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Highsnobiety Q&A November, 27 2012

A Conversation with HAIM the Band

The 3 sisters Este, Danielle and Alana are HAIM, using their surame as their bandname. Raised in L.A. the girls are from the Valley where they used to play shows as ‘Rockinhaim’ together with their parents. The middle sister Danielle formerly toured with Jenny Lewis and Julian Casablancas. Playing the lead guitar Danielle totally impresses her audience with her virtuosic skills. Este the oldest of the 3 plays the base and takes the part as the main entertainer on stage. Together the Haim girls have been performing with Mumford & Sons, and were booked to open for Florence and the Machine during the UK and Ireland tour starting in December 2012.

Read our full interview here below.

It’s been said your sound is a mix of R&B influences, 80’s rhythm, and a bit of folk. Do you agree with this?

Este: I definitely wouldn’t say folk! I say it’s basically very rhythmic, because we are all drummers – first and foremost. We all love percussive melodies and that’s what we like to concentrate on. R&B is rhythm and blues, so yea rhythm is a big part of it. Folk…maybe people think that we’re folkie because we all have long hair?

Alana: Yeah! But we don’t hear that when listening to our music.

Do you have musical idols?

Alana: Yes sure everyone has idols. When I think of my musical idols it’s a good mixture between their music and their work ethic for me. The people that I respect the most are the hardest workers like Beyonce. She is one of my all time favorites and she’s not only my idol but also she is such a good and nice person. What I hear from people is that being around her there’s always such a good vibe and she always works so hard. That’s what I want to do: work hard and be a good person…

Danielle: But also play hard!

Alana: Yeah. You have to work hard, play hard, and be a good person. Beyonce is my idol.

Danielle: We all love Prince!

Why?

Danielle: He is a very underrated guitarist! He is an amazing guitarist, all his songs are great and he produces everything himself. We do a lot of the production ourselves, so that’s inspiring. He had his own vision.

Was being a musician always what you wanted to be as a profession? Or did you have other plans and a plan B?

Alana: I don’t really have a plan B! We all have hobbies like there’s things that aren’t music related, but growing up I always knew that if it wasn’t playing music it was something that has to do with music. Music needs to be a part of my life. If I don’t play music I’m painting my nails (laughs).

Este: She is an amazing nail-artist she does designs and all the pictures in her phone are her nails arts…

Alana: I can show you my Halloween nail art!

She takes out her iPhone and shows me a picture of painted nails that look like monster teeth.

Do any of you other girls have another…

Danielle: No! Music has always been my passion!

And you’ve always been playing music. Before you were HAIM you played in a band with you parents and you were ‘Rockinhaim’.

They all smile and repeat ‘Rockinhaim’ making it obvious that it must have been fun to jam with the parents.

So what do your parents do now that they’re not rocking with you anymore?

Alana: Well, they definitely still rock! We bring them on stage at random times when we play. They played with us when we first had a headlining show in London. It was a crazy show because we just had signed our deal and literally we walked on stage and our parents were with us and they came up on stage with us and played Mustang Sally, which was awesome. But when they aren’t rocking they are real estate agents.

If I wanted to buy a house in L.A. I could call up your parents?

Alana: Yeah sure. I have their card. Do it (she laughs) you should. L.A. is paradise!

Now you’re touring, traveling, in between time zones, and around each other 24/7. Is that intense? Do you sometimes fight like sisters?

Alana: I mean, we have always been like best friends. We all have the same group of friends and when we’re not playing we are hanging out with friends which means that we are hanging out with each other anyways and we are around each other 24/7 regardless. When I am not with them and with other friends I always call them and ask: “What are you doing? Where are you? Should I come? I am hanging out with someone else but I can totally ditch them and come to hang with you!”

They all agree and seem to feel the same about it.

Alana: We fight about little things, but that’s regardless of being sisters when you are with anyone 24 hours a day, you just fight about things.

Danielle: Just stupid little things, its nothing, it’s not a fight.

Este: Our fighting is like, “why didn’t you ask me to borrow that shirt?”

Any funny stories about touring?

Este: We set off a bunch of illegal fireworks in Tennessee when we were on tour with Mumford and Sons.

Danielle: Well, they were not illegal they were very much legal.

Alana: Yea, they were legal in Tennessee! But everywhere else they’re illegal!
Well I was buying baby-fireworks, sparklers. I like sparklers, they’re cute. But our touring assistant Savanna, she bought a huge box that has like over 30 fireworks in one box. It’s literally legit fireworks, huge, like you can see at concerts.

Did you celebrate something?

Danielle: No, it was just for fun.  In Tennessee there are stores all along the highways and people go there to buy fireworks just because they can.

Este: Yes, so we were on tour with Mumford And Sons and we almost blew off one of their heads! A couple of times. But they loved it and were like, “Yeeeaaah!” And then we set off all the things and were like, “Ok, lets go to bed.” And the guys, (she copies a perfect british London accent) “What are you talking about? You’re gonna fucking set off all these fireworks and then you’re gonna fucking leave?” And then I thought alright and I ran and jumped into the pool and everyone jumped into the pool with all our clothes on.

Alana: And that was the first time that we all really bonded. That party was the thing that really changes everything. We all almost died over 10 times (laughs).

You survived touring with Mumford and Sons and now you’re going on tour with Florence And The Machine right?

Alana: I don’t wanna think about it yet, because it’s daunting to think that I am going to be playing the O2 Arena twice. Which is crazy! We are so beyond thankful…thinking a year ago if someone would have told me that we would be playing O2 Arenas…well yea you can suck it, that’s not going to happen. And now I think I am so excited that I can’t even compute it yet and I guess that when it’s happening finally and I am on stage it’s gonna sink in.

Este: We saw her play the Hollywood Bowl just a couple of weeks ago and she is so good live. We are so thankful that she asked us to come on tour with her.

You have 4 songs out now. What do you play when you perform a show?

Alana: We play our own songs and 1 cover song. With Rockinhaim it was all cover songs and none of our own songs. It was all Eagles, Santana, etc. We have loads of our own songs.

When will you drop a full length then?

Danielle: Early next year, probably spring next year.

What’s it going to be called?

Alana: We don’t have a name yet. It’s that we kind of constantly surprise ourselves with more songs that we write kind of randomly that we can’t make up a name just yet. Because who knows what’s gonna happen until spring?

And what’s with boys?

They all laugh and repeat ‘BOYS’…

Alana: Boys…if we have time, but we don’t. We don’t have any time ever!

Este: We are all single! And it’s the first time in 5 years that all of us are single at the same time, so it’s a war zone! A battlefield! Tell the German boys to bring it on! Any European, Asian, Australian anyone…

So you don’t have a type?

Este: You know what actually I do have a type. I like them tall and you know what? If you could get me a Javier Bardem lookalike I will get married. Oh oh and he has to be funny and tall, taller than me and look like Javier Bardem. Of course all the other stuff like have a good heart and bla bla is important, but really he just has to look like Javier Bardem.

Alana: I just want time. Not now because right now I am having a blast, but in the future I’d like to have time to find someone.

Danielle: Work is my boyfriend and like a steady relationship he’s always there for me.

 

Watch the new music video for ‘Don’t Save Me’ here below.

 

Interview: Georgia Reeve / Photography: Robert Wunsch for Highsnobiety

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