5 Questions for Haters Club about their new release RIYH (streaming today!)

Haters Club is returning after a 10-year hiatus. The music is meaningful and will get you moving. You can download their new album RIYH today! You can also see them play with the Heavy Sixers for a double release show on January 28 at Palmers.

MINNEAPOLIS, OCTOBER 15: Haters Club on October 15, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Credit: Tony Nelson

You’ve been on a hiatus from playing original music for 10 years, but you reformed as Bourbon Country, a country cover band. What have you learned by playing a lot of tried-and-true classics and do you have some artists that you feel you learn from the most?

The biggest challenge for me was learning how to sing the songs. You learn very quickly that you can’t sing like George Jones or Willie Nelson, but you find a way to make it work with your voice. It took a lot of practice to get it to an acceptable place and I feel like it really helped to improve my singing. After 5 years of singing 60s and 70s classic country, I’d say the Willie songs had the biggest influence on me.

RIYH is an interesting title for an EP. Looking it up I’ve seen definitions from a counselor, acronym for Room In Your Heart and as a surname. Can you tell us what it means to you and why you chose it for the album.

When you promote music, everyone uses RIYL, “recommended if you like,” and being Haters, I thought it might be kind of funny to say “recommended if you hate” instead. It’s really just a lighthearted, silly joke. We’re very kind people, but we do happen to talk a little trash every now and then about the local “cry core” scene. Calling ourselves “Haters” has always been with a wink. I really like “room in your heart!” We’re accepting that as an alternate title.

It Ain’t Easy feels like about the truest song ever, but there’s a camaraderie in the misery, in the slow pace of the music with regular punctuation. What inspired the song for you?

The song is inspired by some events that took place in my personal life over the last few years, along with the urge to write about fictional characters too. I suppose it’s about acceptance. The captain and the sergeant have both accepted their fate, but try to explain that there’s beauty in the camaraderie and some things are beyond our control. Musically, I think of it as a collaboration between Willie Nelson and Jerry Garcia. We had a great moment in the studio singing the outro together into one microphone, I really love the sound we got for that one.

I love Persephone, in part because I love the myth of Persephone and the curse (or blessing) of the seasons. (Quick recap on the myth for folks: Zeus’ daughter Persephone is kidnapped and taken to the underworld. She was rescued after her mother went on strike. She was allowed to leave the underworld for half of the year because she had eaten from a pomegranate while there; her time in the underground became winter.) There is the clear gardening allusions. But more than that, I see the connection in the song as an appreciation for having things two different ways and how deciding which way is preferable is up to the beholder. I’d like to know what space the myth has for you and how it centers the song for you. Also I gave the briefest summary of the myth was there another part or image that struck you?

I came across the myth at the library, and just loved all the strange aspects of the story. What inspired the song was this love triangle between Persephone, Adonis and Aphrodite. Some themes were: splitting time between the two worlds and relationships, the flower that grew from Aphrodite’s tears and Adonis’ blood when he died, and the connection to raising your kids. It got me thinking about religion and recent conspiracy theories, and how important it is to know what people believe in order to understand who they are.

What’s different for you playing now 10 years later? Changes in line up for sure but are you coming at it with a new ethos or new musical influences?

I think the biggest difference is how little I care about what anyone thinks anymore. I mean it: I spent so much time in my 20s and 30s hustling and trying to keep up with what was popular. Now it feels like we’re carving out our own path. This long break, having a family and a career just frees you to do what you want and if people like it, that’s awesome. Definitely our ethos is to have fun, and make sure that the songs are fun. We’re not trying to be museum rock. We’re working on some new stuff to up that fun-factor some more. To paraphrase the great philosopher Ferris Bueller, life goes so fast. Let’s celebrate while we’re here.

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