Straight off 11-hour flight from Los Angeles, jet lag doesn’t hinder the Haim sisters’ sense of humour as Jane Casey quizzes them about partying in Dublin, meeting Beyoncé, their forthcoming debut album, and girl-crushes.
This sibling trio from San Fernando Valley, California has toured with Mumford And Sons and Florence And The Machine. They have die-hard celebrity fans like Katy Perry and One Direction’s Harry Styles. They were named top of BBC’s Sound Of 2013 list. Not only do the Haim sisters have this impressive list of accolades and followers, but they also have also charmed fans and journalists alike with their witty quips and quick-fire banter.
I, however, was not expecting a comedy routine from Haim. I had been informed before the interview that they had just got off an 11-hour flight from Los Angeles. I was expecting half-zombiefied ‘too cool for school’ Valley divas, à la Clueless, even though I really hoped that wouldn’t be the case, having been one of the millions who have been completely entranced by their “nu-folk-meets-nineties-R’n’B” sound, having fallen hook, line and sinker, when I first heard their Forever EP in 2012.
When I introduced myself, I was met with a warm chorus of, “Hey! Nice to meet you,” in a synchronised, painfully cool Californian tongue. But instead of being painfully cool, they seemed genuinely excited to be talking to me. Their personalities shine through right from the get go. Alana ‘Baby’ Haim is the youngest of the sisters, at 22. Danielle (24), although shy, is the most seasoned musician of the three, having toured with Julian Casablancas before she took the helm as lead singer and guitarist in Haim. The eldest, at 27 is the bassist, Este, and she’s by far the most confident and sassy. “I think this might be the bosses office,” Alana says as she surveys her surroundings and picks up a few records that are sitting on coffee table in Universal Records HQ in Dublin. “In that case I can take some fucking Lana Del Rey records,” Este adds and she defiantly makes a neat pile of vinyl to exit with.
When wide-eyed Alana talks, you can tell that she hasn’t exactly left her teenage years behind just yet, “Oh my God, the last time we were in Dublin, we stayed at a club until like five in the morning,” she says, all animated. “Este started DJing. It was just the craziest…” Este however, has a spontaneous air about her, which has no doubt given her the reputation of the unpredictable Haim sister. “I didn’t like what the DJ was playing, so I literally just like punched him out of the box. I was like, ‘fuck this’,” she laughs.
Este called out her number (much to the dismay of her sisters) to a guy she thought was cute from the stage at the iTunes Festival last year, which was streamed live all over the world. Change her number? Not Este! She encourages fans to contact her. “I reply to everyone!” she says. “Once this girl texted me and asked me to write down, ‘never look back, never give up’, and to send her a picture of it so she could get it tattooed to her arm. That blew me away.” Alana interrupts Este’s reminiscence. “It’s really true! Sometimes when Este goes to the bathroom I take her phone and Facetime the fans. Este gets so many drunken calls – I got so many wobbly videos of people screaming Don’t Save Me at a party.” When I admit to the Haims that there has been many a party where I did that exact same thing, Alana is encouraging. “If you are drunk and want to listen to the songs that we play, that’s the most amazing thing ever,” she tells me.
But whom do the girls dance to when they’re partying? They’re huge fans of ’90s pop they tell me, so I present them with a difficult pick: TLC or Destiny’s Child. All three sisters look at me like they’re Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice. Alana struggles to decide. “I think TLC because… oh, God this is so hard because I am in love with Beyoncé. We are actually playing with her in Twickenham soon.” When I ask if have they met Mrs Carter in the flesh, their eyes light up with excitement as they all try to tell the story at once. “What happened was we were at this party, and Beyoncé and Jay Z were there,” Alana gushes. “One of our label heads literally just grabbed my hand and pulled me over and said, ‘Beyoncé, this is Haim’,” Danielle chips in. Este does her best Beyoncé impression with one finger held in the air: “She said, ‘Ya’ll are so beautiful” and I was like thinking ‘Oh. My. God. It was an out of body experience.”
Despite partying with the Carters, sold-out venues all over America and Europe, major hype and a massive, growing fanbase, Haim are yet to even release a full-length record. But there’s one on the way. “There will be between 10 and 12 tracks,” Este divulges, eating some Wagamama miso soup that has just been delivered by a label assistant. “We haven’t decided yet. It’s kind of like puzzle pieces. We’re like, ‘does this song fit with this song?’ We just have to lay it all out and decide if all these songs are ‘friends with each other’, you know? Can they get along together? But besides that everything is done, it’s just being mixed now.” After another slurp of soup she continues, “It’s probably going to be out in the late summer or early Fall. That’s the other thing, once it’s done that doesn’t mean that it can come out the next day.” She rolls her eyes. “There are a million things the label wants to do. It all has to go through the big man.”
Although the girls have spoken about ex-boyfriends when they are on stage, they sure do have opinions on the ladies too. Danielle is quiet at the best of times, but is first off the mark when I ask them about girl-crushes. “Penelope Cruz,” she blurts, “She’s so fucking hot. When I saw her in Vicky Cristina Barcelona… damn!” As Alana struggles to think of hers, Este is definite. “Marion Cotillard,” she tells me. “She played Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose. She’s such a babe!” Baby Alana finally catches up, “I have always had a crush on Kate Moss. Kate Moss was the ultimate in the ’90s,” she says. My sentiments exactly.
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