Currently in the midst of their European tour, One Beat sat down with electro-pop duo Uh Huh Her for a pre-show chat ahead of their Friday night show at Nottingham's Rescue Rooms. We talk touring, lady parts and almost getting arrested...
One Beat: Is this your first European tour?
Camila Grey: Second. But we haven't toured around here in a really long time.
OB: How's the tour been treating you so far?
Leisha Hailey: It's been amazing, I like touring over here better than America. I feel like you guys are real music lovers.
OB: How do you think the crowds differ between UK / Europe and the US?
LH: There's a big difference...
CG: Yeah, it seems like they show it a lot more than some audiences do in the States.
LH: ...and you guys sing a long to songs and dance and – it's almost like you're more involved in the show, it's not like you're just watching us.
CG: Sometimes you get audiences that just kind of watch. Last night was a great show, but it's a mixed bag, you never know what you're going to get.
OB: On Twitter the other day, you posted a photo of Leisha on the autobahn whilst on a...?
LH: We call it a skippy ball.
OB: We actually call it a space hopper over here...
CG: That's such a great name, way better!
OB: It got me wondering – since you've been over here, have you noticed any lingo differences, where words don't have the same meaning as back home?
CG: Not yet...
LH: We don't even use the same words as you guys use, you just have a whole different vocabulary.
CG: I would love to learn some new slang words.
OB: Well, I have a couple for you that I find quite amusing: 'fanny'. What does that mean to you?
LH: A butt
OB: We use the word to mean a ladies' front bottom...
LH: REALLY?! That's so funny.
CG: I didn't know that
OB: And you use the word 'buns' for a butt, whereas over here it's like a cob, something you'd put fillings in for a sandwich...
CG: Buns and fanny! (giggles) I don't ever say the word fanny, it's a really old term in the States. My grandmother would maybe use it.
OB: You released Nocturnes six months ago now, are you happy to keep touring the record, or are you ready to start thinking about the next album?
CG: My brain's a little bit onto the next, because we've been living with it for so long. That said, we have reinvented the set in a way that it would be exciting for us. We added more things, and made the set a tiny bit more dancy. I don't know if we can get more dancy, but it's dancier versions of some of the songs on the album! We lost our lead guitarist, he moved to Paris. So we had to figure out a new way [to play live], because we're touring a rock record without our lead guitarist.
LH: The next project we're working on right now is an acoustic EP. So we've stripped down a couple of songs for the show...
CG: More to give everyone a break!
OB: Will the acoustic EP be reworkings of old songs, or a set of brand new ones?
CG: Almost remixed, just a whole new way of doing it.
OB: When will that be out?
CG: Mid May, it will be digital. We might do a limited press, I really want to do a vinyl.
LH: And after that we're gonna make a dance record!
OB: Leisha, you've been off the acting radar for a little while, does this mean the band is your full priority?
LH: Oh yeah, we're really concentrating on the band. It's been well over a year.
OB: You two are a couple now aren't you? How has that changed the dynamic of the band?
CG: You know, it really hasn't. It's funny, because I think we're just so used to each other, and being together all the time. We were touring a lot when we weren't together, and now we are together...
LH: One less hotel room!
OB: That'll save you some money...
LH: That's really why we did it...
CG: It was for budgetary reasons!
OB: On the subject of budgets, you financed your own record this time didn't you?
CG: We did, with the help of our fans. We raised the money via eBay auction. We ran out of money to really get it mixed well. There's an amazing chap who's done some amazing records. We were big fans of his, and wanted to get the money and we thought how could we get this money...well we're gonna make stuff, and be really creative and the fans would actually get something, it wouldn't be just donations. So we did that, and we ended up raising almost exactly to the 'T' what we needed, so it very much feels like the fans are a part of it.
OB: Do you prefer the experience of doing it your own way, or do you like the comfort of a record label?
LH: I wouldn't even call a record label comforting. I think no matter what, you end up doing most of the work anyway. I think the real missing link [to doing it independently] is distribution and tour support. The way we finance our tours mostly is through our merchandise, so I think if we didn't have that we'd be in a hole right now. Y'know, we put everyone on a salary, and it just costs a lot to tour.
CG: That's why it's taken us so long [to come back to Europe]. We have to buy the plane tickets, and to get here you're already in debt. It's expensive.
LH: And we have to get merch over here, too, so it's around $10,000 just to get here.
CG: At the end of the day, you get to see where your money goes, and see it come back without all these little hands taking it. I've been on record labels since I was 20 years old, and I would never see the money. Everyone else would take it first, then the artist would get it last. The mentality is so off – it's like we're the ones out their busting our asses and they're sitting at their desks collecting. That really bugged me. Our way is a lot harder, but you get to see the rewards.
LH: Way more rewarding.
CG: It's a lot harder.
LH: We split our days up at home – we'll have our business days, then our creative days, and producing days. It feels like I have a job, it's kinda great. We're the blue collar band!
OB: Leisha, you used to run a label?
LH: I had one, but I didn't know what I was doing, so I folded that. I had a little pipe dream, without the knowledge of how to do it.
CG: Yeah, that and the artist didn't sell any records. Blame the artist!
OB: What have you been listening to on tour?
CG: There was an opener for us last night, what was her name?
LH: Kayla Painter.
CG: We've been meeting these really amazing local people who have been opening for us, like DJs. She [Painter] DJ-ed / put on a set last night. It was amazing, we got her CD. And I've been listening to Big Black Delta alot. It's my ex-bandmate from Mellowdrone, so I've been listening to that a tonne. It's kind of like dark electro rock / pop, but it's way more heavier than Mellowdrone was. One of our guilty pleasures would be Rihanna's new record...
LH: We took a road trip...
CG: We kept getting almost arrested 'cos we kept speeding to her music (starts singing). I think we were going 170 km/h. The cop was so nice, I was like "I was listening to blah-blah-blah, I'm so sorry, I had no idea I was going so fast" and he reduced it by 5mph. They can arrest you for that.
OB: So what do you usually do before a show?
CG: We just eat, and relax. We never have a lot of time before the show. These have been really early shows. We always end up down to the wire, and we get like 30 minutes to chill.
LH: At home, we usually go on at 10pm or 11pm. These are so early.
CG: It's been fun – we go on, we go off, and we go sell merch and sign a lot of it. We'll do that tonight.