chat room

A Brief Conversation With Lukas Haas About Dating, Music, and the Pussy Posse

Photo: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Here is all I can say about the Friday afternoon Lukas Haas called me: The Lord works in mysterious ways. Sometimes Natalie Portman doesn’t win the Oscar she deserved for Jackie. Sometimes Halsey accidentally calls for another 9/11. Sometimes Lukas Haas — erstwhile child star of Witness, present-day musician-actor-best friend of Leonardo DiCaprio — calls you to talk about his music. “That article that you wrote about me was so awesome,” he tells me immediately. In that article, I called him the king of the Pussy Posse, and so when it came time to promote his new song, he says, “I’m like, ‘Let’s reach out to Hunter. She’s awesome.’”

“Okay,” I say. (No one in recorded history has called me “awesome,” however I have been called a “breathtakingly gorgeous nightmare of a mom.”) Anyway, for a brief, shining moment, Widows was my third-favorite film of 2018, and upon its release I wrote about how it was the second Lukas Haas movie in one calendar year — which, if you follow the career of Lukas Haas as closely as I apparently have, you know is an unusually high frequency. Over a year later, though, we’re not talking about Widows. We’re talking about his new music, the benefits of stalking your dates on Instagram, and his current Posse status.

I have to ask you if you agree with my thesis: Are you the Pussy Posse’s true king?
I appreciate the take on it. I don’t know if there is a king. I’d have to defer to Leo. Whatever that is, it wouldn’t exist without him, obviously.

And that was a New York Magazine story!
Yeah, that’s how it all started.

I was reading old profiles of you, and the fact that you were interested in music, or liked to play around with music, came up a lot.
Basically, I kind of have been obsessed with music from a young age. Anyone who knows me knows that I talk about the Beatles way too much. When I was a kid, the first time I noticed a song on the radio, my ears perked up and I was like, “What is that?” My dad told me, “That’s the Beatles. That’s the best band in the world.” I’m like, “What’s a band?” He explained everything to me, and from that moment on I was pretty much obsessed. I got a drum set and I played along in the garage. I got my keyboards and started playing the guitar. I’ve just been writing songs and playing songs and recording my whole life. It’s been just one of those things, kind of like a compulsion, I guess — a mental compulsion that I just can’t get away from.

So how did this new song, “She’s in My Head,” happen?
Basically, I just saw my buddy — he was freaking out over this girl on the phone, and he was just going through Instagram and refreshing his messages. I was trying to talk to him, but he was pretty much just in his phone. I was like, “God, that’s crazy. That’s where we’re at.” And I totally relate to it. I think anybody sort of can these days, who has a smartphone, anyway. So, I’m like, “I’m gonna write a song about that” — that feeling when you first meet someone and then you’re checking them out on Instagram, and you’re waiting for them to text you back but you’re not sure that they’re going to, and it’s driving you crazy.

You released an EP about ten years ago, right? How did we get from that EP to this?
Basically, that was my first sort of attempt at really doing it. I was never completely happy with it is the truth. I think that my obsession with oldies — the Beatles and Elvis and the Stones — I wasn’t even listening to what was going on at the time, so I was sort of stuck in this old-school music thing. I didn’t have a concept around it, and I was still learning. It took me a long time to develop what I’ve come up with now. I built a little studio seven years ago, and I’ve been working ever since then to get this stuff done.

What do you think music fulfills for you creatively that acting doesn’t?
With acting, you’re kind of like a paint color. You’re like a color for the director, which is a wonderful, freeing place to be. At the same time, you’re never expressing yourself in a pure way. It’s always someone else’s dialogue. You may adjust it and play with it, and you make it your own, but you’re never talking about your own life. You’re never expressing yourself in such a direct way. With music, it’s pure expression. There’s a lot of anxiety involved, but it’s real and it’s mine.

Can you tell me more about the video for this?
Somebody sent me a screen-record video to show me something and I’m like, “What is that? How did you do that?” They explained it to me and then a few weeks later, I was going through Instagram and it just occurred to me, “Wait, this is the video.”

I immediately went to my buddy Ariel Roman — he’s a director guy. He and I hashed out the script in one night. It’s basically about this guy who bumps into this girl — they bump into each other on the beach, and they meet and he texts her on DM on Instagram and she hits him back, but not really. And then he’s obsessing over her. It’s all just like an experience that you have on your phone.

I think it’s sort of striking how I’ve been on both sides: both the person obsessed with getting a reaction, and the person who’s not really engaging.
Yeah, it’s totally just a modern thing. I don’t think that would’ve happened 15, 20 years ago. You would obsess, but they weren’t right in your face all the time, right in your pocket.

Do you look up people online before you go out with them?
[Laughs] No, do you?

I don’t! I think it’s weirder to be on a first date and know what that person’s last vacation was or something. A lot of my friends say I’m weird for not stalking someone on IG before a date.
Really? In fact, to my mind, it’s sort of a bittersweet thing. It’s interesting — it’s just where our culture is, but Instagram has changed everything so much. Not just Instagram, but our phones and social media and everything is shifting. This is just a comment on that. I’m real old school — I’m like you. I don’t look anybody up. I’m pretty out of it when it comes to this stuff, but it’s more of an observation I’m making. Look at it — it’s everything. The president, you know. Social media has created a whole different way of communicating with each other and how we deal with each other. It’s so weird. So no, I don’t look anybody up.

Before we finish, I’m gonna give you one more chance to correct the record. You are clearly the king of the Pussy Posse.
I appreciate that.

A Brief Talk With Lukas Haas About Music, Pussy Posse https://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2020/01/24/24-lukas-haas-chat-room-silo.png