Hayley Jane makes her mark in Detriot’s burlesque and art scene.
Hayley Jane makes her mark in Detriot's burlesque and art scene. (Submitted)

Band: Hayley Jane

What are you going to do when you're back in town? I haven't been home . . . pretty much since I moved out here. I moved (to Detroit) June 27, 2008. This is my first vacation really I've taken since I've moved. I used to help out at RLH Guitars, where I (had) a show (Aug. 14). I didn't really get to play a final Hayley Jane show when I moved away. I (was) really looking forwardto performing with my old band again. My drummer Zac (Unger) is extremely talented.

So did the gang reunite? It (was) me and my drummer and we (had) a new bassist. My back-up singer (came) back. The band that (opened) for us, Fractures in Fear, they're a band I was friends with when I lived around there. I (played) my older stuff with the band - the stuff that everyone knows. Then, I (did) a set with just me and my guitar.

How did you get into music? My family's been musical my whole life. My brothers and my dad had a band in the basement, and I would always sing with them. When my parents got divorced, my father and I had literally nothing in common. So kind of a way to kind of bridge the fact that he was leaving . . . was we would write songs together. He would play the keyboard, and I would write lyrics and sing. I learned how to play guitar one summer. I recorded my first album . . . when I was . . . like, 14.

When did you start Electric Mime Symphony? I met my ex-boyfriend Zac when I was around 16, which was when I started the idea of maybe having other instrumentalists (in a group). I didn't really have a band per say until maybe six months before I left Pennsylvania. But we had recorded with a bass and . . . additional instrumentation. It just kind of filled out the sound really well. It made so much more sense than just me playing my guitar. Since then . . . I haven't been able to find instrumentalists that either suit my style or what I want to do. I've really been returning the idea of just me and my guitar.

How has you songwriting evolved? When I first was writing, I was writing, like, really sugary power-pop stuff on my little hot pink electric guitar. Then, it kind of morphed into this, like, darker pop punk. The last album "Soliloquy" was, like, industrial/punk kind of cabaret (music). (Now) I've been writing things that aren't so much superficial imagery and with more imagery that makes more sense to what I'm trying to talk about.

Why did you move out West? Originally, I moved out here because of a boyfriend. But the boyfriend broke up with me a month before I was scheduled to move out. I had to move out anyway. This is where I'm supposed to be. Detroit . . . is kind of like those things when you were little when you colored all the colors on the paper then you covered it over with black crayon and then you scratched it through. It's all this darkness, but then every once in a while, there's a patch of really just amazing bright art and beauty. (Detroit) is becoming this beautiful place for underground art.

What are you up to in Motown? I'm Hayley Jane the doll girl. (Laughs) One of my . . . recurring performances out here at Theatre Bizarre is that I'm hooked up to this gigantic marionette structure. I've been involved very heavily in the Detroit burlesque scene. So right now, my big thing I'm trying to do is that I'm trying to construct a human music box with a rotating platform that I can stand on and perform on. I'm trying to fuse my music with my burlesque, and I'm starting to kind of score my own burlesque act. It's a really rewarding process.

Have you met a lot of other performers with similar interests? It's very hard to establish a community with the people in Detroit because everyone kind of has this apocalyptic idea that everyone is fending for themselves. There is a really great circus community out here. Just working with Theatre Bizarre . . .I established so many amazing connections. Right now, there's this thing that goes on every Monday night where all the circus and fire performers from around the Detroit metro area come and practice in my backyard. When I was out in Pennsylvania, I always tried to kind of involve way too many people in my band because I wanted to make it a show. Here, I actually have the materials, and I have the people that can make these visions happen.

What are your goals? If I progress as much as I have in the last year in the next year, I better be famous. (Laughs) I'm working right now with the producer from Insane Clown Posse. I'm recording an album, and I have a couple ideas for shows.

- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF

If you go

For details, visit www.hayleyjane.com or www.myspace.com/hayleyjanemusic.

To listen to the interview, visit www.flipsidepa.com.