“We’re really feeling like strong women right now. Bosses of our own fate. Making our own music, not taking shit from anybody – writing every word, every chord and every song.”
In a time where feminism is commodified across not only the music industry, but the creative sphere as a whole, it’s encouraging to see strong women making their mark and pushing for their place in the industry.
Ahead of their sophomore release Something to Tell You, Danielle Haim’s triumphant proclamation of female empowerment on behalf of herself and her two sisters, Este and Alana – whom together make up HAIM – is more than fitting. Since their formation, the musical sisterhood has worked on honing their craft, developing into an exciting and an extremely experienced touring outfit.
The multi-instrumentalist sisters meld their charm and effortless style alongside impressive and ambitious arrangements to create a harmonic and deftly punctuated mix of pop, folk and rock.
It’s been four years since HAIM released their smash hit debut album Days are Gone, years that have seen the sisters tour extensively across the globe. But before the band became instantly recognisable for their catchy tunes, they were touring, going so far as to have performed as a family band alongside their parents – Von Trapp style – in their even younger years.
Stepping off the road and into a somewhat more stable life wasn’t an effortless transition. The end of the tour – and of that chapter of their lives – had the young women face the reality of not having a place to live. Checking out of the hotel – in the style of any young person looking for some security – the trio returned to a familiar stomping ground. Their parent’s house.
“After everything we had done it felt nice to be back – to go home and go to my childhood room,” says Danielle. “We rehearsed there every day for seven or eight years, dreaming of playing Saturday Night Live. To go back there now is very surreal. It’s so fucking crazy.”
Filled with those memories of their younger years perfecting the craft, the space was a perfect fit. The living room of their family home still set up as a rehearsal space, instruments and electronics all ready to go, the very same room featured in their first music video, 2012’s Forever.
It took months of work in that very living room before the foundation of Little of Your Love came together, setting things for their sophomore album in motion.
“When we wrote that, it felt like, ‘Hey, we still know how to do this. It’s happening.’ Then we finally got the ball rolling.”
Coming of age is a source of inspiration for many artists, and for good reason. The advent of age is the progression of a story, and with age comes the maturity and experience to push oneself.
After the success of Days are Gone, there was a lot to live up to, an expectation that the sisters seemingly took in their stride.
Returning to the very walls that heard the start of HAIM’s now hugely popular sound was a grounding experience for the sisters, who continue to grow as they work alongside each other. Rather than returning to exactly what they know, they were inspired to push themselves in what makes them unique and grow their sound.
“On the first record we were messing around a lot with production and samples. Now, coming off of three years of touring, we thought, ‘Let’s just go in and record as a band, keep it a little more organic.’ That was a mission statement for the album,” says Danielle.
Ariel Rechtshaid – who produced both of HAIM’s albums – says they’ve achieved their mission statement on Something to Tell You.
“They’re a very different band than on the last record. After three years of touring, they’re on another level. The fundamentals they have are unique,” Rechtshaid says.
“The lyrics have themes of finding strength; of old and new love. There’s loneliness and vulnerability, but also empowerment. We wanted to focus on what is unique about HAIM, and be willing to let them be them.”
Rechstaid recorded the album, and worked alongside Rostam Batamanglij (Vampire Weekend) on the production. The selection of this small team was an integral part of the album’s creation for the band, youngest sister Alana, says.
“With the first record, we learned that you really need to find people to work with that respect your musicality and ideas. Ariel and Rostam both really wanted to celebrate us as sisters and how serious we are about our music.”
Originally published here.