HAIM – Interview

Haim © Reto Schmid

Foto-Credits © Reto Schmid

“Every drop that we had in our bodies is in this record”

HAIM sind die wahrscheinlich coolsten Schwestern im Rockbusiness. Ihr drittes Album Women In Music Pt. III war erst für April angekündigt, wurde dann auf August verschoben und erscheint nun doch schon heute. Nachdem bei ihrer zweiten Platte Something to Tell You die Krebserkrankung von Producer Ariel Rechtshaid die Veröffentlichung hinauszögerte, hat sich jetzt eine weltweite Pandemie in das Release-Date eingemischt. Auf Women in Music Pt. III zeigen sich die Kalifornierinnen selbstbewusst und gleichzeitig intim wie nie.

Wir haben Ende Mai über Zoom mit Alana und Danielle gesprochen. Im Interview erzählen sie, warum die aktuelle Platte ihr Lieblingsalbum ist und beschreiben die befreiende Wirkung von Offenheit beim Songschreiben. Sie erzählen, wie es ist, wenn man als Frau versucht, eine Gitarre zu kaufen und warum sie vor allem bei europäischen Rockfestivals oft das Gefühl haben, sich erst einmal beweisen zu müssen. In unserem Gespräch spiegelt sich das reflektierte, aber kompromisslose Selbstbewusstsein des dritten Albums wider. Wir können kaum erwarten, dass die drei wieder das machen, was sie am liebsten möchten: touren.

You have decided to postpone the release of Women in Music Pt. III. Was that mainly for emotional or practical reasons?
Alana: It was mostly emotional. We were in the middle of doing a tour of Deli shows and we have announced that our album was coming out about 48 hours before it was announced that quarantine was going to happen. We had to cut our Deli Tour short and when we got home, emotionally, I didn’t want to promote something. For us it didn’t feel like the right time to put out a record. So, we pushed it until later in the summer. At that point, there was no information, nobody knew what was going on. But once quarantine felt like the new normal, which it does now, we wanted to put it out earlier. And now it’s going to be out on June 26th, which is crazy and exciting. We have this body of work and we are so proud of it, we are so ready to release it. It’s definitely my favorite record we made.


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It’s an interesting time to put out a new record. It gives people the possibility to connect with the outside world through music.
Alana: Yes! It forced us to be very creative with putting out a record. For us, touring is what we want to do.

Danielle: Touring is how we promote, we get on the road and hit the ground running…

Alana: Yes, we hit the ground running and play as many shows as we can until our fingers bleed. With that completely off the table, we had to go back to the drawing board.

Danielle: Which is also fun, too. Us and other artists, we’re the first people putting out a record during a pandemic. There are no rules. We’re all figuring out how to do things day by day.

It almost seems like every time you want to release an album, your worlds or everyone’s world dramatically changes.
Danielle: That’s just life. At least with this delay, everyone is feeling it. It feels like we’re all in this together. On our last album, unfortunately, our producer fell ill. It wasn’t our story to tell and we couldn’t tell anyone. So, this is way different. 

You said that Women in Music Pt. III is your favorite album. As artists, do you always like your latest work best or is there another reason for it?
Danielle: I thought about that when we wrote it. There is a tension because it’s new and fresh in your mind. As an artist it feels most exciting. But we’re also the most confident we’ve ever been releasing music. On our first album we weren’t scared, but it was our first time doing it. Now it’s on a whole new level. I feel like we have gotten better at everything that we do. We feel very much in our element.

Haim 2 © Reto Schmid

The album talks about fearlessness. Did it take a while for you to become fearless in the process?
Alana: For sure! When you think about Days Are Gone, I was 19 or 20, now I’m 28 years old. Even though I’m still growing to become the person I want to be, you grow up a lot in those years. They are very formative years in general. I look at myself back then and I see a little baby and now I feel like a woman. I’ve grown into a woman that I’m honestly very proud of. I feel like that really does show on that album in the subject matter lyrically. We opened up a lot more. We’ve always been very honest in our records, but in this one there are many things I personally have never spoken about and my sisters as well. It really came from feeling so confident in myself that opening up that much felt possible.

In the pre-releases I alone and Now I’m In It you speak about depression and its loneliness. You didn’t have that level of intimacy in the other albums, that can be scary and freeing. How was it?
Danielle: It was definitely freeing. It’s still amazing to see the response with a lot of our fans. We get messages about people seeking therapists after listening to the song. I can’t even describe how amazing that is. Just because I know how much it helped me and how much it continues to help me.

How does it feel that your record is called one of the most anticipated albums of the year in so many places?
Alana: It’s a big chunk of excitement. Making this record was such labor. We have so much to talk about. Every drop that we had in our bodies is in this record. I really do hope that when it comes out, it brightens up people’s days, it gives them a distraction. It lights up this quarantine. It’s super nice that people are excited, we are fucking stocked.

The writing and releasing process with this album felt very immediate. Starting with Summer Girl in July 2019, you released new songs over time even before there was talk about a new album coming up. It’s different to your other albums, except for the first one, where it was a little like that.
Danielle: The production process changed. With Summer Girl everything was so spontaneous that it formed the rest of the making the album. You can hear that, we wanted to be more raw. That’s what Summer Girl was. Because we felt that Summer Girl was truly the embodiment of how we wanted to make music at that moment, we tried to keep that feeling when we were making the rest of the album. There was no plan. We didn’t have all the music ready and planned to release it over a year. We had a song called Summer Girl, it was June, we thought, why not release it just now. And honestly, on our first album, that was kind of the same process. We had an EP, then got signed and did the same thing.


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Let’s talk about the title: You’re very outspoken about female empowerment. What are your experiences in this field?
Alana: Oh God, so many! We’ve got this song called Man from the Magazine on this record. This is the point that we address. We could have written a 45minute song about it. The second half of the song is talking about walking into guitar shops and with our friends, who are also women and also musicians, the second you say, “guitar shop”, there is a collective eye roll.

Danielle: Obviously, there are exceptions. There are shops that I love going to, where people are super nice. But I think generally, it’s kind of an experience every woman has at least one story about.

Alana: It’s the feeling that you need to prove yourself. When you walk in and you want to shop, “I’m a customer, I can play my fucking instrument.” Also, you get the obvious questions, “Are you shopping for your boyfriend?”.

As a band you must be getting even worse questions, female rock bands are still often seen as exotic or unusual.
Danielle: We named our album Women in Music Pt. III because we hate to be asked, “What does it feel like to be a woman in music?”. I mean, why? And as a rock band, for sure. There are rock festivals, especially in Europe, where we feel like we do have to prove ourselves. I don’t know if other bands feel that way, but we feel like we have to bring our “rockness” to the show, because it’s a rock festival and there’s not many other women on the bill, unfortunately. There should be! There are so many amazing women making rock music. But these festival bills are so not gender equal. It’s frustrating. You see articles about the festivals and people that run them and it’s crazy. What’s the excuse now? What the fuck!?

It’s work, but I have the feeling that women are more outspoken about it.
Alana: Women have always been outspoken. But at this time, I feel like it’s a safer place and makes me feel better just to know that other girls are going to do the same thing. We can all get together and have a beer and talk about what’s going on.

Danielle: We donated proceeds of some of our merch items to an organization called SoundGirls. They’re helping girls to get into the production and behind-the-scenes-roles. To me, that’s what I’m passionate about. It’s something we talked with Laura Marling about. Working with other women. The woman who masters our records is Emily Lazar and she’s connected to this cause, too. I want to learn more about production and it’s cool to know that there’s a space that is helping girls finding other people, who are interested in that. Ariel has spoken at one of their seminars, showing them some of his production tricks. That’s where I’m excited to help, wherever we can. 

Thank you very much for the interview!

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