as it's like little love letters to your friends. For me mentioning Matt Pless or Billy Mack in a song is like a little Easter egg in a Star Wars movie. You'll be rewarded if you watch enough of them (or listen to enough artists like me).

What challenges have you come across in your years as a musician, and how have you overcome them?

Time and physical restraints. Between the recording of "Self Reconstruction" and "Marshall Law," there was about a five-year gap. In 2016 I had surgery, and it affected my ability to play guitar and sing. I was playing a heavy resonator guitar at the time, so playing and singing with that was out of the question. When I downgraded to parlor size acoustics, I got back into the groove of things and made it work again. I was also able to start using the harmonicas again, which was tough before with the resonators. Even now, I find myself playing the banjo live a lot more, mostly because, dare I say it, it's a bit easier for me. If you have to struggle with something, make it easier for you because it's not worth it if you don't. You don't need to impress anybody but yourself. One of the biggest issues these days is time. I do a lot of work in animation/voice-over as well, so right now, between writing a new record, playing shows, producing cartoons for my youtube channel, and making time for my personal life so I don't break down, it's tough. But I'm currently finding a good balance.

What's next for you?

I have two festivals coming up, one in Pottsville on July 9th at Pil Guh Ruh brewing company and one in August in Sodus, NY (Folk n' Punk, August 12th), and a handful of one-off shows including a weekender in Vermont with The Mega Yeah. But my major focus musically right now is my tenth full-length record. It's going to have 14 new songs, and it's going to be a new yet familiar Tedd Hazard. There's going to be pianos, banjos, guitars, harmonicas, and probably a crazy amount of weird percussion. It's going to be my most ambitious attempt at making a record yet and I'm very excited to see how it comes out. I'm going to record in the fall and aim for a 2023 release date. And then the major plan is doing a tour down south, then one in the southwest. At least that's what my plan is. Who knows what will happen? That's the beauty of life. It always pushes you in a different direction. And if you know how to steer yourself back to where you want to be, you'll learn to appreciate yourself a little more. You need to learn how to be less self-destructive if you want to achieve what you want in life. Learn to do that, and you'll hate yourself a little less each day.


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