The Harmaleighs Get Real About Mental Health In Their New Album

The Harmaleighs

The Harmaleighs sophomore album She Won’t Make Sense released today and it’s an album you have to listen to. Written by Haley Grant, She Won’t Make Sense is a concept album that details with her mental health journey.

Throughout the album, we hear Haley talk with “Susan”, the name given to her anxiety. It’s a back and forth dance, illustrating a desire to be free of her and a secret hope that she’ll never actually leave.

Sweet melodic, or at times chaotic, music is topped with raw lyrics that perfectly encapsulate what it’s like to live with mental illness. It also paints a vivid picture for those who don’t live with anxiety or depression, helping bridge the gap of understanding.

Your voice and your words are restricting / I feel like I’m in a corset” 

She Won’t Make Sense is a bittersweet journey that lets people know they’re not alone, no matter what they’re thinking. I was lucky enough to speak with Harmaleighs’ duo Haley Grant and Kaylee Jasperson, while they were helping Haley move, about the album, mental health, and the arts.

More so out of my personal curiosity- where did the name The Harmaleighs come from?

Kaylee: Well, my name is Kaylee and her name is Haley and we sing harmonies.

I read in your bio that your goal with the melody and music itself was to make the listener feel anxious. How did you begin to find a sound that conveyed that feeling?

Kaylee: Haley nailed it on lyrics, which was important to portray.  The songs I look at are “Sorry I’m busy”, and “Tidy Up”. They portray that feeling a lot. At the end of “Sorry I’m Busy”, we told our producer Dan Molad what we wanted and he totally go it. He got it to sound chaotic at the end. 

Haley: We played instruments in a non- traditional way. Everything was so loose.  We were making it out of random guitars that were strung weird. Kaylee purposefully played wrong. I played the guitar on “Tidy Up” because Kaylee is so well trained and I’m not so I just got to go in and do it.

K: Dan was basically like, “I don’t want you to place this like you’re taught to. Play like a kid.”

The Harmaleighs

What was the song writing process like for this record?

H: It felt pretty intense. I wrote it all in order. I knocked it out I was just writing it how I wanted it to flow. It took me a long time I feel like I’ve been writing it my whole time

K: They like to refer to me as the cleaner. Once she gets the bones she comes to me like, “Hey can you look at this”. When we were in L.A., we just finished the rest of it in a day. Haley definitely had most of it done already.

H: We work better under pressure. It has to be like “We only have 45 minutes to record this verse.”

Was it difficult to put yourselves out there in such a vulnerable way?

H: Oh, for sure. We don’t even play some of the songs live because it’s like “oh fuck”. I love the whole record but it’s the talking about the song beforehand as we introduce it. One of the ones we haven’t played yet for that reason is “I don’t know myself”.

K: That one is deeply personal for Haley

Where there any other musical inspirations you guys had or used to help you create the sound for this album?

K: We were listening to Lucius a lot.

H: Lucius was one we listened to a lot. Also Caroline Rose and TJ Bridges. I was listening to them a lot as well.

I creeped through the band’s Instagram and read how Don’t Panic wasn’t initially supposed to be on this album. What changed your mind about this song?

K: Honestly, we just completely forgot about it. Haley had a few songs for that spot and everything felt weird. “Hypocrite” was the song we were supposed to record for this and as I’m going in for my part, Haley literally leaned her head into the recording booth and was like, “Hey what about ‘Don’t Panic’?”  It wasn’t done yet and Haley was so set on recording “Hypocrite” but we’re like, “Let’s do it.” It was just a magical experience.

How has music helped you guys personally deal or cope with your own struggles? Mental health or otherwise.

K: For me, no matter what is going on whether it’s anxiety or other stress I can put on Ethan Gruska’s record  Slow Motionary. When I’m feeling some sort of way I turn on this record and that’s why we want people to have that experience with our record. I feel like anxiety and depression is becoming less taboo to talk about. We want to be apart of that conversation.

Are there any other creative outlets either of you use as a form of therapy?

K: I’m learning to screen print. I’m trying to be artistic outside of music so my artistry doesn’t become work.  We love listening to audio books. We started listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and in it she said, “Do not put the pressure on your creativity to support your lifestyle because your creativity will suffer.” That resonated with us. We both have serving jobs and whenever we feel down about not being able to live off our music we remember this.

If a listener could only have one takeaway from this album, what do you guys hope it would be?

H: The feeling of community. When you’re in your head like that, with these feelings, know that you’re the only one who’s feeling this way. We want everyone to feel like they’re not alone.

Go stream The Harmaleighs’ new album She Won’t Make Sense on Apple Music, Spotify, or visit their site and snag an album. 

Images courtesy of The Harmaleighs

Also published on Medium.