Hays' "Sleep Talk" cast also includes his previous acting and music managers, old friends and even his dog. Among Hays' favorites is an early school friend who he connected with when he came to see a show by Hays' previous band Maudlin Strangers; The friend is now married to a woman he met at the show and they have two children, all of whom appear in the video. A high school best friend who's "always been in a stoner" is in the video, too, waking up to smoke a little weed.
"It was really fun to bring everybody's personality out in each set-up," says Hays, who began playing drums as a teenager and gradually learned other instruments. "Everybody brought their own stuff they actually sleep in, or things that were important to them. It turned out to be much better than I imagined it would be, which was fun. I'm really happy with it."
Room 13 is due out Oct. 18 and available for pre-order Oct. 4. It features four of the more than 20 songs Hays recorded. He acknowledges that the fire -- which occurred while he was in Texas filming an upcoming action movie called Night Run -- had a profound effect, both in returning his focus to music and making him more prolific in writing and recording. "I was doing acting and stuff, but it's not as important as music and how therapeutic and healing it is," Hays explains. "After the fire, it was a really bizarre feeling to not have a home to go to -- and I'm such a homebody. My recording process has always been me alone in my room doing everything on my own, at home." He wound up buying a computer from a friend and finding other gear via eBay, naming the EP after the number of the rented recording space.
"Sleep Talk" was released as a single during the summer and has passed 250,000 streams on Spotify already. Other songs from the sessions will "slowly start trickling out," Hays promises, with another EP or possibly a full album out next year -- perhaps including additional songs he's been working on since the initial blast.
He's ready to get back to playing live, too. He's assembling a band that will start rehearsing later in the fall, targeting mid- to late-November for shows. "I'm itching beyond belief to get out and perform again," Hays says. "I haven't performed for probably over three years, which is the longest I've ever gone since discovering music. So I'm bursting at the friggin' seams." And don't be surprised if Hays winds up getting on stage with Currie when she and Brie Darling play on Dec. 5 at The Whisky in Los Angeles to promote their new album The Motivator.
"She was like, 'Hey, we're performing at the Whisky in December. Would you come up and play a couple Runaways songs?'" Hays reports. "I'm like, 'Absolutely! I would love to.' That's gonna be fun to get up and play a couple songs with my mom. I haven't done that in years, either. I'd definitely audition to be her opening act, too."