Tonight, LA blues punk duo Deap Vally – who we first met in 2013, just after the release of their debut EP, Get Deap! – kick off the second leg of their Live for the Last Time FAREWELL TOUR, which will have them playing their debut full-length, 2013’s Sistrionix, in its entirety. The tour will make its way to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection next Friday, February 16th, for a show at Underground Arts. However, we’re just as excited about the opening set from chamber pop outfit Sloppy Jane, who toured last year with Pussy Riot’s Riot Days (whose Maria “Masha” Alyokhina had amazing things to say about Sloppy Jane during our November chat) and who will be providing support for the entire tour.
Sloppy Jane – whose size and lineup frequently fluctuates, even including Phoebe Bridgers on bass from 2014-2015, back when they were a punk trio, but is ever revolving around Haley Dahl, who brought the project on the road with Pussy Riot all by herself – is currently touring behind sophomore LP Madison, which dropped in 2021 on Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records (The album cycle already featured 2022 shows at PhilaMOCA and Dobbs on South Street.) The LP was recorded in West Virginia’s Lost World Caverns (one of numerous caves Dahl and her 21 bandmates visited and considered for the record) over the course of two weeks in 2019, marking the first time anyone’s ever recorded an entire full-length in a cave.
I recently got a chance to chat with Haley Dahl, who tells me about working and touring with her musical friends, her favorite things about playing live, and a number of things that she Tweets about…
Izzy Cihak: I know at the end of 2023 you opened a bunch of dates for Pussy Riot, so I have to ask how that experience was? I actually talked to Masha in November, while you were on the tour, and she was kinda gushing about you. She said, “She’s great! She has these PJ Harvey vibes, and her music is like an amazing soundtrack to arthouse movies.”
Haley Dahl: I’m so moved that she had nice things to say. Getting to be a part of the Riot Days tour was one of the most inspiring experiences of my career. It meant a lot to share a space and a stage and an audience with people who have given up so much for the betterment of the world– and to see that we are peers and we are similar people. It reminds me that standing up for change is not as inaccessible to me as it sometimes feels.
Izzy: While we’re talking about cinema (sort of), I’m curious if you have any works, filmmakers, or movements that you’re especially a fan of, or find to be particularly inspiring?
Haley: My favorite piece of media ever made is a film called The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. It’s a musical that was directed and written by Dr. Seuss in the 50’s that everyone hated. If you watch this movie, you’ll see that I have taken most of my ideas from it.
Izzy: I saw on your Twitter that you had a really interesting take on merch for that Pussy Riot tour, where merch was free at venues that take cuts, with mandatory tipping at a suggested price of $25 per item. I totally love that, but am curious to hear how it played out? Is it something you’d recommend to other artists?
Haley: Honestly, the venues that were supposed to ask me for a cut of the merch didn’t ask for it. I’m not sure if they saw my post or heard me talking about it or just elected not to, but it never really came into play. Pussy Riot donates half of their merch proceeds to a children’s hospital in Ukraine so honestly if venues were to take a cut of that it would be a whole new level of gross.
Izzy: I love that on your “2024 Predictions” you listed, “more expansive/inclusive rebrand and reboot of the concept of being ‘metrosexual’.” I’m super curious to hear more about that and what it might entail. I have to admit that in the late-‘90s and early-aughts, I was a total Velvet Goldmine femme boi, and I was always so annoyed when people would characterize me as “metrosexual,” because the implications were so profoundly different at the time.
Haley: I forget that people can actually read my twitter, how embarrassing. We’ve been having such a heinous discussion about “queerbaiting” for years that someone is about to re-pitch the concept of getting to be culturally but not sexually gay. I have no feelings about it.
Izzy: You released your latest LP, Madison, in 2021 (and a full visual album last year), so I won’t bog you down with questions about it, but I am curious what you consider to be some of the personal highlights since its release, whether reactions it got, experiences of playing that music live, or anything else that stood out or felt really great?
Haley: Seeing kids all over the world adhere to my “black tie” dress code with blue painted tears on their cheeks– that’s been very touching to see. People really showing up and really getting it and all the concerts we play feeling like little cartoon funerals. The many New Year’s countdowns. Touring with Phoebe and getting to celebrate her massive success and share stages. Recently I also got to play the organ at Luray Caverns, which was a big dream of mine when I started writing Madison. Giving the record to the person it was written for is probably one of my most treasured and beautiful memories even though it was long before its release. Making the record was more spectacular than anything that I listed above, though.
Izzy: You’re signed to Saddest Factory Records, whose name I’ve heard you actually coined, and which is obviously run by a former bandmate. How is that whole label family? Are you all super good friends? I really love all the artists on the lineup.
Haley: The name Saddest Factory is another disgusting reminder that people see what I put on the internet because it was originally a tweet. I’m obsessed with everyone on the label. I like being a part of such an eclectic line up of people who are all really, really building their own worlds around what they do. We don’t all hang out all the time but there is a definite mutual admiration from all sides. MUNA are so talented and gorgeous that it makes me physically sick– we can all relate to that sentiment, I’m sure.
Izzy: You’re about to embark on a number of dates supporting Deap Vally (who I’m also a big fan of) on their farewell tour. What are your thoughts on Lindsey and Julie and their music? I was a huge fan of their first EP, Get Deap!, but it’s been a while since I’ve caught up with them.
Haley: I lived in LA for a lot of my childhood and early adulthood, and Deap Vally were very present in the scene there. Their live show is so electric and exciting and fun and both Julie and Lindsey are such forces musically. I’m sad to see the project go away! But I’m honored to get to share a stage on their final tour.
Izzy: What can be expected of your live show on these dates, whether relating to setlist, production, or just the general vibe of the show? You’re pretty famous for your live show and I was super bummed to have to miss your shows here in 2022.
Haley: I am still on the tail end of the Madison album cycle, so I feel the show I’m bringing on this tour will still very much fall into that universe. We are opening so the sets are a little shorter and the band is paired down (to a lean 7 piece, lol). There are two new songs on the setlist– one of which we have never played live before this tour, and I’m bringing back an old one that we haven’t toured in a while either.
Izzy: You play a pretty wide variety of venue types. Your last two (I think) shows here were in a gallery/DIY/mausoleum (haha) space and a barroom, and you’re about to play a giant concrete punk/metal basement. Do you have favorite types of venues, or even things about venues that make them especially enjoyable to perform in?
Haley: I like playing big ass stages where I can run around. Delusional, maybe, but I see my stage show as something that I want to perform at a stadium level.
Izzy: Finally, what’s next for Sloppy Jane after these dates with Deap Vally wrap? Is there anything you’re especially excited about in 2024? It’s been a little while since there’s been new Sloppy Jane music…
Haley: I was lucky enough to write an original song for the soundtrack of A24’s new horror film, I Saw the TV Glow, directed by Jane Schoenbrun. I also got to perform the song as myself in the movie. It premiered at Sundance a few weeks ago and is going to be premiering internationally at Berlin this month. The movie is a masterpiece, and I think the song I wrote for it is my favorite song I’ve ever written and I’m really looking forward to having it in the world. My New Year’s resolution in 2023 was to not write a new album, because I knew I wasn’t ready yet. I’m working on one now, but it’s too soon to say much about it.
*Get your tickets here.