Interview: Haux Finds His Own “Carte Blanche” in an Embrace of Ethereal Joie de Vivre

Haux © Sayer Mansfield
Haux's Woodson Black © Sayer Mansfield
Haux’s Woodson Black catches up with Atwood Magazine to discuss the joie de vivre mindset behind his new single “Carte Blanche” and the overarching themes of his sophomore album ‘Blue Angeles,’ set for release in spring 2024.
Stream: “Carte Blanche” – Haux




Weʼre playing it cool, weʼre laughing it off like life is a movie. Quick, someone hit stop…

A blanket of ethereal indie folk coats the ears as Haux makes his triumphant and tender return to the spotlight.

Itʼs been ten months now, but it feels like ten years, I’m looking around like how the hell did I get here?” the singer/songwriter born Woodson Black sings on “Carte Blanche,” reflecting on life itself and how we spend what precious time we have on Earth.

It’s been nearly three and a half years since we last heard from Haux; 2020’s breathtaking debut album Violence in a Quiet Mind saw him dealing with depression, death, grief, and love, painting what he described at the time as “a collage of my childhood – mostly the sad parts I couldn’t talk about at sleepovers.” While the record remains an intimate and compelling breath of light – as fresh now as it felt upon its release – Black himself has been on a journey of continuous evolution, and he’s ready to share a snapshot of that personal and artistic growth with the greater public.

FRACTURE & FRAGILITY: INSIDE HAUX’S BREATHTAKING DEBUT ALBUM ‘VIOLENCE IN A QUIET MIND’

:: FEATURE ::



Released November 17, 2023 via Ultra Records, “Carte Blanche” is a warm and dreamy reverie dwelling in moments of connection and cathartic bliss. It’s a moment of rapture, bottled up in song so that we can always remember what matters most to us in life, and not spend our time hung up on trivialities and minutiae. While we may never achieve a distraction-free existence, it’s helpful to have a North Star in the art we’re exposed to, forever guiding our souls and showing us the way back home.

Carte Blanche - Haux
Carte Blanche – Haux
Carte blanche in an ’80s sedan
Tattoos that your father canʼt stand
and Iʼm getting dizzy I took too much
I guess I lost my balance
when we fell out of touch

And itʼs been ten months now
but it feels like ten years

I’m looking around like
how the hell did I get here?
But Iʼm playing it cool
Iʼm laughing it off
like life is a movie
Quick someone hit stop
Wait someone hit stop

“I think ‘carte blanche,’ to most people, means a check with a bunch of zeros on it, but this song to me isn’t talking about the money,” Black tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s talking about something else, something you can’t hold in your hands or count up or spend. It’s a state of mind.”

“It’s about putting my phone down and engaging with my physical world – like I did when I was a kid. It’s about growing up and becoming everything you already are.”

Haux © Sayer Mansfield
Haux © Sayer Mansfield



French kiss on the autobahn
cliché but you donʼt give a damn
I wander the pavement
like you wander my head

I skip all the cracks
just to prove that Iʼm still a kid

and Iʼm scrolling the comments
in the Hollywood Hills

Getting down on myself
’cause Iʼm a sucker for cheap thrills

Through poetic imagery wrapped in gentle acoustic atmospherics, Black offers his own spin on the classic “stop and smell the roses” idiom – slowing down and finding happiness in the present through time spent with loved ones. He sings about finding “carte blanche in an ’80s sedan” and a “French kiss on the autobahn” with a heart full of love, living freely and in the moment, although both verses inevitably fall prey to anxious thoughts: “Iʼm scrolling the comments in the Hollywood Hills, getting down on myself ’cause Iʼm a sucker for cheap thrills,” he admits.

The song’s chorus feels like the snap of the photo: An attempt to crystallize and enshrine a memory, so as to make it last forever:

And weʼre playing it cool
Weʼre laughing it off
like life is a movie
Quick someone hit stop
Wait someone hit stop
So donʼt you forget it
Haux © Sayer Mansfield
Haux © Sayer Mansfield



“Carte Blanche” arrived alongside a self-directed music video that finds Black, his girlfriend, and his phone road-tripping through Northern California. The visual adds more nuance and depth to the struggles to live freely and unencumbered depicted in the song’s lyrics.

“I’ve struggled a lot with what I call feeling phonesick,” Black explains. “It’s something that’s kept me from getting outside and actually seeing the world with my own two eyes. I wanted to capture that fuzzy feeling where the main character’s caught between his phone screen and his physical world, without really existing in either one completely.”

Perhaps the ultimate goal is to smell the roses; in “Carte Blanche,” one might say that Haux is halfway there. But is that even possible? Can you be halfway in on joie de vivre, or is it an absolute – you either have it, or you don’t? I’ll leave that question up to the philosophy majors.



Blue Angeles - Haux
Haux’s sophomore album, ‘Blue Angeles’, is due out in the spring of 2024

Still, Black has managed to find moments of peace, tranquility, and serenity in his life. For him, “Carte Blanche” reminds him of “watching the sunset on a beach in Malibu, having a good time with a good friend.”

The song is also the perfect introduction to Haux’s forthcoming sophomore album, Blue Angeles, due out in the spring of 2024. The new record, he says, is an answer to the pervasive question, “What happens when we stop running away?”

“I needed to grow up to write this record and that isn’t something that just happens overnight,” he explains. “It’s taken me the better part of three years and I needed all of it to be where I am today.”

Getting here’s been the biggest adventure of my life.

Produced by Thomas Bartlett (Taylor Swift, Florence + The Machine), Maxwell Byrne (Mallrat), and Aug E. Rose, Blue Angeles promises to be a haven of intimate introspection, spiritual connection, inner healing, and self-discovery.

Atwood Magazine caught up with Woodson Black to talk about this next chapter of Haux, what “Carte Blanche” means to him, and more! Reconnect with one of our favorite indie folk artists below, and stay tuned for much more to come as Haux continues to unveil his new album!

Blue Angeles‘ second single, “Claire De Lune,” will be out December 15.

— —

:: stream/purchase Carte Blanche here ::
Stream: “Carte Blanche” – Haux



CATCHING UP WITH HAUX

Carte Blanche - Haux

Atwood Magazine: Woodson, it’s so great to reconnect with you! How have you been over the past couple of years since we last heard from you, I guess really back in 2020-’21?

Haux: I’ve been good man, really good. Getting here’s been the biggest adventure of my life.

You don’t say! “Carte Blanche” is such a wondrous way to return after these past couple of years. Why did you make your re-entry (so to speak) with this song?

Haux: I feel like it’s a good representation of where I’m at in my life, and I wanted people to see and hear it first.

Can you share a little about the story behind “Carte Blanche”? What does this song mean to you, and what is it about?

Haux: It’s about putting my phone down and engaging with my physical world – like I did when I was a kid. It’s about growing up and becoming everything you already are.

Haux © Sayer Mansfield
Haux’s Woodson Black © Sayer Mansfield



So I recently moved up to the Hudson Valley (Beacon) and am absolutely loving it up here. I know you live in nearby Berkshires, and wanted to ask if you feel like your surrounding environment has an impact on the kind of music you make?

Haux: That’s a good question. What I can say is that I love being outside. I love everything about being outside. It’s where I feel at peace with myself. This part of the country the woods feel like home to me. So yeah, there’s no doubt this place is a part of who I am and definitely a big part of my music.

“Carte Blanche” perfectly balances an intimate warmth with sonic ethereality; I love the way your voice flows over the instruments, almost like a shadow. Can you talk about the sonics of this song, and what vision (if any) you had in mind as you went about bringing it to life?

Haux: Thank you. I didn’t think too much about it. I think it represents where I was at the time, which was watching the sunset on a beach in Malibu having a good time with a good friend.

The song seems to take its name from the very first line: “Carte blanche in an ‘80s sedan.” What does this line mean to you, and why did you name it as such?

Haux: I think ‘carte blanche,’ to most people, means a check with a bunch of zeros on it, but this song to me isn’t talking about the money. It’s talking about something else, something you can’t hold in your hands or count up or spend. It’s a state of mind.

Blue Angeles - Haux
Haux’s sophomore album, ‘Blue Angeles’, is due out in the spring of 2024



This is the lead single off your upcoming album, Blue Angeles. Can you share a little about what's in store for listeners on your sophomore record?

Haux: I’m really happy to share it. It makes me smile. I’ll just say there’s something on it for everyone.

How, for you, does “Carte Blanche” introduce the album to listeners?

Haux: I think people already know after hearing “Carte Blanche” that Blue Angeles isn’t going to be anything like the music I made before and I’m really jazzed about that.

What do you hope listeners take away from “Carte Blanche”?

Haux: “Carte Blanche” is an offering just like Blue Angeles. It’s a documentation of my experience and my learning. I don’t hope listeners take anything away from it – except for how it makes them feel and that’s nothing that I can speculate on.

Likewise, what are you most excited for as we get into the end of the year and head into 2024?

Haux: I’m excited for my next single, it’s called “Claire De Lune” out December 15th.

— —

:: stream/purchase Carte Blanche here ::
Stream: “Carte Blanche” – Haux



— — — —

Blue Angeles - Haux

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? © Sayer Mansfield

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