Haley Blais blends provoking lyrics with a laid back brand of harder rock, bringing to mind influences of predecessors like PJ Harvey and her peers like Soccer Mommy. Approaching her music with such a genuine and personal take, it was no surprise that our conversation with her felt just like a heart-warming chat with an old friend.
Your recent release, “Small Foreign Faction,” is absolutely wonderful. What was the inspiration behind it?
Thanks! A cold case child murder! I can explain—I’m 100% a true crime head, so the phrase “small foreign faction” is actually a nod to the JonBenét Ramsey murder case. I was playing the guitar one day and remembered those three words, did a quick google search out of curiosity, and it yielded the chorus: “I’m just a foreign faction, irreconcilable conflict at parties.”
Being based in Canada, with a very different political climate than that of the US, what benefits and obstacles come with that?
It’s harder, and more expensive, to get in the American touring circuit which is kind of a bummer because the majority of my listeners are based in the United States. I’m still breaking into the industry right now, so I’m even still feeling the Canadian scene out. I feel like a new born baby experiencing things for the first time and it’s all just very exciting.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Hmmmm… My band and I just created a handshake which I’m enforcing we do before every set. I would show you, but this is over email, so just imagine the most extraordinary handshake you’ve ever imagined.
What are the biggest challenges you see with the state of the industry right now, in regards to getting your music out there? While the DIY industry is thriving, it can have many obstacles—has this affected the music you create?
Not really, I make music that I love first and foremost. It’s important to think about whether an audience will be receptive or relate to it, but I’m very selfish in the fact I write songs for me; because it’s literally the only way I can express my emotions and be a healthy, functioning human being!