Artist in Focus: Haunt the House

Hope you’re all amped for Folk fest this weekend. As part of our Artist in Focus series we interviewed Will Houlihan of Haunt The House. Make sure you check him and others out at the festival this Saturday, April 25th.

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How did you get started in music?

That’s a long, involved question. I guess I’ll start at the very beginning… my earliest memory of being involved in music is when my sister was getting piano lessons. I remember watching her play… she was into it, but not interested enough to pursue it. And so, I had been really moved by the song she had played at the time. I had grown up in a very sheltered community so I didn’t really have much in the way of music exposure until high school. I had traditional style music, like only hymns, but I didn’t know that I wanted to be a musician until I was 20. I remember sitting in my truck listening to a band and thinking, I want to be a part of this. I want to make other people feel the way this is making me feel…I really started writing after my second divorce, I would force myself to go to open mics and write songs that could stand alone with just a guitar.

How did you come up with the name Haunt the House?

It’s both a play on words, a description, and a spiritual reference. When I started writing music, I really wanted to focus on saying something. At the time, I was going through a really difficult period in my life and I had a lot of hurt and anxiety and a lot of loss. So, I just needed to express that. When I first started playing music, people would come up to me after my set and say “that was so haunting” so it kind of stuck with me. And then, I was thinking about the spiritual aspect of it. I have a very strong foundation in Christianity and that’s something I base a lot of my work out of. I was thinking about the idea that the Holy Spirit inhabits your body, and your body is the temple of the Lord… and then temple transferred to house to make Haunt the House. And it just stuck.

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Artist in Focus: Laney Jones and the Lively Spirits

Brown University Folk Festival is ecstatic to welcome Laney Jones back to Providence, this year with her band, the Lively Spirits. She graciously took time off her tour to call in for an interview. Read all about her new sound, and pet kangaroos, below and see her on April 25th on Lincoln Field!

10500538_799085520135404_6963905488909548312_nHow did you get started in music?

I’ve always been a music listener. I had taken lessons when I was younger, but I hadn’t really started getting involved with music until 4 years ago. I was at school studying business and got really bored after my first semester. I didn’t love the major and I didn’t know what I wanted to do so from there, I started teaching myself guitar. It grew from a hobby, to a passion, to a job.

So you’ve taught yourself quite a few instruments then…

I have. I started off on guitar, played around on the ukulele, and then borrowed a friend’s banjo. It felt totally great. Of late, I’ve been mostly a banjo player.

Do you come from a musical family, or did you learn mostly from school?

Mostly from school or from my own listening. None of my folks play instruments or have taken me to concerts, but now they really support it.

So have you seen any cool concerts lately?

I saw Hurray for the Riff Raff this past summer, they’re always really great.

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I heard you grew up on an exotic animal farm, what was that like?

It wasn’t necessarily like a farm, but there were definitely exotic animals. My parents got to retire early so they sold their business and kept the land. They got some pretty weird and cool things. Instead of growing up with dogs, I grew up for kangaroos. It was crazy to some people. Like, before kindergarten, everyone has to get testing to make sure you’re ready to go to school. The person who was testing me asked what a fence was. I told him it’s what holds my Kangaroos and he thought I had an overactive imagination. I had to get psychological testing for a week at an outside facility because he didn’t think to check with my parents.

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