I first heard Hailey Wojcik when she did a session for Midnight Ukulele Disco. I got so excited Craig Robertson told me to calm down. But I still haven’t. So when I found out Hailey was releasing a new album, Diorama, I took the opportunity to fire a few questions at her.
What can we expect from the new album? How’s it different from Jealous Sees?
The new record, Diorama, is very different from my previous one. First of all, it has full band arrangements, and is almost exclusively electric guitars (aside from the songs on which I don’t play guitar, of course) – so it is louder! But I also feel like it is more eclectic and much more mature. It was produced by Dan Romer, (who produces Jenny Owen Youngs, Ingrid Michaelson, April Smith) and he is just fantastic and brilliant. It’s a much stronger, more thought-out record I think. I made a diorama to represent each song (hence the title), and pictures of these are the album art. Also though, I like to think of the album itself as a diorama of my life at a particular moment. So conceptually it feels like a more complete record to me as well.
How did you come to pick up the ukulele?
I randomly got a ukulele while in Hawaii (I thought it fitting), but I completely fell in love with it, and it is now one of my favorite instruments.
Your songs are very individual and original. Who are your inspirations?
Thank you! I am inspired by a lot of artists – both musical and otherwise – so it is hard to pick. I try to be as omnivorous as possible. Literature and film often inspire my songwriting; some of the songs on the record reflect this (“Holden Caulfield“; “Samsa Morning” – referring to Gregor Samsa from The Metamorphosis). While working on the record I was reading Infinite Jest and a lot of other David Foster Wallace stuff – I’m not so sure that’s reflected at all in the music, but maybe on the next record! I’ve been listening to a lot of Mountain Goats and Neko Case lately. I’m also a huge fan of Jack White (and Meg White!), and I find I can always go back to artists like Tom Waits and Patti Smith. I’m always trying to compose a Top Five Songwriters of All Time list in my head, but I can never quite get myself to agree on anything.
What’s in your ukulele collection? You had a fantastic banjolele on Midnight Ukulele Disco.
What plans have you got for the future? Any plans to resurrect the dinosaur outfit?
I am playing with a band now – collectively we are Hailey Wojcik and Her Imaginary Friends – and we are planning a tour at the moment, as well as a music video, so keep an eye out for that… The dinosaur outfit is on an indefinite hiatus, but I am a girl who loves costumes, so you can be sure there is more where that came from. My band now incorporates some animal masks into our live show for the song “Raised in a Zoo”.