Singer-songwriter-turned mask-maker Hayley Harland is one half of indie-folk duo, TYGERMYLK, who has taken to cramming herself into a tiny old Kia during lockdown to perform gigs. Headliner catches up with her in between serenading fans in the back of her car.
Hayley Harland used to write songs, but now she makes masks. One half of Brighton-based indie-folk duo, TYGERMYLK (derived from the nickname of her childhood park ‘Milky Tigers’ and the 1996 Belle and Sebastian album), Harland and Aurora Bennett surfaced last year with debut single, What God Would Keep Us Apart – a heartbreaking song about Harland’s first love, whose parents locked away for two weeks after discovering their daughter was gay.
Since releasing their debut single, Harland and Bennett set to work on their first record, although the lockdown period hasn’t resulted in epic studio hours, as mask-making has taken over for Harland:
“Basically I make a face mask with tigers on it, and then for every face mask that is bought, one then gets donated to a key worker,” she says, speaking to Headliner from inside a tiny old Kia that used to belong to her grandad. She has recently been using the car as a makeshift live gig venue.
Currently staying with her parents in the land of no signal, Harland regularly drives to the top of the hill behind their house, parking right next to a mobile phone mast to ensure ultimate connectivity for gigs – and phone interviews.
“We're in quite a rural area and the Wi Fi comes down a little telephone line – and it is very rubbish,” she explains, admitting that she feels slightly guilty for saying that she’s feeling surprisingly upbeat despite the global pandemic.
“I think it's just because I've done one of those personality tests, and every time I do it, I come off as an introvert. And although I don't feel like an introvert, I actually really prefer being alone and isolated and all of that stuff. Not having to go out and have social engagements suits me really well!”
Elaborating about performing from “the tiniest car in the word,” she says that although no one in her family wants to actually drive it, they can’t bear to let it go:
“I have to put down all the seats to be able to fit me and a guitar in. It was my grandpa’s. He sadly passed away a year ago, and he loved his car so much that no one wanted to get rid of it. But no one in the family wanted it because it is this shitty little Kia,” she laughs.
“It is so small; my uncle was driving it around for months before, and he just hated it because he couldn't properly fit his whole body in it. It's perfect for me because I'm small! I mean, I'm an average sized woman,” she corrects herself. “I'm small enough to fit in the car. I love it and it reminds me of him – and it's very easy to drive!”