Q&A: Talking Ham And OutKast With Haim At KROQ
By Bailey Pennick; Photos by Erik Voake (Red Bull Content Pool) on January 20, 2014
Stryker was getting red. Maybe it was just the rose-tinted lights blasting on him, combined with the sweltering heat from all of those people smashed together trying to get closer to the front, or maybe it was the long-time-coming “love tap” he got from Este Haim as she jumped onstage with her two sisters for their KROQ session. In all honesty it was probably a perfect storm of all those factors (plus maybe forgetting to apply sunscreen on that chilly 80 degree Wednesday), but the hypnotizing charm of one of the San Fernando Valley’s greatest export was undeniable to all who attended the first Red Bull Sound Space show of 2014.
“I just got to cross that off my bucket list,” Este stated proudly to the crowd. “Ever since I heard you on the radio first play ‘Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)’ by The Offspring, I knew I had to do this when I met you.” After a handful of giggles from the audience and the unusually speechless DJ collected himself, the trio answered questions about previously written demos, their endless Valley pride (Ultrazone on Ventura by the Baja Fresh anyone?) and what their favorite Blink-182 song was (“Josie” and “Aliens Exist” for the record) as prompted by Mark Hoppus himself via Twitter. Even in the presence of 150 fans--some complete with homemade HAIM shirts and handwritten letters--Danielle, Alana and Este never took their success for granted. It’s probably what makes the fact that they can harmonize, shred, write songs and still get along as siblings that much sweeter.
This April, Este will be able to cross another thing off her bucket list when she and her sisters hit the Coachella stage for the first time as a trio (Danielle played once as part of Julian Casablancas' band). Travelling to Indio for the Coachella Valley Music + Arts Festival is a rite of passage for young Angelinos who thrive on good music and hot days (not an issue for SFV natives), and while releasing one of 2013’s best albums (Days Are Gone) has put the sisters on the map, playing their desert home festival will certainly be something not to miss. FILTER caught up with HAIM after their intimate set to talk about their whirlwind 2013, how to announce a secret show and how 2014 is shaping up to be even stronger for the girls.
Este, I felt some vibes between you and Stryker today and you definitely hypnotized Letterman last year…
Este: I don’t know what it is guys. I just don’t know. My hips don’t lie apparently. It’s all in the hips.
Well your hips are going to be able to seduce a ton of people this summer as you guys make the rounds on the festival circuit! How does it feel to know you'll be playing Coachella--a festival you all have been attending as fans for years?
Danielle: Well I did play the festival with Julian one year...
Este: I passed out!
Alana: I lost my purse!
Danielle: Alana ALWAYS loses her purse. That was the first truly crazy Coachella moment for me because for them, the rest of Julian’s band, this was just a job for them. They all went to the festival together, but I always go with my sisters so I’ll just stay with them. Welp, we got to the festival late, we’re like rushing to the stage, Alana leaves her backpack on the golf cart…
Alana: That doesn’t really need to be in the article. I guess the first thing, the first shock for us this year, was just seeing the rest of the lineup.
Yeah, your font size is huge for a first time band playing!
Este: Isn’t that funny? That’s always what everyone talks about. People have been saying that to me and I guess I really never thought about it, but it really is fucking crazy.
Alana: We have just been such fans of Coachella; we’ve gone every year. Last year we tried not going, we REALLY tried. We had to fight this urge because we were finishing the record. We really shouldn’t have gone, but that second weekend a friend of ours was like, “You guys have to come to Coachella” and we just ended up screaming FINE and heading out there! This will be my eighth or ninth Coachella.
Living in LA, it’s just kind of what you do. It’s our Glastonbury. And you know for eight or nine years we’ve been saying to each other, “One of these years, we’re going to play” and now it’s happening and I’m going to cry.
Danielle: We’re all going to cry.
Who are you excited to see besides yourselves there?
Alana: I’m so excited because they are headlining so many festivals. I think I’m going to be seeing a lot of OutKast. We’ve been the biggest fans of OutKast for so long.
I’m sorry Ms. Jackson.
Este: I am FOR REAL.
Alana: What about “Spread”?
Este: I want to know, are they going to play that later stuff?
Danielle: They have to! They have to.
I've noticed that your onstage looks have been incredibly consistent: shorts [Alana], pants [Danielle], dress [Este]. Will this be the same for the sweltering heat of the Coachella valley?
Alana: Why change a good thing?
Este: I think it’s just what we’re all most comfortable in. Honestly, when I wear pants I feel like I’m in a straitjacket. There’s a lot of shit going on when I perform and I need to be free!
Danielle: I, on the other hand, can’t wear a dress anymore. I really tried! I think I even tried at Coachella last year. I just thought I’d put on a frilly dress and do the whole thing, but no. I can’t anymore. Like I turned 24 and that was it.
Alana: I just like to be cold all the time!
As you guys have been (rightfully so) gaining more popularity, have you found more people are able to properly pronounce your band/last name?
Este: There have been countless times when people have called me Esme in magazines.
Alana: I’m always Ashley…
I’ve certainly heard my fair share of “Have you heard of the band HAM?”
Este: I’m down. Honestly, as long as they are trying and listening, I’m down.
If you guys do secret shows, you should go as HAM.
Alana: We would! But there’s another band actually called HAM. That’s the problem. You know, we should really go as something like “Corey Haim”
Este: I always thought we should go as something like “The Trifecta.”
Danielle: No, that’s too hard. Honestly you just have to tweet something right before you do it.
2013 was a huge year for HAIM. What’s 2014 going to bring?
Alana: New. Shit.
Writing? Already recording?
Alana: Right now, we’re just deciding what we want the next record to sound like.
Danielle: There are still some songs that we have left over from the last album which we still really like, but we want to use them, rework them, things like that. I mean, we’re always writing and right now we’re trying to figure out how to write on the road.
Este: That’s the thing we’re really trying to find our footing on right now.
Danielle: It’s easy now. You can get GarageBand now on your iPhone. It’s just an app now!
Really? That’s insane! Has it made things that much easier?
Alana: It’s still harder than it seems, but at least it’s there.
Este: We’re always trying to stay creative, but you know…we also like to party. F