2016 Artist Survey: Haley Bonar | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2016 Artist Survey: Haley Bonar

Bonar on the Election, Sharon Jones, Scary Movies, Memorable Fan Encounters, First Kisses, and Her Favorite Films

Feb 23, 2017 Artist Surveys 2016 Bookmark and Share

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For Under the Radar‘s 14th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2016. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2016 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from Haley Bonar. Bonar’s latest album, Impossible Dream, came out in 2016 via Gndwire.

For our annual Artist Surveys we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about Trump and the election, 2016’s deaths, self-driving cars, Stranger Things, first kisses, scary movies they shouldn’t have seen as a child, which Friends character they are most like, and much more.

Pick up or download Under the Radar’s Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue for Artist Survey interviews with Amber Arcades, Austra, Faris Badwan of Cat’s Eyes and The Horrors, Boxed In, Caveman, The Charlatans, Cursive, Lucy Dacus, The Dears, C Duncan, Sadie Dupuis of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz, Dutch Uncles, Ezra Furman, Robyn Hitchcock, The Invisible, Justin Lockey of Editors and Minor Victories, Lost Under Heaven (LUH), Lush, Midlake, Phantogram, The Range, Springtime Carnivore, Sunflower Bean, Surfer Blood, TEEN, The Thermals, Nick Valensi of CRX and The Strokes, Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak, and Yuck.

Top 8 Albums of 2016

1. Beyoncé: LemonadeBecause Beyoncé! I saw her perform after the album came out, and it was one of the greatest concerts I’ve ever seen. She’s incredible, and this album is a truly great pop record. Faves “Sorry,” “Hold Up,” and “All Night,” and “Formation.”
2. Rhianna: AntiSo many awesome songs on this. I love that her voice is so malleable, depending on the mood of song. My favorites are “Desperado,” “Needed Me,” and “Higher.”
3. Goat: RequiemI have liked this band for a while, and they do not disappoint. This album is like if Amadou and Miriam were performing at a Renaissance Festival full of hippie metal heads. So good!
4. Angel Olsen: MY WOMANI was a bit late to the game on Angel Olsen, but I really like this album. Good production, strong voice and lyrics. The single “Shut up Kiss Me” is fucking awesome.
5. Solange: A Seat at the TableI love the laid-back production juxtaposed with the sad/joyful poetry of oppression and rage. It’s feminine and powerful, prepared to throw a glass of wine in your face, without ever leaping out of said seat. I love “Cranes in the Sky,” “Don’t you Wait,” “Don’t Wish Me Well.” Plus, Solange has the best fashion style in the biz.
6. Margaret Glaspy: Emotions and MathI listened to this one a lot. She’s got a really great sense of melody and to-the-point delivery. I love the title track, “You and I,” and the beautiful “Somebody to Anybody,” which reminds me of Joni Mitchell’s best work.
7. Iggy Pop: Post Pop DepressionI don’t love this whole album, musically, but I love Iggy’s lyrical playfulness, honesty, and delivery. The standout track for me is definitely “Gardenia,” which is one of his best songs ever!
8. Car Seat Headrest: Teens of DenialThis album reminds me of my days as a teenager, so it’s appropriately titled if nothing else. It’s got all the swagger, self-deprecation, and humor that I love about the best punk rock songs. And I love the single “Fill in the Blank”-so rad.

2016 was regarded by many as a fairly tough and negative year. Was it also a hard year for you personally? If so, how? And also what were the high points for you?

This year, in general, SUCKED! GoodBYE 2016. But for me personally, it was actually pretty awesome. My album came out in August, and it got a lot of really positive feedback and love. We sold out our U.K. tour, and have had a blast playing these tunes live. My daughter Clementine turned 5, and she is absolute magic. We have to turn to each other, the people we love, and art, and focus on the work ahead.

What are your thoughts on how the U.S. presidential election played out?

Regardless of who you voted for, or if you voted at all, we were all fooled. We have been moving toward this for a long time with technology, false news, social media dickery, capitalism, phone addiction, reality TV bingingwe’re all guilty of it. Democracy is going to change. So we have to fight for the good causefor peace and justice and equalitymore than ever. Start with taking care of yourselfgood self-care is revolutionary. With that you can begin to take care of others, to help others who are less fortunate or need assistance. Get off your ass and start working toward a better place. Roald Dahl said, “Somewhere inside of us is the power to change the world.” Now is the time to start acting on that.

Let’s discuss Donald Trump. What does the rise of Trump tell you about America in 2016? What concerns you most about a Trump presidency? How do you think his presidency might personally change your life? What message do you have for those who voted for Trump? What actions will you take over the course of the next four years to either protest a Trump presidency or support it?

All I can say is this: REMEMBER THAT THIS IS NOT NORMAL. Also, I [marched] in Washington on January 21st with women all over the country to say enough is enough to this malevolent display of misogyny, because we don’t want our daughters growing up thinking that this is acceptable.

What reality TV star would you have rather been elected president?

Ru Paul.

If you were president, what would you try to accomplish in your first 100 days in office?

Abolish the Electoral College.

We lost three highly influential music icons in 2016. What are your thoughts on the passing of David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen? And what are your favorite albums by each artist?

We also lost Sharon Jonesshe was the one I cried about. I love David Bowie as well, and all of the artists we lost were incredible. She didn’t lead an easy life, and wasn’t recognized until she was middle aged. Her voice was so strong and emotional, and I love her beautiful charisma and sass. There is a Sharon Jones-sized hole in the biz.

What scary movie did you see way too young as a child, how’d you end up seeing it, and does it still scare you now?

My mom rented IT for my sisters and I when we were home sick from school, probably aged 9-13. I’ve never really forgiven her for that.

Are you ready for self-driving cars and a more automated future?

That is far more terrifying than IT.

Tell us about the most memorable fan encounter you had this year.

Tough one! I had a few fans bring me some EPs of mine to sign that I actually forgot existed. I also got reprimanded by some fans after a show because I told their wasted friend to not sit on the stage with her beer by my pedal board.

Tell us about your first kiss.

I don’t kiss and tell, but I can say I was locked in a dark room with a guy while our friends giggled outside the door until we kissed, and I do not really like thinking about it. :)

Which news source did you trust and turn to the most this year, in particular during the U.S. election?

The Onion.

What do you miss most and least about the touring lifestyle when you’re not on the road?

Mostmy daughter. Leastcleaning my apartment.

What’s usually the biggest stumbling block to your happiness?


What band, besides your own, has the best name?

God Johnson

What’s usually the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before you go to sleep, beyond the obvious tasks?

Coffee first, falling asleep reading last.

What’s your all-time favorite movie?

Not possible! Close contenders are Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and All About Eve.

What would be the worst punishment the devil could devise for you in hell, if he exists?

To live in a country run by a corrupt, power-hungry reality TV star.

What song would you like to be performed at your funeral and who would you like to sing it?

Hmm. Maybe “Shout” by Tears for Fears performed by a 90-year-old man.


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