Puremusic: Let's talk first about this recent release with Miss Murgatroid, Hearts and Daggers. We like that a lot.
Petra Haden: Oh, thank you.
PM: That's such a magic record. You probably don't know that we interviewed the scintillating Miss Murgatroid a while back. She's quite a character and a very potent personality.
PH: Yeah. [laughs] She is.
PM: How did you guys bump into one another, and how did you come to work together?
PH: I used to be in a band called That Dog, and Alicia booked shows at the Chameleon in San Francisco, and she wanted to have our band play there. I remember that's when I first met her. Then I went back to L.A. And she was in L.A. for--I think she was recording something at the studio Poop Alley that That Dog recorded at. Alicia was working over there and that's how we bumped into each other again. That's when she asked me if we could play music sometime or hang out. Then I ended up going to Portland and hanging out with her and staying with her. And we ended up writing these songs just for fun, sitting around on a rainy day. She came up with these bass lines on her accordion, and I just started improvising over it. That's how it started.
PM: Wow. Yeah, and who could have predicted the kind of amazing and very signature chemistry that came up over the years between you two.
PH: Oh, yeah.
PM: You must be really good friends by now, having made this kind of really intimate and unusual music together quite a number of times.
PH: Yeah. I mean, she knows me pretty well, and my taste in music and stuff. I would play her what I like, and she would play me music that she liked. And we just kind of were influenced by so many different sounds. We ended up clicking in that way.
PM: Wow. Now, on this record, though, did you bring most of the songs to the table?
PH: I think it was equal. It was the same way we did the first one. We just started playing, just having fun, and it ended up being songs again.
PM: As one of musical triplets, with a jazz legend for a dad, what was your home like growing up, if you don't mind my asking?
PH: It was good. We were raised by our mom in Los Angeles. It was nice. I mean, we were always exposed to great music. And we saw our dad sometimes not as much as we should have, because he was out on the road. Still, it was interesting. We always had each other, me and my sisters, playing music. It was, I guess, an average--
PM: Oh, I'm sure, average. I'm sure it was very "average."
PH: Average weird family.
PM: Do you have other passions aside from music totally?
PH: Let's see, that's a good question. God--
PM: Music can tend to be all encompassing.
PH: Yeah. I mean, music is related to movies. I love movies. I'm not like a big art buff, but I feel like I should say art. [laughs] I like food. I like the city. I like going to New York. I feel like I'm missing something, like there is something... I think watching old movies I like.
PM: I seem to have lost my taste for the old ones, but I love movies. Are there actors, male or female, that you most admire that come to mind in that way?
PH: Let's see. I've always liked Paul Newman. Yeah, Paul Newman, I love.
PM: What a loss.
PH: It's really sad.
PM: But what a legacy, that company that makes so many good food products now and gives so much of it away. That's really something.
Well, riddle me this: Are you what you'd call a spiritual person?
PH: I would think so. I feel like I can be spiritual, especially listening to music I really love, I feel spiritual. I do yoga sometimes. I try to get in touch with some kind of spiritual life.
PM: Are you a political person?
PH: Not very. I'm not very political. I grew up in a democratic family, and I like watching the news, but I'm not avid about it. I mean, when Obama won I screamed with excitement. [laughs]