By Miles Erickson      June 24, 2022

Share Story on:

Recently my friend with a gluten intolerance introduced me to gluten-free pop tarts. They were pretty good, but my friend with the intolerance said they still weren’t very authentic because he was two bites in and hadn’t died yet. I used to wear a mood ring all the time, but I had to take it off because yellow was the color of sadness and everyone thought it was a wedding band. Sometimes I stay up at night wondering: Where does a pastor buy his wine before it becomes the blood of Christ? Shout out to the pastor going to 7/11 at 5 a.m. on a Sunday and getting concerned looks as he checks out with eight bottles of cheap wine. You may recognize HALEY from her song “Kismet Kill,” which appeared on the Long Distance Listening Party, Vol. 10 playlist. She’s released music under the stage names Haley Bonar, HALEY, and as a member of the band Gramma’s Boyfriend. This week she joined me for an interview. Miles Erickson: In the late 2010s you moved away from using the stage name Haley Bonar and instead started releasing music as HALEY. I can imagine, in a lot of ways, that felt like starting from scratch. Would you agree? Do you feel like your fans were able to understand and follow you on that transition? Or do you think there’s maybe still people out there wondering why Haley Bonar hasn’t released anything new on Spotify since 2016? HALEY: I don’t think it felt like starting from scratch. I changed my name on International Women’s Day to my mother’s family’s name which is McCallum. It’s the first time I trended on social media because people can be so awful and they loved to make fun of my name rather than listen to what I was making. So if people weren’t on board, or can’t use Google or type in my website, that’s not my problem. I did it for me and myself alone. It was a decision that took a long time to make and I let everything else go once I did. I can’t control how people react or keep up. There’s too much info around and I don’t expect that. I’m not much of an attention seeker, Caveat: Most of my fans were incredibly supportive. I don’t mean to sound negative about it; it was the best thing for me…most people were gracious and respectful. ME: Since changing your stage name, the music you’re putting out has become a lot more experimental. Pleasureland, released in 2018, is made up almost entirely of instrumental soundscapes without any vocals. The album feels very free-form and is a pretty drastic step away from the more traditional punk/pop/rock songs in 2016’s impossible dream. What, if anything, inspired this change? HALEY: Pleasureland was an album I always wanted to make. I started writing it during the 2016 election cycle, when I saw our country was on a crash course to right-wing white supremacy. The darkness was palpable and I was quite literally speechless. What words could make sense for a time of senselessness? For me it was about feeling. Writing piano pieces that took hours and hours of practicing was a challenge I needed to get through a time of feeling like hope was disappearing. It just happened to coincide with my name change. I have released a few singles since that have lyrics as well. I’m working on my new record and can’t f***in’ wait to share it. Hint: it’s got words. It’s the best songwriting I’ve done to date. I always need to explore my artistic urges, whether that’s making a neo-classical piano song or singing with my punk band, Gramma’s Boyfriend, or painting a picture of a lady smoking. It’s all in there, no matter what name I’m using. Long Distance Listening Party Vol. 11 This playlist is available on Spotify. Search “Long Distance Listening Party” or my username, Mileserickson-354. Long Distance—Turin Brakes Hounds of Love—Kate Bush (David Bowie “I Love You”) Since I was Six—Jessica Lea Mayfield, Dan Auerbach Need You Around—Smoking Popes Hi Freaks—Tocotronic Love That’s Gone—Le Sera For Love—Lush Comfort Zone—Murlocs Cant Help Myself—Alexandra Savior Comfort Zone—The Murlocs Long Distance, Turin Brakes. The vocals are reminiscent of something Jack White would sing. I’m especially reminded of the White Stripes cover of “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself,” with both songs featuring these kind of high-pitched banshee vocals. The chorus leans further into something resembling hard rock and it’s an appreciated break from the overall sound of the piece. Hounds of Love, Kate Bush. “Running Up that Hill” used to be a mainstay on my personal playlist, but after watching the new season of Stranger Things, I have been exposed to that song enough to last me the rest of my life. So now, “Hounds of Love” is my new go-to. “Hounds of Love” is the title track of Bush’s 1985 album that I would probably put on my top 25 of all time. Last time I wrote about Kate Bush I brought up her operatic vocals, which can sometimes be a bit off-putting and are often stated as one of the reasons she never really resonated with American audiences in the same way she did with the Europeans. The leading vocals in this song are great, the backing vocals (where she kind of barks like a dog?) are a bit much. Can’t Help Myself, Alexandra Savior. Alexandra Savior’s vocals are almost indistinguishable from Lana Del Ray’s. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d probably think this was a Lana song, distinguished only by the somewhat faster tempo of the piece. The haunting vocals pair really well with the ghostly high-pitched synth organ and understated beat. Need You Around, Smoking Popes. Why this album wasn’t a bigger hit is kind of a mystery to me; it’s so quintessentially ’90s and the band blends right in with other huge mid-’90s acts like Harvey Danger or The Presidents of the United States of America. The vocals and lyrics are slightly more melancholy, occupying the same emotional space as Morrissey or Fugazi. Miles Erickson is a recent graduate of CalArts, published author, and currently enrolled in a prestigious, four-year, student loan repayment program Long Distance Listening Party’s vague intention is to discuss topics framed in the context of what I’m currently listening to.
      June 24, 2022

Share Story on:



JUNE 24, 2022

Topanga before today