IT has been cool speaking with…
Haley Blais as she tells me about her new single, Seventeen, and how it came together. I ask her about her musical tastes and what sort of music she is into; whether her new E.P., Let Yourself Go, is her most confident work – she highlights a rising artist to check out.
Blais tells me reveals three albums that mean a lot to her; if there are going to be gigs coming up; what the music scene is like in Canada right now; the advice she would give to artists coming through - she ends the interview by selecting a cool song.
Hi, Haley. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! I’m well. I’ve been learning the bass all week and haven’t left the house - so I feel like a productive hermit.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m Haley Blais; a musician from Vancouver, BC. I play in a band with my four beautiful sons, singing songs about my life.
Seventeen is your new single. What was it like putting it together?
I knew I wanted the video for it to be sentimental and nostalgic, but kind of put it on the backburner while we were busy with touring etc. So, when I had some downtime and was looking through tour footage, I realized it worked perfectly to portray the message behind the song; that I’m where I’ve always wanted to be.
It recalls, as you say, a rather average and unspectacular time of life. Do you feel you were rather boring as a youth? Are you measuring yourself against unrealistic standards?!
I might be. I’m not saying I’m regretful at all: I guess hindsight is 20/20, as they say.
Exactly! I like to think it’s inspired by who one becomes once they’ve bloomed.
Which artists compelled you growing up? What sort of music were you raised on?
I was, 100%, raised on Dad Rock. When I was old enough to start appreciating music and curating my own taste, I listened to a lot of Bob Dylan and Folk music.
You are a Canadian artist. How do you think the music of the nation differs from that of the U.S., for instance? Do you think Canada gets the attention it deserves?!
Oh, man; I’m not sure I can speak for the entirety of the music of the nation but I can say that some of my favourite musicians of all time are Canadian. Andy Shauf, for instance, is a songwriter I really admire - but he’s definitely underrated compared to the pedestal he’s on in my mind. Is that because of his geography? Maybe! And that would be dumb!
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
The completion of my first L.P.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
The tour, by far…
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
The Bearer of Bad News by Andy Shauf
It’s just a perfect album start to finish.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Because it reminds me of my brother.
Either Songs from the Big Chair by Tears for Fears or Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Because the 1980s call to me.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Angel Olsen; red wine, chips and salsa. Those are the first things that came to my head and I agree with myself.
Can we see you on tour soon? What dates are coming up?
I’m playing a few dates in the fall. Sept. 8th at SKOOKUM Festival in Vancouver; Sept. 14th at Rifflandia in Victoria and Oct. 26th at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver (opening for Peach Pit).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Practice, play show; practice, post dog pics on Instagram (lots of pics).
IN THIS PHOTO: Hatchie/PHOTO CREDIT: Alex Wall
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
There’s a new artist, Hatchie, from Australia that I discovered at the beginning of this year and she’s fantastic. Cocteau Twin- meets-Sheryl Crow.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I work from home and most of my band is in other bands themselves so, right now, it’s definitely easy to have some time to chill. I’m very into cooking right now! Meals are usually my favourite part of the day, but lately even more so…and it’s very therapeutic.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Bad Guy - Hatchie!
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