By Nadia Noir
HAIM are the quintessential modern Valley girls. The three internationally-successful sisters embody those San Fernando Valley vibes with their laid-back sardonicism, silky locks, and a Ventura Blvd. biker chic that Tom Petty would have strummed about. When Alana, Danielle, and Este Haim hit the stage at KROQ with their parents watching, it was clear that despite their love of England (where they snagged #1 album), Southern California is where they feel most comfortable.
Este gave Stryker a little love tap as she walked by and said boldly, “I’ve always wanted to do that. I’ve always wanted to smack you on the ass…It’s been my Christmas wish since I was 12-years-old, since I heard you play ‘Pretty Fly For A White Guy’ on KROQ. It’s been my dream.”
As girls who grew up in Southern California, KROQ was the soundtrack to their “4:20” moments driving down PCH, to their Bar and Bat Mitzvah season jams, and their food theft from Cheesecake Factory at the Galleria. Este confessed a previous love of nu-metal and songs like “Freak On A Leash.” She stopped listening to her Mom and Dad’s musical choice of K-Earth. In a joking pre-teen lisp, Este mimicked her childhood self: “This is the coolest station in the world. I only want to listen to this now.”
Growing up in a town centered around entertainment and having creative, cultured parents that were super supportive help HAIM feel like it wasn’t a “bad thing to want to grow up and be a rock star.” However, they were still encouraged to get a job, go to college, “or do both,” and Este had friends in the audience from UCLA. In the end, it was her rock star dreams that won out.
Alana squealed, “I am so fan-girling right now.” Danielle confessed to played “Aliens Exist” at her fifth grade talent show and proclaimed that that song is her favorite. Este exclaimed hers is “Josie,” to which Alana agreed and then, as if almost on cue, the girls starting singing “I know that everything, I know that everything, I know that everything, everything’s going to be fine” together. Stryker joked that it’s hard to tell their related because they don’t finish each others sentences or anything. The girls responded in unison: “Sometimes we finish each others sandwiches.”
Being sisters (and a band), HAIM spends a lot of time together. They recently took three days off from each other in which Este went to Disneyland to satisfy a churro craving; Alana seemed mildly upset. But the three have spent upwards of two years touring together and their recent explosion in the UK was anything but contrived, they said.
“Nothing we do is planned. Let me tell you something. Secret. Nothing we do is planned,” said Alana. “It was all just kind of by chance. We played SXSW and while we were there we heard that our song was going to be played in the UK and that’s kind of where everything started and we were like, ‘Cool. Let’s go there. And we did.'”
Their songs have evolved a lot over the years. A super fan (who brings handwritten snail mail to the girls) asks about the difference in their song “Forever” and the band confesses that they’ve been playing songs like “The Wire” since 2008 and that has evolved extremely. They like to play most of their songs live first to test them out and see the audience response. Judging by the crowd’s response at the Red Bull Sound Space at KROQ, they did an amazing job curating their sounds. And Este’s “bass face” has a riveted audience.
“Those dancing flowers that move when they hear music? That’s what my face is like,” says Este comparatively. “When it hears music, it starts doing facial gymnastics.”
“It has a mind of its own. It’s weird because growing up I would look at pictures of myself in middle school and high school. Let’s just say I didn’t know what was happening here. This was a mystery to me,” claimed Este. “So, I kind of just let it do its own thing, you know? So, the only time I really feel most comfortable with myself is when I’m with you here. That’s the direct reflection of you guys is what’s happening here–the more into it you guys are.” Judging by Este’s “bass face” during her performance, the crowd was really into it.
- “The Wire”
- “Honey & I”
- “Don’t Save Me”
- “Let Me Go”
Haim’s album Days Are Gone is available now via Columbia Records.