Harper's BAZAAR Australia, October 2013
With the euphoric harmonies of a Stevie-fronted Fleetwood Mac, the beach-party attitude of Bananarama, the swag of Pat Benatar and the percussive cool of Destiny’s Child, sister act Haim is melding ’70s rock, ’80s glam-pop and ’90s Cali-teen-dream R’n’B into glorious,sunny pop-rock for right now. While many have been quick to write them off as folk waifs (they blame the past-shoulder-length hair), this trio — comprising bassist and loose cannon Este Haim, 27; enigmatic lead singer and guitarist Danielle Haim, 24; and energetic “Baby Haim” Alana, 21, on keys and guitar; plus non- Haim Dash Hutton on drums — can actually shred.
Having played together since Alana was barely out of nappies, the band has its genesis in family jam sessions.“When we were growing up, my dad taught us all drums from the time we could, like, hold our heads up,” recounts Este, “and my mum would just play guitar and sing. She would teach us really easy songs, so by the time we were eight or nine and saw things on MTV or heard them on the radio, we were like,‘Playing music is really cool’.”
Pappa Haim (a part-time musician with a penchant for punk and disco), after seeing Danielle’s natural talent for the guitar and Este’s interest in bass, started Rockinhaim, a family band that played at local delis, fairs and functions around their home town of Los Angeles.“We had [that] band through middle school and high school, which was cool because no one else our age played instruments,” continues Este. “By the time my friends picked up instruments, both my sisters were better musicians than them.That was why we started writing together, actually — these kids in my neighbourhood who think they can play guitar and drums don’t know jack shit; my sisters are better than them and I have more fun playing with them anyway. There’s no ego here and we’re a team.”
Alana pipes up: “I can’t look back over my life and think of a time we weren’t very close. Our parents just always made sure we knew that our family are always going to be there for us and be our best friends no matter what;they’re our blood.”
BAZAAR first tapped Haim (rhymes with, well, “rhyme”) as ones to watch a few months back, following the release of their radio-friendly debut EP Forever and its eponymous single. The band has since experienced a meteoric rise to fame — they’ve gained an impressive celebrity following; been stamped as the hot- ticket act to catch at major festivals such as Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and Splendour in the Grass; toured with Rihanna; and were picked by Beyoncé to play Gucci’s Chime for Change concert in London. Danielle even did a stint playing with The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas on his solo project.“In the past year we’ve been able to do so many things we’d never thought possible,” says Alana. “I never thought I’d be able to call up Marcus [Mumford, of Mumford & Sons] or, like, tweet at Flo [Florence Welch] and be like, ‘What up, girl? Where you at?!’ It’s crazy,” she says, laughing. Danielle adds,“I say this constantly, but before this year started I was scared nothing was going to happen, and now that we’re here I’m scared it’s going to stop, so I don’t want to jinx it.”
Haim have every right to be superstitious; they’ve burnt bright yet are still to release an album. Thankfully, though, their 11-track debut long-player, Days Are Gone, is out later this month, having been finished in Sydney just before the BAZAAR shoot.“We are so excited!” gushes Alana of the record, which was produced by Ariel Rechtshaid, the studio guru famed for bridging the indie-pop gap (see also: Vampire Weekend, Major Lazer, Usher and Charli XCX) and James Ford, who has worked with The Arctic Monkeys and Florence + the Machine.“With every EP we’ve done, we’ve learnt something, and we’ve taken that with us,” says Este.“So the record is this kind of summation of everything we’ve experienced over this year, and our entire life. They say your first record’s a reflection of everything that’s happened to you, so it’s definitely true to that.”
Onstage, the girls are energetic, charismatic and don’t miss a beat. At our shoot, they bust out a cappella covers of Mariah Carey songs and Deniece Williams’s Let’s Hear It for the Boy, gush over the makeup artist’s kit and the racks of Acne, Isabel Marant and 3.1 Phillip Lim, their go-to labels, and rapidly become new fans of R.M.Williams.The rest of Rockinhaim even shows up to see how we’re going just as we’re wrapping, which doesn’t seem to be the least bit embarrassing for these girls, and only creates more buzz on set. This is exactly what makes Haim so loveable: they’re utterly wholesome and warm, yet have that Sunset Strip rock’n’roll cool. Sure, they may hang out with their parents, coo over nail art and know all Beyoncé’s moves by heart, but they swear liberally, love to party, hit back at hecklers at shows and in general turn their amps all the way up to 11 — and they’re totally doing it for themselves.
Days Are Gone is out September 27.
From left: Alana wears Isabel Marant Étoile jacket, Chloé jumper, Bec & Bridge skirt. Danielle wears Acne leather jacket,Bonds T-shirt, Rolla’s jeans, Isabel Marant shoes. Este wears 3.1 Phillip Lim jumper, A.L.C. skirt, R.M.Williams boots,
Photographed by Sam Hendel and styled by Karla Clarke. Hair by Barney Martin; makeup by Rae Morris.