2014 Artist Survey: Haley Bonar | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2014 Artist Survey: Haley Bonar

Bonar on Her First Concert, Which Golden Girls Character She's Most Like, Mark Kozelek, U2, and Traveling to Mars

Jan 06, 2015 Haley Bonar Bookmark and Share

For Under the Radar’s 12th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2014. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2014 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2014 print and digital issues for answers from alt-J, Camera Obscura, Chromeo, The Dears, Death From Above 1979, Deerhoof, The Drums, The Flaming Lips, Glass Animals, Hookworms, Sondre Lerche, of Montreal, Ought, Owen Pallett, The Rosebuds, Strand of Oaks, Teleman, Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs, Warpaint, Woman’s Hour, Wye Oak, Zola Jesus, and others.

Here are some answers from Haley Bonar.

What was the highlight of 2014 for either you personally or for the band?

My album being released in Europe and touring there.

What was the low point of 2014 for you?

In September I decided I was going to quit playing music because I was so burnt out on feeling crappy about touring and expenses. But I didn’t!

What are your hopes and plans for 2015?

That I will record a new album.

U2’s new album was downloaded for free into millions of users’ iTunes accounts without their permission. Was it a wonderful gift to music fans or an invasive action that devalues music? Also, which artist, other than you, deserves to have their album automatically downloaded to half a billion people more than U2?

I think it’s bullshit that U2 and Apple did that. It’s invasive and offensive and personally, I don’t think anyone should be allowed to do that regardless of your status or popularity.

Mark Kozelek was criticized in 2014 for insulting his audience (calling them “hillbillies” for talking during his set) and for making fun of The War on Drugs when their sound bled over to the stage he was playing. What responsibility do performers have to be respectful of their audiences and fellow bands?

I think Mr. Kozelek is very insecure. Without fans, you are nothing. Trying to gain attention by dissing other musicians and fans is, in my eyes, disrespectful and desperate. But apparently his plan worked.

What’s the most uplifting or heartwarming fan interaction you’ve ever had?

When people tell me I have inspired them or helped to change something for the better in their lives. It’s pretty humbling.

What’s the topic no one asks you about in interviews that you wish they would? Conversely, if you could get journalists to stop asking you one question, which would it be?

I don’t want any more questions! Haha. I wish people would stop associating my name so heavily with Alan Sparhawk and Low because that was 11 years ago. I love that band, but it’s a bit frustrating to always have a man’s name associated with my own when I have worked hard at my own career in the past decade.

Which musician or celebrity did you most have a crush on as a child or teenager?

Robin Williams was my first crush.

Which subject do you wish you paid more attention to in school?

Cellular biology.

What was your first concert experience like (who did you see and who did you go with)?

My dad took my sisters and I to see the Steve Miller Band when I was about 12 years old. He said, “You smell that? That is marijuana.” I loved the show.

In 2024, as part of the Mars One program, four people might be sent to Mars with no hope of ever returning to Earth. Are they completely crazy or brave? Would you ever consider such a thing?

I don’t think they’re crazy. I think it’s terrifying, but some people want to be extreme. Good for them! Personally, I have no desire to go to Mars or participate in overpopulating and ecologically destroying another planet.

Which Golden Girls character are you most like?

None, but I like Blanche! I think it’s rad that she is sexually confident and body positive at her age.

What advice would you give to a musician who is writing and recording a follow-up to a critically acclaimed and successful album in terms of dealing with the pressure and delivering an album that meets expectations?

I’d like to hear other people’s advice on that one myself!

When you can’t sleep, what worry is most likely to be keeping you up at night?


Which unique location on Earth would you most like to perform in (for examples, the top of the Eiffel Tower or at the North Pole)?

Maybe the Catacombs in Paris.

What out-of-date technology do you most miss?


In 2014, what was the best movie you saw, book you read, comic book you read, video game you played, and/or TV show you watched?

Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Book: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

TV show: Rectify.



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