a Vulkan conversation by Isabela Costa

Sloppy Jane is the creative and artist project of Haley Dahl. 2021 saw the release of the critically acclaimed chamber pop/rock album Madison on Saddest Factory Records. The album and accompanying visual album were recorded entirely in a cave in West Virginia and the music features stunning orchestral arrangements by Dahl. Dahl currently performs with an up-to 10-piece band and puts on a singularly captivating and frenetic live show. The band has shared stages with boygenius, Iceage, Pussy Riot: Riot Days, Deap Vally, Phoebe Bridgers, and more. An original song by Sloppy Jane ft. Phoebe Bridgers will be featured on the soundtrack for the upcoming A24 film I Saw The TV Glow, which is directed by Jane Schoenbrun and recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Dahl is currently composing a short film score and working on writing the next Sloppy Jane album.

What does awakening mean to you? I don’t know. Is it possible to have a peaceful transformation or true change always comes with brutal rupture? Most real change happens in quiet moments. Fast, violent change is usually some kind of trauma response. Is the world a balance of opposite forces? Are we constantly looking for that balance in ourselves? I don’t think the world, or I, are really balanced at all. What was the last artistic piece that transformed you? I have been lucky enough to witness two very transformative pieces of art in the last week, actually. I was lucky enough to see “Illinoise”, Justin Peck’s movement/live musical based around Sufjan Stevens’ “Illinois” recently. It really fired up my appreciation for movement, for orchestration, and for the fragility of life and human connection. On a different end of the spectrum, I also saw “The Zone of Interest,” which has really really been haunting me considering the United State’s role in the genocide of Palestinian people. I think that movie should be a required viewing. How does your own artistic practice alter yourself? My work asks me to be the absolute best and most functional version of myself I can be, and I try really hard to rise to that. When it comes to artists, is there a fetishization of suffering? I actually don’t really think so. I think that creating art can be a way of taking control of your own suffering- of forcing the worst moments in your life to become beautiful and in some cases celebrated. It’s a healing, cathartic thing, and I think watering it down to the “fetishization of suffering” is limiting. Most people experience life as passage of “mandatory” rituals: school, job, marriage etc. What happens once you escape those rituals? Emptiness or accomplishment? Any path you take you will feel some amount of emptiness and you will wonder if you would have been happier on a different path. This is true of taking traditional paths and of taking non traditional ones. But life is long and you can be a lot of different people- if you put your mind to it your life could not resemble what it is right now in two months. Do you have personal rituals in your routine or during your process of making new work? I try to wake up early and do morning pages every day, I try to stay off screens until 10am. I try to be in a practice of using my body in as many ways as possible when I am not performing so I stay present in myself. I do vocal warmups.  What happens once you give birth to new work? Is it a release? I don’t identify with giving birth because it’s icky- but to answer your question, creating work is amazing and releasing it is almost always just kind of stressful and nothing, even if it goes well. so it’s better not to focus on that part of it. What makes art eternal? It just is Why do you do what you do? I don’t know how to do anything else. What to make when everything has been made? That’s just something we tell ourselves so we don’t have to use our imaginations. Our world is constantly expanding. There will always be something new to make.

Haley Dahl @sloppyjanebandd

Photos by Sofie Milton @sofmilton

Collage by Isabela Costa @isa.chromatic