An Interview With A.J. Haynes (Seratones)

Having had Beatles on the brain for a while now, specifically the early years of their hysteria-inducing mop tops, I started to think about their early interviews. I looked up some of those early pressers and was taken aback by just how many times the fab foursome was asked about money and marriage, but there were also some gems hidden amongst the clunkers. And so, inspired by the early press conferences of the Beatles, especially their US tour interviews, I decided to ask some of those very same questions to some of the best and brightest making music today.

It's hard to listen to Louisianans Seratones and not be bowled over by A.J. Haynes and her smoky, powerful voice. Simmering and smoldering, her timeless tones hint at her gospel training in lyrics and notes fraught with feels. 

Haynes and her compatriots are rolling into DC this weekend, stopping at the Pearl Street Warehouse. Don't miss out on this chance to see these Shreveport soulmakers in person. Before that, get to know Haynes a little better below, and be sure to check out their latest record, POWER, out now on New West.
What has been your most exciting moment in the last year?

That’s tough to say. I think just releasing Power into the world was the real moment of excitement for me. The past two years have been really challenging, both on a personal and a creative level (I suppose there’s not that much this is a really personal album). My favorite moment for any apex or benchmark is the feeling that a job has been well done. It’s the moment in the studio after we’ve loaded out our gear and I’m bone-tired and the engineer is ready for us to get out of their hair. The air shifts, the lightning has struck, and there’s a certain peace knowing I did all I could. Obviously, being on CBS was amazing! And there were so many publications that I’m still reeling from. But the actual album is the point of most excitement for me.

Who are your favourite recording artists?

Current? Right now, I’m obsessed with Ari Lennox, Lizzo, Nick Hakim, Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals, H.E.R., Gary Clark, Jr., Black Pumas, and Daniel Caesar.

Do you feel safe riding in airplanes?

Statistically speaking, airplane rides are definitely safer than the absurdly depressing rates of deaths/accidents of vehicular travel. Is it unnerving hopping into a metal contraption that flies through time and space? Abso-fucking-lutely. It’s less that I feel safe and more along the lines of accepting whatever fate has dealt.

Does every city look the same?

First and foremost, travel is a privilege for which I’m eternally grateful. However, having the vantage point of a person in transit can be a bit overwhelming. Some skylines blur. And it is surreal to see the same symptoms of gentrification and cultures/people being displaced from city to city. So no, not every city looks the same. But some elements of cultural shifts absolutely do.

Where would you like to go that you haven’t gone yet? 

Hawaii, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Central and South America, Africa.

Do you feel that you’re setting a new trend in music?

Toni Morrison said that if there is a book that hasn’t been written yet, that you must write it. I’m writing music that I’m excited about that doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve heard. If that’s a new trend, cool. If not, I’m happy about creating.

What kind of guitars do you use?

A Fender Jazzmaster.

Does anybody ever ask you for advice? 

Yea...I’m not an optimist, so I don’t advise asking me for advice unless you want some real shit.

How do you prefer your fans to act at your concerts?


What do you call your sound?


[posted 9.13.19]

[band photo by Dylan Glasgow Guice]


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