An exclusive interview with the youngest Haim

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Paul John Caña

Paul John Caña

They’ve had an explosive 2013 and all signs point to an even brighter new year for one of the hottest new bands out there today. Haim is composed sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim (who are 27, 24 and 22, respectively) plus their drummer Dash Hutton. Even before they released their critically acclaimed debut album, Days Are Gone, in September last year, they had already amassed quite a following from fans who love their R&B-tinged folk rock-pop music. Even established music stars like Jay-Z (who signed them to his Roc Nation management group), Florence Welch and many others.

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Pinoy fans will be ecstatic to know that Haim (rhymes with “time”), are one of the announced acts in this year’s Laneway music festival in Singapore on January 25. The Manila Times was given the exclusive chance to chat with “Baby” Haim, Alana, about growing up in a musical family, their songwriting process and how awesome it was to play on Saturday Night Live. Excerpts:

The Manila Times: Where are you and what’s outside your window?

Alana Haim: I am in Amsterdam right now, and right outside my bus window there’s like a huge mural of an eye.

TMT: What’s your earliest musical memory?

AH: I used to play in a band with my family called Rockinhaim, but, even before that, my dad would play drums. He wanted us to have fun and discover songs, he’s always been a supporter of the arts, and wanted us to have an outlet to express ourselves. So my dad would always play drums and like put sticks in my hand to beat on the drums. That’s kind of how we grew up.

TMT: What was it like growing up in the Haim household?

AH: It was always fun. Haim the band started about seven years ago, but like I said before that we were in a band with our parents called Rockinhaim. It was awesome. Living with my family was filled with so much music, with every instrument you could ever want. My dad, one of his favorite things to do is find like these vintage instruments. And everyone in our house kind of grew up with these instruments. And we listened to the radio, and there was classic rock songs and it was fun.

TMT: What’s your songwriting process like?

AH: It usually just comes from someone bringing in something that we figured out like in the shower or like in the car. It could be a melody or something. And she’ll bring it in and we’ll record it and kind of discuss it there. Like piecing songs together. It’s not like sitting down and writing a song, because that’s kind of daunting, it’s like looking at a blank piece of paper and writing a story. It’s really scary. We kind of just take it really easy, we’ll put different parts together, and that’s kind of like how a song is born.

TMT: Tell me about playing on SNL. That must have been pretty cool.

AH: It is! I still don’t really know how we got on there. It’s like the biggest thing. Playing on SNL is kind of like the biggest honor, and the fact that we got to play is kind of insane. And the whole week that we were there, you get to be there for a couple of days to rehearse and we just kept telling everyone how excited we were, and they were like confused because we would say “Yeah we’re gonna play on SNL,” and they’d be like, “Oh great, but why are you freaking out?’ We were so happy and it was really awesome.

TMT: You’re relatively a young band but a lot of your fans are musical celebrities themselves like Jay-Z and Florence Welch. How does that make you feel?

AH: It’s really awesome! I mean especially with all the bands, I think it’s really crazy to work with other bands. I really appreciate all the bands that have ever toured with us and we have toured with them. Like our first tour was with Julian Casablances with The Strokes, and the Strokes are like my favorite band, ever. And then we got to do a tour with Vampire Weekend, and then Phoenix. Florence [Welch], I never thought, you know, would even like our band. I mean, I never even thought that she would find us. Especially when we went on tour with her we were such a baby band. And so she when she started liking us, it was like the biggest thing. We were so excited. She gave us our first real tour experience. So we just feel really lucky with all of this love these bands are giving us. It’s just really insane.

TMT: You said before you were going to be selective about the shows that you would play. What made you decide to play in Laneway?

AH: We’re super excited for Laneway. It’s such an awesome festival. So many amazing people are playing it. We just met Lorde the other day. And she is so sweet and so nice. And we were kind of scared because Laneway is like a whole month long, and we really wanted to meet her and be friends with her. And now we get to spend time with her. So this is basically like vacation time. I mean it’s not everyday that I get to say that I’m going to Singapore. That’s quite amazing. I’m really excited to play with Lorde. And we love Lauren from Chvrches. It’s like this epic, girls-hanging-out basically. We’re all talking about it and we’re all like “We can’t wait for Laneway!” It’s just an awesome festival. I hope maybe while we’re out there, we hope we can jump onstage with the other bands that we’re big fans of.

Tickets to Laneway Singapore are already on sale. Manila-based indie music fans can purchase their tickets via ticketworld.com.ph. For more information, visit singapore.lanewayfestival.com

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Email pjcana@gamil.com or follow me on Twitter @pauljohncana

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