Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Haley Bonar's happy accidents

Haley Bonar is about to leave for a tour promoting her recent album, Golder, and isn't quite ready to leave home yet:
“I'm in Minneapolis, checking my list 80 times, making sure I have everything I need for tour (laughs). I'm a little out of practice, so I'm, like, 'Oh God, what do I need for two weeks?'”

LEO: You're touring with some cool folks, including one from Kentucky... Do you know them already? Have you toured with them before?
Haley Bonar: I met Holcombe in Portland, when I was living there for a year. Daniel and I met in L.A. a few years ago. Our bands have randomly crossed paths across the country, and we've remained friends ever since! They're so sweet, and I'm really excited to tour with those guys, they're just really good people and great musicians.

LEO: You've played with some great people before, like Low and Andrew Bird. Have you seen that directly helping get your music heard?
HB: Yeah, I imagine whenever you get to open for somebody that has a big draw, it's always beneficial. It's definitely been both good for my career and we've remained friends ever since. I haven't seen Andrew for probably two years, so I'm looking forward to that.

LEO: How do you feel about living that kind of life?
HB: I think that's just of the way it goes. Everyone lives in different places, so you see each other when you can. It doesn't really bum me out or anything (laughs).

LEO: You're playing a kids' show at Lollapalooza.
HB: Yeah! I have a kids' CD that I made called Sing With Me that came out about two years ago. It's just a little EP. I've been doing that once in a while; with the Lollapalooza thing, it just didn't work out to do the regular stage but we're gonna do a short set at the kids' stage. Which is great, and very appropriate, as I'm going to be, at that time, I'll be like 7 and a half months pregnant (laughs) so that'll be kind of perfect. It's shady there, and it's fun. I don't consider myself at all “a kids' artist”. It's one of those things I just did – it's fun and easy – and the shows I have done have been really great. So, I'm looking forward to that.

LEO: Is there any kind of strategy that you have, to diversify your audience?
HB: I don't know if there's any kind of strategy at all. I always wanted to do that. I've always nannied to supplement my music habit, so it just made sense to do some kid songs that weren't annoying, like, about the alphabet, y'know? I wanted to make something parent-friendly. It just sort of happened.

LEO: Speaking of kids, you've had songs used on MTV's "Teen Mom". I have to confess, I haven't see that show.
HB: Oh, you're not missing much, buddy. The show's not that good (laughs). It's very depressing. Yeah, it's really weird. I still don't know what to think about it. It's just like, “Oh, well, I get a royalty check from that, and that's nice...” I don't have TV - I don't have any channels on mine. I watched one a year ago at a friend's house and I was like, “Oh, there's my song.” They used, like, seven of my songs. In my mind, that's sort of odd. It's a heartbreaking show – I don't think that's the intent of it but it's... yeah. It's weird that that's my music (on it).

LEO: You also have a side band, Gramma's Boyfriend, which is more punkish.
HB: We started that a year ago. I'd always wanted to have a punk band. I love seeing my music, obviously, but I've always wanted to do something completely different, and fun. I get to spazz out, and let my freak flag fly a little bit more in that band.

LEO: Can you see that leading to more spazzing out in your solo work?
HB: It sort of has. I write the songs in both bands. I feel like some of the Gramma's Boyfriend songs are not much of a far cry from my songs. Definitely, on Golder, it's a bit more rock-y; it's not by any means a punk rock record, but it's got a little bit of that in there. I think everything you do affects what you're gonna do next in some way.

LEO: How much impact do yo think your little one will have on your songwriting?
HB: I don't know what's gonna happen with that. A lot of my friends have said, “Oh, it's your most creative time when you're pregnant.” I've been really consumed with this record and the tour and all this work, that I really haven't had a lot of time to be super creative. I have no idea what the next batch of songs is gonna be.
It's definitely weird. I didn't plan on this – having a kid and releasing a record is like having two children, in a way. I don't think it's taking away at all; if anything, it makes me want to sing better. I like the fact that this unborn child is gonna be exposed to all this music through the entire pregnancy. I think it's awesome that I can tell her some day, “When this record came out, I was pregnant with you... You were on that tour! You're in this video!”

Daniel Martin Moore with Holcombe Waller and Haley Bonar
The Rudyard Kipling
Thursday, June 30
7:30 p.m., $10

c. 2011 LEO Weekly

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