Canadian singer Joaine Wolkoff joined us for a TGL Q&A session:
The GOOD List: Who is Her Habits?
Her Habits: My habits can traced back to Scandinavian and Slavic origins, which would explain the dissonance of looting and fretting within me. Like, I’ll pillage my closet for a party dress and then set fire to it while I bang on war drums, but I’m really worried about catching a cold the whole time.
Habits aren’t just hereditary, though. They can be contagious. It’s probable that even if you are a ‘he’ or ‘him’ you’re still carrying her habits within you- your grade school teacher Mrs._________’s, or a college sweetheart’s. Possibly the strangely attractive woman passing on the neighboring escalator has transmitted her habits to you imperceptibly.
TGL: What inspires you to do what you do?
HH: Barney Miller inspires me. He always found a way to put things right.
TGL: When did you start singing?
HH: When I was just a whipper snapper I’d learn one line of a song and quietly chant it for hours on end. Exhibit A: The Police’s ‘message in a bot-tle.’ Little has changed.
TGL: Talk about your songs. Who writes them, what are they about and what’s your creative process behind the music-making?
HH: I typically write my own lyrics and vocal melodies, but the songs on this EP are a joint effort between producer Sanford Livingston and myself. The only song on there that I wrote from scratch and saw stay more or less in it’s original form after the incubation stage was Dolla Sign. For those of you wondering about Sanford, he loves nature. You can tell when you look at his computer desktop or screensaver. Forests. Swamps.
TGL: What songs are you most proud of and why?
HH: I’m proud of ‘Dolla Sign’ because it felt great to propose a track and see it wind up scarcely altered. But in terms of process, problem solving and surprise endings, ‘Faster Than Sound’ stands out to me because I’d initially written those vocals as a topline to a completely different song that we had pitched to a noted producer who declined our offerings. So Sanford scooped out the first instrumental and built a completely new one from scratch, to scaffold the pre-existing vocals.
TGL: What has been your biggest challenge as an artist? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
HH: Most of us know what it’s like to slog away at something deeply important with no guarantee of the end result. Hope against hope, you just have to keep on chiselling out your path. My biggest challenge as an artist is- and will always be- striking that balance between realism and optimism.
TGL: Do you think your music evolved since you first began playing music?
HH: There are tons of things that I do repeatedly without progress, like bugging out over zits or money when I know perfectly well what to expect month to month. I’m far from refining my effort/turnaround ratio in life at large, but for some reason, with music, once I learn something new and turn that corner, there’s no going back.
TGL: How can people gain access to your music?
HH: Drop me a line. firstname.lastname@example.org
TGL: What can we expect from you to see in the near future?
HH: Much more music and a hilarious, disgusting horror/comedy novel.
TGL: What’s your ultimate direction? Tell us about your next shows and why people should be there.
HH: Forward is the direction. I usually get there via diagonal lines. I’m probably not going to be able to do a live performance for Her Habits because creative content is being withheld from me, but there new music is brewing.
TGL: Has all this music experience changed you in some way you didn’t want to? How and why?
HH: This experience has made me more resilient. Even disappointment is part learning to see the big picture. In any industry, no matter how modest your relevance, you are bound to come up against some obstacles. Sure, there are a few gatekeepers, naysayers and saboteurs mixed in with all the good folks. So what? It’s the same for marine biologists, programmers, plumbers and acrobats. At worst, the music industry is like psychological boot camp. People talk about it like it’s a cesspool of ethical cripples and Machiavellian villains, but for the most part it’s made up of stand-up people.
TGL: People think that it’s a non-stop partying out there. Is it true?
HH: I wish.
TGL: How does a day in your life look like?
HH: Monday through Friday: wake up, ritualistically apply face paint, sat some pineapple chunks, remember to put on pants, set out for a 45 minute NYC subway commute, get extra jazzed if I can score a seat. Then I teach non-native English speakers our confounding language until mid afternoon. I bring my students funny newspaper articles or teach them slow, clear lyrics from Johnny Cash songs. At some point I have lunch with my colleagues. We talk about totally inappropriate things and share food and encourage each other, because each of us has DREAMS. After work I go to music production class and try to understand sound design better. Then at 6PM I either go tutor French or serve food at a corporate event or head home and write a song or go running and finally pass out in front of a documentary with rice pudding and Welch’s grape juice spritzer all over my spent body.
Weekends: anything goes.
TGL: What are you listening to lately?
HH: Krystal Klear, The Hood Internet, Emerson Lake and Palmer’s ‘Love Beach,’ these weirdos called GEMOLOGY.
TGL: What’s your favourite album by another artist?
HH: Probably Paul Simon’s Graceland.
TGL: Any last words?
HH: The treasure is buried under the…. Uurrgghhhhh
Her debut EP entitled Northerner released on January 27, with a number of 6 great tracks, you won’t know which one to pick as a favorite. But you still have time to listen all of the above. You wouldn’t want the others tracks to feel neglected. So let’s get started: hit the play button and see which one you like more.
Her Habits on The G.O.O.D. List:
Her Habits – Slip Away – Her Habits – “Truth”
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