Last week I told you about Hailey Wojcik‘s hilariously awesome track “Anglerfish,” with lyrics like “I hope it doesn’t work, I hope you make each other as miserable as you made me. I hope it blows up in your face.” But Hailey isn’t a one-trick pony — the New York-based singer/songwriter has just released Diorama, a melodic multi-instrumental pop album of ridiculously bright tunes about relationships with girls, boys, friends and family. Every song is relatable and creatively penned, and it doesn’t hurt that it was produced by Dan Romer who has also worked with Jenny Owen Youngs and Ingrid Michaelson.
Hailey is currently planning a U.S. tour and making a video for every song on the album, each featuring a diorama she made for that song. You can watch the first one, for the song “Pumpkinteeth,” on her website.
AfterEllen.com: How long have you been working on the songs that ended up on Diorama?
Hailey Wojcik: Some were written during the recording process, within the past year, but most were written over the last two years. I wrote about half of them before I moved out to New York, and have just been adding to that since then.
AE: Are most of your songs autobiographical?
HW: In general I am an autobiographical, if hyperbolic, songwriter. I would like to try writing some more “fictional” songs, but for now they are mostly inspired by real life. Usually though, I’m abstracting something that has happened, conflating it with other things I’ve heard or seen, and trying to synthesize it into something interesting that is hopefully relatable but not too transparent.
AE: “Anglerfish” is probably the only obvious song about another girl on the album — are others inspired by relationships with women?
HW:Yes, the songs about relationships are about ladies. Although many of my songs are not about relationships – at least not romantic ones. For instance “Holden Caulfield” is about friends; “Luck,” “Pumpkinteeth,” and “Raised in a Zoo” are sort of about me, and who I am in relation to the world and my experience.
Diorama for “Anglerfish”
AE: How do you identify? Have you felt any pressure to not be out for your career?
HW:I identify as queer. I have personally not really felt pressure to not be out, per se, but I definitely am close to some people who are not out for this reason. The way I see it, you only really have two choices in this situation: You can either be a gay musician or a closeted gay musician — you can’t choose to be straight, and I prefer honesty. I think most listeners do, too.
I understand the argument about not wanting to be ghettoized or stereotyped as an artist — I certainly do not want this for myself — but I think that as long as the only artists who are willing to come out are those who do fit these stereotypes, those stereotypes will prevail. If you know who you are, people can’t put you in a box, and I like to think I know who I am.
There is a John Waters quote I love about identifying with people who are “gaily incorrect in this movement . . . minorities who don’t fit in with their own minority.” I think I’m pretty much a weirdo in general, but I’m not going to let that make me feel like I can’t be honest about things.
AE: What’s your songwriting process like with all of the different instruments you use? How do you adapt them for the live show?
HW:I am a bit ADD with instrumentation I think. I write on guitar, ukulele, strumstick and piano, though guitar is my primary instrument for writing and performing. I get bored with just playing that for a whole show though, so my band likes to mix things up when we play live (people switching instruments, etc.). I just bang on a pot and sing when we do “Pumpkinteeth” live, for example, which is fun. I like to try and incorporate most of the instrumentation from the record (except, sadly, for the marimba, for logistical reasons) in the live show.
Check out Hailey’s MySpace for up to date info on her performance dates and new videos.