Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey, members of the Los Angeles-based musical duo Uh Huh Her, seem to get along as mellifluously as their voices blend. Throughout our interview, they often finished each other’s sentences and kept up a frisky banter as they talked about their debut EP, I See Red, which will be released tomorrow digitally.
"Indie electro-pop" is how they describe their sound. "That’s [it] in a nutshell," Grey said, "but I think it’s a lot more involved than that. Then again, I don’t know that we have a specific sound. We try to be all-encompassing or something. Whatever. I just had a bunch of sake."
Hailey promptly steered things back on track: "And it’s going to evolve. This is just the beginning of what we’ll do together, I’m sure."
I See Red was produced by Grey and recorded primarily in a bedroom at her Los Angeles home. The ethereal vocals were recorded in the bathroom, Hailey pointed out. A limited number of physical copies of Uh Huh Her’s five-track EP will also be available soon, and listeners will be able to snag a bonus track, "Mystery Lights," on the band’s website tomorrow and iTunes in the coming weeks.
For Hailey, the EP marks a return to making music after a five-year hiatus. In the ’90s, she was one half of the alt-pop band the Murmurs, which released four albums and then later reformed as Gush. That gig ended once Hailey began her ongoing role as Alice Pieszecki, possibly the most popular character on The L Word.
How does it feel to be back? "Amazing," Hailey said. "I knew that I missed it, but I didn’t know how badly, so it’s been really, really fun for me to get back into it."
She copped to a slight case of stage fright, though: "I’m nervous about performing live, which is my favorite thing to do on earth, so it’s weird. It’s just because I haven’t done it in so long. I’m sure once the first show is over, it’ll be fine."
Grey was a member of the lo-fi rock band Mellowdrone and has also played bass and keyboards for Dr. Dre, Busta Rhymes, Melissa Auf der Maur and Kelly Osbourne. She said she’s also got some jitters: "I’m always shy. But I’m so used to being a bass player or a synth player that performing is really fun, because there’s no pressure. But now the pressure’s on."
Mostly, Grey is excited to leave session work behind and write, record and produce her own material. "I’ve been working on my solo stuff for years; I just never released it," she said. "And I’ve done production before, but it was so much fun to be able to do it and let it see the light of day. It’s very exciting."
These days Hailey and Grey are getting ready for a free, all-ages "fan appreciation" show on Aug. 19 at the Los Angeles offices for their record label, Nettwerk, which has a large stage set up for live shows. "You don’t have to worry about being of age, and you don’t have to worry about buying tickets," said Grey. "It’s just kind of a place where everyone can come on a Sunday and hang out and listen to cool s—. I don’t know. [Laughs.] We’re just trying to get bodies in there."
Uh Huh Her are also working on material for their first full-length album, which is slated to drop in March 2008. They plan on recording songs and playing clubs in October after filming wraps for The L Word.
For now, they squeeze in time to write and rehearse amid Hailey’s filming schedule. The show is shot in Vancouver, but Hailey flies home almost every weekend. "I’m a little jetsetter," she said over the phone from her house in Los Angeles a few days before returning to Vancouver.
"Cam and I have been seeing a lot of each other and doing what we can when we’re alone and what we can when we’re together. It’s hard, because we have a lot to do. We have to work on our live show; we have an album to write. So when we see each other on the weekends it’s like, OK, what should we do? What should we concentrate on?"
Both women have been logging a lot of air miles. Grey has been flying up to Vancouver and staying with Hailey. "That’s been really fun — more fun than work," Hailey said.
Ziptrekking in Whistler is just one example of the antics these two have been up to in British Columbia. For those unfamiliar with the concept, the participant straps into a harness and glides along steel "zip lines" suspended over the tree tops, high above a white-water river. L Word viewers may recall Hailey’s character Alice taking part in the activity along with the officiant for Shane and Carmen’s wedding in the Season 3 finale.
Hailey and Grey have also enjoyed cramming together onto Hailey’s one-person electric bike and riding through the city streets.
"It’s so much fun," said Hailey. "You can really only do something like that in a place like Vancouver. You could never do that in L.A. So we geeked out on that. It was like Dumb and Dumber."
Grey elaborated: "It goes probably 10 miles per hour, so you can imagine both of us on this little bike in the middle of traffic, people honking at us. We’d ride to our manager’s office on it, pull up, and they’d be like, ‘What the hell are you guys doing?’"
"I’d had it a while but I’d never experienced it in that way before," Hailey said.