Haley Bonar Interview – Ep5

On to our fifth interview.  This episode we are interviewing the fabulous Haley Bonar.  Haley is another Minnesota native that can not be ignored.  What you should do is pour yourself a nice glass of milk, go to her website, listen to her music, maybe watch a video and then read her interview below.  Might make you feel better about the world.

FFTB: You create music with folk elements without being narrowly categorized as a folk musician. How would you define your music?
[HB] Well, I’m sure that it is hard for most people to try and define the genre that their music fits into. I am one of those people. I guess there are elements of pop, country, and rock without really being one or the other?

FFTB: Can you tell us a little bit about the 1st song you ever wrote?
[HB] The first time that I wrote a song it was based on a poem I wrote about depression. I was into bands like Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins in a major, teenage-angsty sort of way. I learned three chords and sang the words over it somehow… I imagine I’d be pretty embarrassed if I heard it now!

FFTB: On a similar note think of the last song your wrote; what were some of the major steps taken to complete that song?
[HB] The last song I wrote was a couple of weeks ago on my casio keyboard. I put a basa nova beat on and played some organ chords and piano melody over it… I love using the “epic diva” effect on Garage Band, so I used that to record both the keys and the vocals. The song is called “carelessly’, and I was inspired by someone’s comments on youtube about how ‘awful’ I look when I sing. The song was therapy I guess.

FFTB: Are there difficulties being a woman in a male dominated industry?
[HB] (See answer above…) I feel like being a woman makes it much more easy to be thrown into categories by people, especially music critics. I get compared to musicians who I know the only thing I have in common with is that we both wear bras. I also feel like our looks are scrutinized much more than a male musician. Men can roll out of bed and jump on stage and nobody would say a word about it, but not so for girls. I’m not saying that I don’t love to dress up or anything, but it’s just something I’ve noticed when i’m reading an article about a musician who is female. The first paragraph or two is usually based solely on what they were wearing at the interview, not on their work.

FFTB: Would you consider lyrics to be music?  Does one usually come before the other for you?
[HB]  I think lyrics are music, yes. Sometimes I write the melody without words, other times I sing whatever comes to my head and write it down.

FFTB: What is the primary instrument you use to write music with?
[HB] Guitar. 1957 Guild.

FFTB: Preferred fantasy creature: Centaur or Gryphon?
[HB] unicorn.
FFTB: Favorite Twin Cities club to play at?
[HB] First avenue!

FFTB: Who are your top three favorite songwriters?
[HB] That is impossible to answer, but three that I’ve been jamming lately are M. Ward, Jon Brion, and Karen Dalton

FFTB: Any advice for people that aspire to be professional songwriter?
[HB] own it.



  1. Pingback: Haley Bonar Interview « Steve Goold

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