“REBEKAH!”, is the enthusiastic response I received on the other end of the phone. It was immediate that what I had imagined of the HAIM sisters was in-fact true; that being their warmth, kind nature and overall sense of girl power and after a mere 15 minutes, it felt like I had known them for years. Since 2011, the family trio has garnered a wide and passionate fan base as the girls from LA continue an upwards trajectory of hits. Fusing their county sensibilities, with indie-pop appeal, the eldest Danielle, followed by Alana and Este are looking towards their third studio album. But it hasn’t always been easy.
Off the back of recent single releases ‘Now I’m In It’ and ‘Hallelujah’, GRAZIA caught up with the youngest sisters to chat sexism, touring with Lizzo and why they are no longer holding back the truth.
GRAZIA: Talk to me about the back story to ‘Now I’m In It’. It’s lyrics appear to be something everyone can relate to in one way or another.
HAIM: “‘Now I’m In It’ came about super quickly because we really had so much material. After being on tour for so long, coming home you forget that all the problems you have at home when you leave, they stay the same, you come back with the same problems, it never changes. Danielle is unfortunately not with us, she’s doing vocals on our new track. Danielle came home and was in a depression where she really wasn’t feeling like herself, and Este and I didn’t really know what to do. You want to help but you don’t really know… post-tour depression is a real thing. Este and I came together to help our sister out which is how the music video comes into it. We thought Danielle was struggling, we were all going through our things but seeing Danielle really tugged at our heart strings, so Este and I really pushed to get her in the studio to just start writing again. And it helped, and one of the first things that came out was ‘Now I’m In It’. And it happened so quickly… This song is super chaotic, it’s the most lyrics we’ve ever put in a song.”
GRAZIA: The band was faced with many hardships during the production of the second album. How has the song writing, and inspiration evolved since then?
HAIM: “Honestly, just coming back into the studio for the third record we were the most confident we’ve ever been. For our first record, we were super hungry, and we knew the basics… and for the second album we went through a lot of crazy, unexpected circumstances – thank God Ariel (Rechtshaid) is okay after he had his cancer scare. Coming into our third record we really just wanted to not have any restraint on what we wanted to talk about, we really wanted to dig really deep lyrically. For the last two records, we kept our feelings protected. We were protective of our lyrics and scared to open up.
“It’s scary to talk about things you don’t really want to talk about. For the third record, we have a lot to say and we still have a lot to say and [now] we’re open books …”
A lot of feelings you have, you don’t really recognise how deep they go or exactly what they mean until after. I don’t think we really realised how tough the last couple of years has been on us but we’re super grateful for everything we’ve been given. We want to tour forever but you put your body through a lot of long nights and crazy days and disregarding a lot of things your body is telling you. And we’ll keep going until someone tells us to physically stop. Once that happens, all the emotions start to run back but looking back, even though we’re writing about the last couple of years, we still feel super grateful for what’s happened in the last couple of years. We are the most proud of these songs that we are making now. It feels great and we can’t wait for everyone to hear the final project.”
GRAZIA: You’ve opened up about experiences with sexism within the industry in the past. Do you still find that prevalent issue today, even with growing awareness?
HAIM: “It’s never ending. The thing that is amazing now, is that there is an open conversation about it. That you’re not outcast for asking questions and speaking up and saying, ‘This doesn’t feel right, why is this happening, why are you treating me this way’. I feel a couple of years ago, especially when we were coming up, even as close as 2011, 2012, it doesn’t seem like a long time ago but it feels like a lifetime to us. There are so many things that are still happening in this industry, in every industry, and we haven’t cured the problem but at least I can speak up and feel comfortable and feel like people have my back which is really amazing. Anyone can speak up and people you have never met before come to your rescue like, ‘Yeah, that’s fucked up’. We’re so thankful that we’re living in a time where there is an open conversation about equality and not putting up with bullshit.”
GRAZIA: You fired your agent when you found out male bands at the same level were paid 10 times more. How did you come across that statistic and was it an easy decision?
HAIM: “The way we heard about it was really by chance. We had heard through the grapevine that it was happening and that it was true. We ask a lot of questions and we get down to the bottom of it. We were taken by surprise and didn’t know it was happening at first, we didn’t believe it … it wasn’t a hard decision to move on. It was for a good reason, it wasn’t a petty crime.”
GRAZIA: What was it like having Lizzo as your support act during your tour? What was the vibe like when you were all in the same room?
HAIM: “Oh, so much fun! So much fun! Best human being in the world. Every tour date was almost like a therapy session. Any time I would say something negative about myself, she would say ‘Don’t say that! Don’t put that into the universe.’ Her whole ethos is self-love. To have someone around that reminds you that it’s toxic and you shouldn’t do that. She was quite literally the voice that was like, ‘You really need to be kind yourself’.
GRAZIA: HAIM is the epitome of girl power. What do you hope the younger generation takes from your music?
HAIM: “If anything, I would hope that we can inspire girls to pick up instruments. We went through growing up, trying to play rock music… I really hope we inspire girls to pick instruments and not be afraid and it doesn’t matter what instrument. Classical, electric, whatever music you like, and music is so important. It has helped me and my sisters so much through getting out emotions and getting over things and writing music and playing music around the world has been our therapy and it is such a gift to have that in your life. Anything in the arts does help, it really helps girls get out there and not be scared to be creative.”
GRAZIA: Finally, what can we expect from your rumoured third album?
HAIM: “Right now, we just putting out songs and we haven’t done that in a while. What you can expect is a lot of emotion but also you can crash and throw shit in your room too, and songs that you can dance to. And a lot of lady power.”
Visit HAIM’s website here.