Following the release of her new and bubbly single, “A Boy Named Pluto,” Saint Audio had the opportunity to sit down with singer-songwriter Hailey Knox. We talked not only about her single, but her music-making process, and what we have to look forward to from her.
“A Boy Named Pluto” is fresh to listeners’ ears, but a year and a half old in production now. Knox and her boyfriend had been working on another song and got sidetracked. It was the beat and new synth layer that encouraged her to just play—Knox says it when she’s not thinking that she comes up with her best ideas—and they worked on the track together. It evolved in its own time as they developed a new perspective on story and the characters.
While past tracks were often driven by self-reflection, “A Boy Named Pluto” is the first time Knox was writing about someone else. Knox found synth to inspire a different kind of writing, which is reflected in the more uplifting sound. Acoustic she has found to be more personal, but she’s been enjoying working with different sounds.
In addition to its sound and story, “A Boy Named Pluto” stands out for its video, which curiously had not been planned. But upon finding her sister’s friend’s Instagram full of delightful clay creatures, she felt compelled to reach out. They worked throughout quarantine going back and forth on the details for about 3-4 weeks, looking for the perfect way to capture the characters. Part of the video’s charm is its use of stop motion in order to move each character.
Hailey discovered music through making YouTube videos, often traveling into New York City in high school. This was where she met her team who taught her how to write a song, leading to her debut EP A Little Awkward. Knox quickly found her joy in song writing, noting that the process is different each time depending on what inspires her. Often she has millions of ideas and it’s a process of revising and identifying the greatest idea to nurture until it is complete.
Since then, Knox has found her melodies and tone to be the heart of her music. Even in recording covers, she wanted to ensure her tone is pleasant and smooth. “A Boy Named Pluto” took several takes to ensure this quality. In her home studio, she takes care to ensure there are no footsteps or other noise—just the music.
A home studio is something she recommends to aspiring artists, but perhaps more significantly is the drive to teach yourself things. She encourages young people to use YouTube videos or learn however you can learn. Additionally, she encourages you to create even when you don’t feel inspired—that’s part of the process.
Going into 2021, Knox teases a new sound and a re-branding as she continues to evolve. With the current state of the world, her music has been leaning into a darker space. And taking her own advice, she’s learned to tweak sounds on the computer herself, allowing her to create a more unique and deliberate sound. But no matter what, one thing is clear: more unique, weird music is coming our way.
Follow Hailey Knox on Spotify.