AN INTERVIEW WITH HALFSOUR
Zoë Wyner, Matt Mara, and Travis Hagan make up the Boston band halfsour. We chatted about their sophomore full-length Sticky which came out late last month via Fire Talk and Disposable America, the 8mm video for “Paper Window,” and the New England area and scene, among other things.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STICKY. WHAT’S THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE ALBUM TITLE?
Z: Aside from aesthetically liking the word (which was the only reason it ended up on our list), it also sort of works thematically with everything on the record. Lots of sticky feelings/situations across the board.
M: The word sticky is a little gross in that it evokes a kind of tactile response when you think of it, but it’s also a bit tongue in cheek so it really works for us in that it’s not too boring but also not too serious.
HOW DID THE WRITING/RECORDING PROCESS EVOLVE ON THIS FULL LENGTH? HOW HAVE THINGS CHANGED SINCE TRAVIS HAS BECOME THE NEW DRUMMER?
Z: So we had written a few of the songs on Sticky before Travis joined the band, but for the most part we really made a concerted effort to give the project room to evolve into whatever new form it took on organically. We wanted to make sure that Travis didn’t feel as though he had to fit into any sort of mold, and certainly didn’t want him to feel like he had to learn any preexisting drum parts. Because we’re playing with someone completely different aesthetically than we were before, in a lot of ways it feels like we’re a new band, which is honestly exciting! After having been a band for 5 years it was really nice to do something totally new.
YOUR VIDEO FOR “PAPER WINDOW” ABSOLUTELY RULES, AS DOES THE SONG. WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE VIDEO?
Z: The idea to film at Salisbury Beach was entirely Ty Ueda’s, really! We love handing over the reigns to the videographers that we work with and see what direction they decide to go in based on the song. Since we carefully select who to work with it always works out, and also means there’s typically a really easy relationship and increased trust between us and whoever we work with. That said, we love it there - we’re all from New England and are totally enchanted by the off-season, shoddy beach town with arcades aesthetic. We had a ton of fun that day, and it pretty well encapsulates the sorts of things we choose to do with our free time.
M: Thinking about making that video just made me hungry for pizza.
T: I went to highschool down the street from Salisbury Beach, so when Ty suggested it I got maybe even too excited. Beach Pizza is my favorite New England delicacy and everyone should try both Tripoli’s and Cristy’s once if they can.
LYRICS THROUGHOUT STICKY ARE INTROSPECTIVE AND RELATABLE. WHAT SONG(S) FROM THE RECORD ARE THE MOST PERSONALLY PROFOUND AND WHY?
Z: I'm not sure I would call any of my lyrics profound, personally or otherwise haha! That said, probably the most meaningful song that I wrote lyrics for was “Built-in Guilt,” just because the writing process played a huge part in coming to terms with the remnants of my feelings about a friendship that had deteriorated many years prior. Also I'm a total sucker for nostalgia in art and the process of capturing that both sonically and lyrically within “Paper Window” was a really satisfying experience.
WHAT UPCOMING BANDS FROM YOUR SURROUNDING AREA SHOULD EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT? WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES AT THE MOMENT?
Z: In my opinion, every band that Lira Mondal and Caufield Schnug are in is perfect (currently Mini Dresses and Dee-Parts). Although they’re a bit less local, Rick Rude (from NH) are one of my favorite bands in the northeast these days by a long shot. There are so many great musicians in the area though! Definitely feeling lucky to be a part of the community these days.
M: Have you ever heard of this band called Pile? Hahahaha just kidding.
T: Birthday Ass is one of my current faves in Boston. Rong is another band that everyone should check out also.
IT’S REALLY COOL TO SEE THAT YOU SUPPORTED PILE ON YOUR MOST RECENT TOUR DATES. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PILE RECORD?
M: My favorite Pile record was You’re Better Than This until Green and Gray came out. I really like the deconstructed Jesus Lizard side of Pile and I think the new record uses that really well to ratchet up some anxiety that resolves into moments of the more serene side of the band. Thus concludes my review of the new Pile record. 10/10. Did I just become a music journalist? Someone hire me right now.
T: I was a big Dripping fan until Green and Gray came out. I think it takes all of the great stuff I know and love from Pile and adds even more depth and dynamic range. Agreed with Matt: 10/10.
Z: Although I do love the new one, I’m personally still stuck on You’re Better Than This ...
WHAT’S NEXT FOR HALFSOUR? ARE YOU PLANNING ANY ADDITIONAL TOURS?
Z: Nothing concrete at the moment! We’re hoping to make it to the west coast at the beginning of next year but haven’t really got anything in the works. Also we’ll probably sneak in a few more weekenders in the fall!
Photographs by Ty Ueda