Interview with Leisha Hailey of Uh Huh Her
I hope you enjoy this interview courtesy of Stine @ www.TheNewGay.net
It’s almost May 2nd! And yes, it is three days before Cinco De Mayo, also known as Thursday, but more importantly, Uh Huh Her will be taking the stage at the 930 Club. Much to my glee, I had a chance to speak with Leisha Hailey last week.
What ha’ happened was:
The New Gay – You are touring in support of the Black and Blue EP with Nocturnes set for release this summer?
Leisha Hailey– That’s our plan, we’d love to have it out this summer. I believe we just worked out an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel show. So we will try to have out our pre-sale out at about the same time.
TNG – Do you feel your audiences interact with you and your music differently than when you were supporting Common Reaction and the I See Red EP? Black and Blue has a much different sound.
LH – No, when people get behind a band, hopefully they are along for the ride. You grow and change. That’s whats great about the music. We have definitely grown as a band. Gotten to know each other and our sound has changed.
TNG – When the band started in 2007 you were still filming the L Word. How does it feel to be focused on one major project?
LH – I like it. There was definitely a point where I was overwhelmed time-wise just balancing things, flying back and forth. I actually enjoy just doing one thing at a time. It actually works for me.
TNG – On a scale of openly hostile as a 10 to totally indifferent as a 1 where irked is a 5, how do you feel about people calling you Alice?
LH– I don’t know I can’t even put a number on it. I can tell you I think it has gotten a lot better. I think the people there are there for the music. But, a lot of people wouldn’t have known about our band otherwise, and I’m grateful for the exposure. The only thing is: I’m not a character.
TNG – So from what I’ve read you and Cam (Camila Grey – vox and keys) weren’t super well acquainted when you started the band. How did you come to name the band after PJ Harvey’s album? I’m imagining late night beer sesh over a box of records…
LH– No, we were a three piece at the time, Alicia Warrington on drums, and we couldn’t agree on a name. We would all come everyday for weeks with a list of bands and no one liked each others. I think we found it in a book. It just fit. I can’t even remember whose list it came off. And it fit. It kind of a relief. We had our EP finished and the record company was like “we need a name!”
TNG – So you’ve had a lot of exposure from the L Word. Is it weird to have fan girls? In my experience, queer girls tend to be very devoted to their musical icons. MEN were in town a few weeks ago and I’m pretty sure the audience would have changed all the tires on JD Samson’s van if given half a chance.
LH – Uh – weird no, what? I mean, without anyone in the audience, you’d be playing to no one. It is fantastic, we are so thankful, and seriously it is an amazing thing. I think the audience is changing….we even have boys in the audience now.
I don’t think it is specific to queer girls. I think as a music lover you become invested in the music. You feel it and it becomes a part of your life.
TNG – Do ya’ll design your own merch? I’m specifically enamored with the “Heartless Robot Tee”
LH – We usually have people throw ideas out. If we can agree on something we go with it. It takes Cam and I a while to agree on that. Someone else did Heartless Robot and then it became a competition. That was the one I liked and Cam picked the one with hearts all over it. Hers won though. It sold more.
TNG – Are you still running Plaid Records? How does being on your own label shape who you are as a musician?
LH – Well Plaid is our record label and it makes sense because it has everything we need to run our band, and as an indie artists its an ideal situation.
I think it’s incredible to self release records and tour through our own funding. It helps you grow as a band because you grown through so much together. It’s a daily struggle and exciting. When you are on a label things are being done around you and you don’t have any say and you kind of lose touch and things just kind of happen. When you are making every single decision you feel a more a part of it.
TNG – You had your rainbow tattoo removed…. Tell me more….
LH– Well I got it when I was 23 or 4 and uhm and I never intended it to be a gay rainbow. I really loved stars at the time and I really loved color. I still love color. I wanted it to be the most colorful tattoo that ever existed. And the tattoo artist went over it twice, so it was really inked on there. After a while, I couldn’t stand that it was an armband more than anything. I felt like Nick Lachey.
TNG – You are based out of L.A. So – Prop 8. How important is the repeal of Prop 8 and DOMA to you?
LH – (Politely demurring) I’d rather not talk politics.
TNG – Okay. When you were the Murmurs the digital “online persona” aspect of being in a band seems like it must have been totally different. Have Facebook and Myspace become the new “street team”?
LH– It is completely different. With street teams back in the 90s you would meet people that were hanging your posters and flyering records stores for you. It was very hands on. Such a different world and it’s really exciting . You can do so much now and you are so connected to your fans.
I don’t know if you know about this, we ran out of money on Nocturne, we ran out of money but we need to mix it, and we had this offer from our friend Chad (I missed his last name – sorry Chad) who agreed to do it for a really low price. So we had an online auction and sold all the things we made, and all the money that we made went back into the album almost to the dime it was exactly how much we needed to finish the album.