This is Bedtime: Hailey and Mirella Share Their Writing Process, Nighttime Routines, and Childhood Comforts
On Christmas Day, 2019, in a dead-quiet call centre, Bedtime began.
Hailey brought her guitar to work, prepared to head to a family gathering right after her shift. Mirella (her colleague-turned-best friend) had the day off but joined Hailey in the office for an impromptu jam session.
With Hailey on guitar and Mirella on keys, the two improvised a “twinkly”, sleepy sound that was dubbed “Bedtime” on the spot.
When the two play together now, Mirella’s on bass—the first instrument she picked up when she joined the music scene in 2014.
“I saw Mulligrub at a house show and I was blown away by their set,” Mirella says. “I was like ‘if you ever need a bassist, let me know.’ I didn’t even play or own a bass at the time.”
When she was invited to play with them, she immediately bought a red Jazz Fender and taught herself the chords to a few Beach Fossils songs.
Mirella’s musical drive and quiet confidence is clear—especially to her bandmate.
Hailey has been playing guitar since she was twelve. She spent her teen years collaborating with local musicians but says she was never able to establish her own musical identity. Mirella was the one who helped her push her boundaries as an artist.
“She's given me so much confidence to play guitar in a way that I would never have played before,” Hailey says. “I'm not like Jimi Hendrix or anything, but it's better than I was expecting.”
Both Hailey and Mirella play by ear, not needing to read music or name notes to create the sound they’re after.
“I’ll be like, ‘what does it sound like to you if someone hurt you in this way? What does [that hurt] sound like?’ And then we build off that.” Mirella says, describing their improvisational writing sessions.
“Both of us have a very emotional connection to music, and we're both highly emotional people,” Hailey adds. “And because we're really close friends, whatever we’re playing, we’ve probably already talked about it in real life. And then we have this subtext that happens musically, and we just kind of feed off of each other.”
The duo describes their sound as “music for babies.” Lullabies for the inner child that are as soothing to listen to as they are to write.
Through an unrushed writing process, the two unearth deeply-rooted feelings and unwieldy emotions and knead them until they’re soft and pliable.
“So, when we're singing about our fucking moms or something like that, you know, it’s not in a way that’s aggressive. It’s dreamy and soft,” Mirella explains.
Bedtime is always vulnerable, both the band and its namesake. It’s primal stuff, really. Will someone steal all my berries if I get some shuteye? As a little kid you think: is something lurking under the bed? As a middle schooler at camp: will someone draw a dick on my face if I fall asleep first?
It’s important to mention that bedtime is not sleep. It’s the moments before. It’s the instant you know you must sleep and the time you spend preparing to do so. In childhood, bedtime is decided for you. Someone is there to guide you into this place of guard-down rest. When you’re an adult, you have to do it yourself. You’ve got to take what you’ve been taught about comfort, pick yourself up off the couch, hold your own face in your own hands, and tuck yourself in.
Hailey says writing these lullabies is a way of “re-comforting” herself when a parent is no longer around to do so.
“My mom used to sing to me when I was falling asleep (everything from Stevie Nicks to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star),” Hailey recalls. “And we had this thing called ‘soft,’ and she would just very gently rub my back with her fingertips.”
Now, Hailey’s bedtime routine involves lots of Netflix and yoga sessions that are almost always interrupted by her cat.
The door to childhood is closed, and Bedtime recognizes both the hope and heartbreak in that.
“I was super angsty,” Mirella says of her younger self. “Hiding in the background, listening to metal. Just this weird, emo, goth kid. Now, I want to be seen. I want to be heard. I want to really take care of myself and I want that to show in my performance.”
Bedtime invites you to remember comfort. To act out your small routines of care. And to notice how safe you can make yourself feel.
Their stripped-back tunes are bittersweet, like so many nursery rhymes (plague blessings and babies swaying from treetops). They’re also reassuring, in an inconspicuous, some-assembly-required sort of way. Like a muffled pop song drifting from a prom down the street that you can hear as you lie alone in a bed you bought yourself. Growing up means saying goodbye to a lot of things, but lullabies aren’t one of them.