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HAIM | Strong women, new music

“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.

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Harts Beating Alone – Beat Magazine

Everywhere you look these days in the broad, ever-growing landscape of music, there are collaborations.

One musician who has completely bucked this trend is Melbourne based singer/songwriter/producer/uber talent, Harts, real name Darren Hart, who unapologetically prefers the solitude of his spare bedroom and his own musicality to a recording studio.

“I have a very unique way of playing, and I’ve found that’s what makes my sound unique. I learnt early on that if I can do everything myself, maybe I should. I’m a control freak in a way, because I’ve found a way that works for me, and I’m not willing to give that up yet.”

I interviewed Harts for Beat Magazine. You can read the rest of the article, including his thoughts on his friendship with the late Prince and winning GQ Breakthrough Artist of the Year here.

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My Beat Magazine Features 2016

Over 2016 I had the absolute privilege of talking to many incredible figures in the music industry. From MØ to Camille O’Sullivan, Dave from Gang of Youths to the brains behind Bjorn Again, here are all the links to my 2016 feature articles for Beat Magazine.

Thom Powers talks his break up with fellow lead of The Naked and Famous.

 talks about beating the pressure that followed on from her mega-hit with Major Lazer, Lean On.

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Mick Newton, promoter and founder of A Day on the Green, talks about his new project A Weekend in the Gardens.

Love and creativity with Nothinge. Intrigued? Confused? Hungry? So was I.

Julia Jacklin, the queen of my quarter life crisis, on her critically acclaimed debut Don’t Let The Kids Win.

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Napier’s Nelson Dore on his effortless rock’n’roll swagger.

Tim Hulsman analyses addiction in all it’s forms.

HEAPS GAY. ‘Nuff said?

Natalie Rize of Blue King Brown on using music as a pathway to higher consciousness.

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Hope you’re hungry, for music, ’cause Darebin Music Feast serves it up a plenty.

You know that song you were hearing everywhere? Kylie Auldist sings that.

Alone in her room with a computer and the sound of silence, Julianna Barwick comes to
life.

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Ben Wright Smith is really fucking pretty. He also makes awesome music. We talked about it here, and I was cursing the fact it was a phone interview. Really guys. So pretty.

Camille O’Sullivan and Paul Kelly
. Guyz.

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Pierce Brothers used to be Bourke St buskers, now they play at Coachella. Fuck yeah.

Go Back to Black with an Amy Winehouse tribute for the ages.

Crying Sirens was a labour of love for Jesse Delaney.

Bjorn Again? Spicey Girls? Claire singing American Pie for impromptu drunk as fuck karaoke at Falls Festival with her boyfriend? No, go back to the real tributes for Tribute Mania, a festival for the rest of ya’ll. See what I did there?

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Deborah Conway told me homeless people are that way because they made bad choices. yeah. Probs don’t read this one.

Dave from Gang of Youths provided me with my favourite (and potentially objectively the best) interview of my career thus far. Fucking thank you, you magnificent son-of-a-gun.

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Ella Hooper talked all things Melbourne Music Bank aka, the way that awesomely talented individuals actually start a career for themselves rather than just ‘star’ in a ‘television’ ‘show’.

It’s LIVE. It’s LOCAL. It’s LIVE N LOCAL. #plsread

Stonefield, a band of fuckin’ awesome chikadees from Woopwoop, made me feel bad about myself cause they’re so much cooler than me. Also my first mag cover.

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Writing about Cool Sounds was cool. It’s also near the end of this list and I’m growing tired.

I learnt about the culture of my ancestors (Indigenous lady in the house) and was left totally in awe of Scott Darlow after this chat.

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I love wrestling. Especially Melbourne’s indie wrestling league. I wrote about it here.