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?
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.