Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Conversation with Haley Fohr of Circuit Des Yeux

In Plain Speech
In Plain Speech, the latest LP from Chicago's Circuit Des Yeux sees Haley Fohr at her most collaborative. While her last full-length, Overdue featured a hired string quartet, In Plain Speech has full-blown contributions from others. Indicative of this change is Fohr's caravan of roving artists she brings on tour, featuring Whitney Johnson of Matchesse, Adam Luksetich of Foul Tip, and many more. Haley, a road warrior of the finest pedigree, has been touring the United States in both solo and ensemble capacities for eight years. An already skilled live performer, Haley will be touring non stop until December or so both in Europe and the United States.

 In Plain Speech marks her first dalliance with Thrill Jockey Records. Though a self-confessed "control freak," Haley has been enjoying her new partnership, which has perks like music video budget with which she has created the striking "Do The Dishes" and "Fantasize the Scene" videos. Both videos, though intensely personal, bring to light universal themes, both for artists and non-artists. What does a life of travel mean for transient relationships? What does society expect from me because of how I was born? Will I ever be pretty enough to eat?

The tour dates appear after the interview. Supremely recommended. Haley puts on a crippling, emotional show. Do whatever you can to see her.

Jordan Reyes: When you play with a band is there an element of improvisation at all?

Haley Fohr: In general, it's pretty composed, but there are moments within the structure where you can do what you want. I like things to be elastic.

JR: Music theory allows for some of that too. Did you study that in school?

HF: I did study music theory and I hated it. It’s silly. It’s just a box. I would do these compositions where the teacher would say “You’ve got to go from the one to the four and resolve on the five. It’s gotta be in a key and here are the notes in that key.” Maybe if you’re a hyper-organized person, that might be a way to go, but I saw it as a way to put confines on creativity.

JR: Does it still inform you at all or do react against it?

HF: I reacted against it. I wish I had taken it a little more seriously. There were opportunities that I could have had, just in terms of sight reading or even communicating with people.

JR: Do you primarily compose on guitar?

HF: Yeah, eighty percent of what I do, I would say, but I improvise a lot. My new material is probably fifty percent experiments that I decided to take part in to try to break through something.

JR: “Do The Dishes” was very striking to me. That change is so profound in it with the synthesizer at the end. There’s a “whoa” moment at the end for me.

HF: (Laughs) I’m glad you like it. That was fun. Ben [Baker Billington] let me borrow his synth. Man, synthesizers look easy to play, but they are intense. There are so many controls. I had it for a week and didn’t know what I was really doing. The noise that I liked best was the one where I was doing no input - it was kind of broken and just made this humming noise. Anyway, I didn’t master it at all, so I’m glad you like the synth part because it was totally me just like fucking around.

JR: Oh cool! And you recently just toured both the United States and Europe? There’s a big difference, right?

HF: Oh yeah. Europe is a little easier as far as necessities. You get room, board, and meals. They give you riders. But at the same time, you have to ask for something or you won’t get it. Like, if you ask for water, they’ll be like “Oh, we don’t have water for you since you didn’t put it on your rider.” So, it’s interesting in that you just have to become vocal for what you want, but at the same time, I occasionally get hassled because my rider is the same everywhere, so if I play a basement show, the venue might say, “So, your rider…I saw that you wanted some whiskey and a hot meal and water and we didn’t do any of that.” And in that case, I don’t really care, but in general you just have to be very up front about what you need in Europe. The shows definitely have more of a community element in the U.S. though. I toured the states for like five years without a booking agent and I just recently got one, but I still have this DIY backbone so there’s a circuit of people that I meet in every city again and again, which is amazing and special. I don’t have that in Europe.

JR: So the booking came when you signed to Thrill Jockey or was it before that?

HF: It was before that. It’s been about two years. It’s good. It’s nice to have people supporting and vouching for you, but it is more removed because you’re cutting out a lot. DIY culture is all about meeting people and keeping in touch and trading, like goods for goods. I like touring. But for me, coming out of the DIY scene and being thrown into the world of contracts, contractual agreements, is still weird. I guess it’s the business side. And for me, I hate talking about money so if I can have someone do that for me, I can just worry about the music…and of course many other things.

JR: What do you think success in a DIY sense is?

HF: I don’t know. Feeling complete, I guess. Sustainability is not a goal in the DIY scene, I don’t think, which it is in the business space. DIY spaces come and go - it’s not about staying around forever. There’s more of an ebb and flow, supporting everyone. Support is important - everyone being supported, maybe not financially, but emotionally. The downside is that it can be a bit of a closed circle, though self-sustaining for a little while.

JR: I know it prides itself on being inclusive, but do you think that some of the downfall comes from a perceived exclusivity?

HF: I don’t think it’s like a “Cool Kids Club” or anything. I just think a lot of people don’t know about it. How do you find out about a DIY show unless you know someone who knows someone. I do think it’s interesting and cool that it comes with a media blackout. A lot of DIY spots don’t do Facebook events and they don’t do interviews. Some of that is to not get shut down by cops but some of it is just part of the culture of what they’re doing. It can be great - like Ray’s photos - I don’t know if you saw those - they’re at Situations right now, but they show the same fifty people over eight years. So you see this progression of the Chicago DIY scene and it’s beautiful. For me, I want to touch as many people as I can with my music - I like to give equal opportunity to everyone to like it or dismiss it (laughs).

JR: Do you think Chicago has a particularly tight DIY group?

HF: Yeah. I don’t think there’s like people in charge, but it’s a solid organism, even when that NATO summit happened a few years ago. They shut down four or five venues, but we recovered.

JR: Heavy hit. I was just reading about that actually. I had just moved to Chicago when that was going on, literally two weeks before that. I wasn’t really going to DIY shows at the time and I didn’t really know too much about the whole thing. In Durham there were only a couple places where you’d see a DIY show, not like here where there’s one every three blocks. So I was doing some research for an AdHoc piece and that’s when I asked Sara [Heymann] about Mortville, which I guess got shut down because of that.

HF: Quite a few did and it was silly. “Potential terrorism” was the threat. So, a house that hosts creative music could bring down the president or something (laughs). That’s the way it goes though with DIY shows.

JR: So the recent Thrill Jockey LP was the first one you didn’t really have a hand in releasing, right?

HF: I did three records with De Stijl, which was totally hands off. I would just send them the master and a record would show up. But I did Overdue completely on my own. And this is the first time doing a record with a larger label with resources and employees - it’s been really great.

JR: You enjoy it?

Photo by Julia Dratel
HF: Yeah. I’m definitely a control freak, I’ve learned, but I’m also figuring out how to let go and understanding that people are there to help me. I’m able to focus more on the music, instead of worrying about hustling a record downtown. And they’re very supportive and artist-oriented. I’ve thrown a few curveballs at them where I’ll want to do something because I feel like it or I get this idea. And they’ll be fine with it.

JR: Do they help with music videos?

HF: I do have a music video budget, which is nice. In regards to the video for “Do The Dishes,” they wanted me to do a different song for that, but I had the idea for the video and Bettina gave the go ahead and we switched it out. I don’t think every label would do that.

JR: It’s a very striking video too, just from the color palette, first off, the song’s imagery, and, of course, the fact that you bare yourself in it. It’s really courageous and memorable for sure. Was that difficult?

HF: The idea of it was difficult. I thought of it and was immediately afraid of it. But I also think that people take shit too seriously - it’s the fucking internet - why not put art on it? My mom said it was like a tattoo. But it doesn’t seem so permanent. And maybe my mom’s a little upset that I can’t be president one day (laughs) or that sort of thing. But it was interesting coming up with the idea, being afraid of it, and feeling like I had to do it because if I don’t push through the fear, then…well, there’s nothing wrong with a woman being nude in society at all. I think in the right context it can be beautiful and profound. If I didn’t do it, it would only be because I was afraid. I’m also trying to push past my own identity as a person and reach something else with my music and art. This was a way in which I felt anonymous kind of. It’s not about me.

HF: Julia Dratel shot it. She did the coloring. I love her style. She shoots such fine details and half of the shit she puts in her videos, I didn’t realize she was shooting.

JR: Yeah - she just did a Gel Set video too.

HF: Oh, great! How’d that go?

JR: You can tell it’s hers because of how it’s shot. And it’s got some level of absurdity too, but it has a lot of water in it. And water’s not as prevalent in yours (laughs). So I don’t know.

HF: (Laughs) No, it’s not. She just has a style that’s colorful, and interesting. She’s good to work with too - she’s such a hard worker.

JR: The idea of transcendence comes up with you a lot. What does that mean to you - you mentioned transcending your identity?

HF: Yeah, I think I was wrapped up in that for so long. Maybe it’s an age thing, but I really want to give back to society and people. I’d like to help as much as I can. I think words and cooking and all these things people can use to give things to other people aren’t my vessel. Music is where I feel the strongest and where I can help people the most. That’s what I’m trying to do. I want to sacrifice my life for this art in a conceptual way. I could have been doing it this whole time, I think, but I hadn’t really thought of it. I want to turn my life into a piece of art. I want everything that I do to not be an extension of me, but an extension of art. That could mean being on the road or things I decide to keep in my possession. It’s all in an effort to get to something.

JR: Seems alchemical.

HF: Sure. This is a new thing. I’m totally riffing, coming up with my ethos of life in this interview (laughs). It feels right, though. I’m an adult and I want to be part of something.

JR: You weren’t before?

HF: I was heavily affected by my own insecurities and darkness. There are dark events in everyone’s life, but mine stuck with me for a long time. I didn’t realize that I hadn’t let go of that stuff until recently, for whatever reason. I also have a pessimistic view on the world by nature and I’m trying to change that. I’m working on it. Life, in general, though, is amazing and people are good.

JR: I haven’t gotten there yet. I think about that a lot. I’m very pessimistic. Sometimes I have difficulty doing anything really. Seeing reasons to do things too and seeing that people are good - I think I do art or surround myself with art to survive.

HF: Yeah, you just joined this record label - that’s amazing. Without you, everything that these bands would be doing would be confined to the bedroom and you’re spreading the word - part of a greater good. Paying stuff forward.

JR: I hope so. When I’m at work, sometimes I feel like I’m putting on another person’s skin - acting a certain way, directing people. When I get home, I’m sometimes defeated and I need to go for like an hour long run as a buffer zone before I just jump back into my own flesh.

HF: Sure - I’ve started going to the gym more, which has become therapeutic to me as well, especially when I’m at a creative block or feeling down. I think it’s also about how you identify yourself too in a greater picture. Life has its ups and downs - it’s so strange, but the fact that we’re both still here is crazy (laughs).

JR: There are a few ways to lose your ego, I think - one of them is to commit suicide, another is to become a monk, and another is to repeat one action forever and ever and ever and ever and corrode yourself. They all work, but I think they take courage too. I think it’s harder to get rid of yourself than you think.

HF: Can’t fight the tide. I made a decision a couple years ago that I was only going to spend my time doing things that I want. Money comes into the equation pretty quickly. I think a lot of life boils down to what are you willing to do for money? Or, how valuable is your time? I can’t do a lot of things I wish I could because I’m a very poor person, but I choose the life I live. Record labels and music is fucking expensive. Anyone who’s reading this interview who thinks they know how expensive it is to put out a record is way off. They need to double whatever figure they think. Perhaps for you to have this stable job is important - you’re taking money and putting it towards good, rather than going to the bar every night. You’re not buying the Apple Watch or something.

JR: Yeah, but I probably just wouldn’t like that Apple Watch that much (laughs).

HF: The Apple Watch? Yeah, it’s so Orwellian.

JR: It is! Isn’t it? I was talking to my friend Jeffrey, who did the Death in June tour with me. And I was saying, these are such exciting times - it’s Blade Runner without the flying cars. You look outside and there’s an ad every two feet. You’re not allowed to think without businesses or placements intruding.

HF: Strange times we’re living in!

JR: So…uh…

HF: That got heavy (laughs).

JR: Do you know the movie Interstellar? Have you seen it?

HF: Yeah.

JR: When I saw that movie, it was a Saturday in December and I went by myself. I was in one of those reclining chairs at the very front completely center. You can be front and center in a recliner because then you don’t hurt your neck. And I just wept the entire movie. The whole time. Because it reminded me of being a child again - it was liberating. When I feel sad, I think about space or I read science fiction.

HF: The space aspect is humbling to you? Does it depress you?

JR: No, it doesn’t depress me at all. It’s really humbling and it puts everything in perspective and gives me wonder.

HF: When things are not going my way, I often think about the sun and how we’re the exact amount of distance away from it where we can all thrive. That’s such a stroke of luck. If it were any closer or further, things would be different. I guess that’s my humbling space thought (laughs). That’s a great movie. Science Fiction is awesome. It’s political and reflective of the time. And it’s challenging. The idea of space travel is also profound and brave, courageous. Unknown territory. It’s a metaphor for the true, great, worldwide heroes. I don’t know. Would you ever go to space? You ever thought about that?

JR: Yeah, I think about it all the time.

HF: I don’t think I’d go to space.

JR: You wouldn’t?

HF: (Laughs) No. No I wouldn’t. I also wouldn’t get in a submarine, probably for the same reasons - natural instincts of wanting to be where the oxygen is.

Photo by Samantha Saturday
JR: I’m terrified of flying and I’m terrified of dark water. I used to fly like twice a week for work and every time was panic attack city. I’m a little better now, I guess. I try to do the math. “Okay, I’ve flown this many times and nothing’s happened yet, even though I’ve been scared so maybe this one will be okay.”

HF: See, I’m the opposite. You’re talking about pessimistic plane flight thoughts, and I’ll start thinking “I’ve been on like three hundred flights and this could be the one - just one flight too many.” But that’s such a narcissistic thing to think. Why would my flight be the one that would crash? It’s self-centered.

JR: You feel fine after that?

HF: Yeah - I can also sleep on plans. It’s so weird. You’re in a tin can and when I think about the reality of it, of course I’m going to have a panic attack. You’re in a tin can launching through the sky. And no one turns their phone off! There are all these weird frequencies bouncing around - it can’t be good for you.

JR: I know a guy who does jet maintenance and I asked him “Do I really need to put on airplane mode when I fly?” And he said “Nope.” And I just was like, “Great, so I can text my mom as soon as this fucker starts going down.”

HF: It is weird going through security too. You feel guilty, even though you haven’t done anything. Like, why wouldn’t you be able to go through?

JR: Every time, since I wear this necklace that I never take off, I get a little paranoid. They usually just pat it, but I often think “What if this is the time that I get hauled out or rechecked?”

HF: Going through with an instrument is a hassle.

JR: Do they search it?

HF: Almost every time. Cooper [Crain] told me about Dan’s synth, this 1970s Yamaha analog synth that got taken apart and they shipped it back to states in parts - they didn’t even put it back together. They can do that, too. They’re not liable for anything. Cause, you know - it could have been a bomb. It’s so hard to fly as a musician, especially in Europe. There’s no “musicians’ rights” there.

JR: So you can’t carry instruments on? You have to check them?

HF: It’s terrible. Have you ever seen luggage get loaded onto a plane? It’s horrifying. They just chuck it. I was on this plane, on an international flight. There were all these carts with luggage. I watch everyone take the luggage out and put it into a pile. Then one guy starts yelling and waving his hands and all these people are scrambling - it turns out they had the luggage from two flights together - and people are trying to figure out which luggage goes where. There was no order, no system. And then they throw it onto the plane, throwing it like it’s nothing. It was the worst feeling in the world. They’re trying to stay on schedule at the expense of anything you have that’s valuable.

JR: I flew with a bunch of records from Miami here that we were going to sell. I filled my suitcase with records and then a backpack with records. And a backpack’s got no padding. So I was like “Is this a good idea? Well, probably could have been better, but I did it anyway.” I was pretty nervous, but they were fine.

HF: Did you bring them through security?

JR: No, I checked it. Most of the stuff I was bringing were records. I only have like one pair of jeans, the ones that are on me.

HF: And you never take those off, either? (laughs).

JR: No, not even in the shower. I just have this massive blow drier that I also check when I fly.

HF: I have a funny flight story. I flew to Europe on Iceland Air, which is an awesome airline. Great movies. I flew back Air Berlin, which is the world’s only budget transatlantic airline. I had brought my guitar, for which I bought a seat - I always buy a seat for my guitar in Europe, which is fine. I had my guitar and pedals. To check my clothes was going to be 180 Euros extra. So basically, in front of the clerk, I put on all my clothes. I had like eight pairs of underwear, three pairs of pants, two pairs of shorts, and seven shirts. I just left the rest at the airport. Anyway, when I was going through security, everything was going off. I could barely move with so many clothes. The lady goes to pat me down, and I’m this marshmallow person. I was explaining what I was doing and the lady totally had seen it happen before, but I got through - I won, right? I came back with all my favorite clothes.

JR: Do you collect a lot? Do you like to collect things?

HF: If I had more money, I would. I’m not much of an archivist or collector, but I exist between the realm of necessity and having shit for fun. I love records, but I’ve had to sell so many of them.

JR: I had to sell a lot of them for label stuff. There’s always going to be more records.

HF: But there are also times when you’re wanting to listen to some records and you’re like “Oh, fuck. I sold that one!”

JR: Yeah, and there are times when I’ve bought records back.

HF: It’s quick cash, for sure, and they don’t really depreciate. I don’t take care of mine that well - I don’t have them in sleeves. I just use them and love them.

JR: I keep mine in poly sleeves, but records are like the only thing I spend money on. Books too, I guess. I’ll go days without eating for a record. I can go about three days without eating.

HF: What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a record?

JR: Four hundred dollars.

HF: What record was it?

JR: Rowland S. Howard’s Teenage Snuff Film. Do you know that record?

HF: Whoa. Yeah.

JR: When I got sober, I listened to that record a lot. I saw a documentary of him about a month and a half after I got sober and, you know, the first part of recovery is the hardest. In the documentary, it ends, and Rowland’s given up heroin but he’s going to die. He’s going to die in the next few months. He dies before the documentary comes out. And at the end, he talks about wishing he had more time. And I knew that, “Fuck, I can’t drink and I can’t do drugs again.” That record means so much to me because of that. I got that record in April of 2014 and I stopped drinking and doing drugs on January 3, 2014. I listen to that record a lot. I think about how much that man wishes he were still alive and how much he can’t come back.

HF: That’s beautiful. Records can be magical. They can be very personal.

JR: Do you have a favorite record?

HF: Not a specific, favorite record. I have some cool records though. I’ve got some Jim Shepard records with paste on artwork and a Peter Jefferies record that’s a painting, where he sprinkled paint and glued stuff on. To me, it’s amazing. It’s a relic of time - it seems so personal. I love private pressing style stuff. My partner knows me - he’s a such a sweetheart - he keeps his records at his office. I fantasize about records and then sometimes when a special day rolls around, I get a record that I could never afford. That’s his romance - that’s how he gets to me. I’ll get home and a Patty Waters original from 1966 is on my bed and I’m like “What the fuck! This is amazing! All my dreams are coming true!” I love ESP-Disk.

JR: You just did that list, right? You only got three choices?

HF: Yeah, and how can you pick three? It was supposed to be a beginner’s guide too, but I like the weirder stuff, like whale noises. My idea of pop music is different than other peoples’. So I just went through and picked out the hits, I guess. I don’t know if I’m into hits, though. And Ben [Baker Billington] is on ESP-Disk. Last time Tiger Hatchery played in town, they played at Situations and it was fairly industrial-sounding. They’re such a good band.

JR: So, like, none of what I asked you was what I was going to ask you (laughs). But I think it’s more fun that way just to riff. Do you have a ritual when you play or when you make music?

Photo by Julia Dratel
HF: Well, it depends. I have my studio, which is totally messed up right now. My studio is sacred space - it has things my friends have given me and some crystals. I don’t have any ritual that I do when I record, but when I play live, I habitually do things. I stretch, I do vocal warm ups. I put on my gigging boots.

JR: You have gigging boots?

HF: Yeah, I have gigging boots (laughs). And if it’s a big show that I’m nervous for, I’ll shine them in the green room before I play. Vocal warm ups are hard because they’re loud and they get in peoples’ way. A lot of places I play don’t have a green room so I have to walk around the city and I look like a lunatic doing vocal warm ups, but I need to do a 45 minute vocal warm up, which I’ve only really been able to do completely a few times.

JR: How long have you been singing? 

HF: Since I was ten or eleven. I took vocal lessons and then when I went to college I didn’t. I think I’m getting into the second layer of my voice now, like I’m really becoming a musician. I did my first couple improv gigs recently, which were eye-opening. It was me and Carol Genetti, who’s kind of a secret vocalist from Chicago. She never tours. She’s been doing improv vocals for something like twenty-three years. She has so many world within her voice. I like Meredith Monk and Diamanda Galas, but it’s different when you’re practicing. I just did forty days in a month and a half. It feels good, though - it’s awesome.

JR: When did you start singing baritone?

HF: I’ve always sung baritone. I listened to a record I did in 2011 and I sound like a completely different person - my voice has just gotten lower and lower and lower, and I was wondering “Is this going to bottom out?” But it just kept going and I think I can maintain it now, but it’s always changing. The voice is crazy. Everything you drink touches it. Everything you eat touches it. When you talk, it affects your voice. Your air affects your voice. It’s a muscle and it will wear out one day. It’s a delicate instrument. I think about that a lot now, but I didn’t used to.

HF: In High School, I would sing guy parts like Tenor 1’s. I would try out for solos, but would never get them. I guess I didn’t have a voice suitable for star power - I wasn’t a Soprano 1. I felt a little awkward growing up with a low voice, but now I embrace it.

JR: Do you think you have a low talking voice?

HF: I think my talking voice is low, yeah, but my singing voice is much lower, I’ve been told. The way you sound to yourself is lower because it resonates in your face.

JR: Yeah, I think I’m more manly in general than I probably am, too. Gruffer.

HF: I think I’m more manly too.

JR: Well, that makes two of us. And you recently started getting acrylic nails for when you play, right?

HF: I did it right before this European tour and I’m really fucking up my guitar. It’s shredding my guitar, but it allows me to play more consistently, which is important. I finger pick a lot. I took gelatin pills for a while, which gives you great, shiny hair and sturdy finger nails. But my natural finger nails always break. A few of my friends use them, though, and they like them so I decided to try it out.

JR: Yeah, I think Ryley [Walker] does, right?

HF: Yeah. Ryley goes to a Vietnamese lady and I go to a Mexican lady. They look really different. I think mine look pretty badass, and they’re cheap too.

JR: So, in regards to the physical presentation before a show, what all do you have to do? I guess that sort of touches on the ritual thing.

HF: There’s a visual aspect to performance. I hate it. If I had it my way, I would sing behind a screen and someone would lip sync. It’s uncomfortable and I think there’s this double standard. I just had four live reviews in a row from Europe and the first thing that each of them talked about was how I looked. “She wore bell-bottom pants and her hair was in her face…” And I’m like, what the hell - that never happens with men. I’m not into fashion. I’m not a fashionable person and it makes me uncomfortable. It takes a lot of time, too, doing make up. When I have a show, I have to pack, and get my records, then I have to get ready for the actual show, like putting on makeup and taking a shower. Some people like that aspect of dressing up and becoming someone else, but it’s unnatural for me. It’s true too that I’ll sell more records if I wear lipstick and have a nice pair of pants. It’s just true. That’s the way the world works.

JR: Is that why you dress up and prepare yourself like that?

HF: Yeah, but sometimes it feels like armor too. It’s part of preparation and it takes a lot of time. I’m getting more comfortable getting in front of an audience, because I’ve been doing it for eight years now, but I fucking hate getting my photos taken. I hate being elevated on a stage with lights on me. I don’t like people looking at me. I like being the person at the back of class and I’m not going to raise my hand. I like to watch - I like people watching. Putting on makeup is part of the gig, I guess. It’s nice to feel attractive too. Makeup makes me feel more attractive in that context - I think it’s appropriate for whatever reason.

JR: Do you like to play live?

HF: I love to play live. I don’t do well traveling. I like meeting new people, but I wish the shows would come to me. All of these people would come to Chicago to see me. Sometimes I take it personally when you travel really far and you play a set that wasn’t your best or some cosmic force pits things against you - the PA dies or everyone’s having a bad day and they’re talking and drinking loudly. I’m a fragile person. But I’ve become a better musician through touring. It’s vital. I think every musician needs to tour. You learn a lot about yourself and you get better at your instrument. I like playing a set for a month and feeling the progress. I get back home after a month and so much progress has been made.

JR: It elevates and elevates.

HF: Yeah, you just keep doing it - getting better and better. Touring alone is a trip in itself. I’m bringing people on these next couple tours and it’s going to be great. It will present its own set of challenges, I think, since there will be so many of us, but anything is better than traveling the world alone without anyone to share experience with. Actions live and die on your own because there’s no one to share them with.

JR: Is it lonely?

HF: Very lonely. And I used to not mind the isolation when I was younger. It’s true. You can be whomever you want to be every night. You have freedom to do what your heart desires, but the older I get, the more I realize that I know who I am. It doesn’t seem as exploratory in a fundamental way anymore. Like going through shit to come out stronger on the other side. It gets lonely. Well, you travel alone a lot.

JR: It’s super lonely, but you can become more comfortable with yourself.

HF: It can be reflective, but too much of it is strange. Hotel rooms too. They can be such a safe haven or hell on earth.

JR: I lived for the first three months in Miami in hotel rooms. Definitely gets to a point where it’s less fun. I lived for a while in hotels in Charleston too and in Virginia and D.C. and a little bit in L.A.

HF: Hotel rooms have so much energy. So many people have been in and out of them. You can feel the energy. Sometimes it’s inviting and great, but sometimes it’s really bothersome.

JR: I think hotel rooms are hard to stay for a while too. Things are laid out to make you feel as though you’ve got to get out of there quickly. It’s easy to feel unwelcome.

HF: And housekeeping comes in at like eight or nine every time. Man, checkout’s at 11. I’ve got the “Do Not Disturb” sign right there! It’s a lesson to always use the latch, don’t sleep completely nude, and you’re good to go.

JR: I’ve yet to learn those two things. No - just kidding. I never really sleep nude cause I wear my one pair of pants all the time (laughs). So what else is in the future for Haley Fohr?

HF: Touring forever (laughs). I’ve been recording too. I’m finishing up a secret album next week. I’m not going to say anything about it except that it’s crazy and everyone tells me that it’s the worst idea I’ve ever had, which is really exciting! Then I’m on the road until like December. Come find me. No Miami dates though.

JR: Playing anywhere near Florida?

HF: I think the closest I’m playing is Texas.

JR: Okay, that’s pretty far.

Tour Dates:

Sun-Aug-16 SANTA ANA, CA @ Observatory (Berserktown Festival)
Mon-Aug-17 SAN FRANCISCO, CA @ Brick & Mortar
Wed-Aug-19 PORTLAND, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
Thu-Aug-20 VANCOUVER, BC @ Cobalt
Fri-Aug-21 SEATTLE, WA @ Lo-fi Performance Gallery
Sat-Aug-22 BOISE, ID @ MING Studios
Mon-Aug-24 DENVER, CO @ Rhinoceropolis
Tue-Aug-25 OMAHA, NE @ O'Leavers
Wed-Aug-26 IOWA CITY, IA @ Gabe's *Note venue change*
Thu-Aug-27 MINNEAPOLIS, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Fri-Aug-28 CHICAGO, IL @ The Hideout
Sep. 11 - 13 HUDSON, NY @ Basilica Sound Scape
20.09.2015 Tilburg (NL), Incubate Festival
21.09.2015 Aalst (BE), Netwerk
22.09.2015 Duesseldorf (DE), Filmwerkstatt (NEW!)
23.09.2015 Karlsruhe (DE), Kohi (NEW!)
24.09.2015 Luzern (CH), Suedpol
25.09.2015 Lausanne (CH), Le Bourg
26.09.2015 Duedingen (CH), Bad Bonn
29.09.2015 Paris (FR), Cafe L'Olympique (NEW!)
30.09.2015 London (UK), Cafe Oto
01.10.2015 Manchester (UK), The Eagle Inn
02.10.2015 Glasgow (UK), The Hug & Pint
05.10.2015 Luxembourg (LU), de Gudde Wëllen (NEW!)

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