Our interview with Haim

“30 million alien Princes taking over the whole world? I’d like to live there…”

Here are a few reasons why we really like Haim: 1. They’re funny. 2. In fact they’re really funny. 3. They make nice songs. 4. Did we mention how they’re funny? The three sisters – Este, Danielle, and Alana – are from Los Angeles and have, over the course of 2012, become serious Hot Musical Property (or, “Pop-erty”, if you like) thanks to their brilliantly loose-limbed music that draws on Fleetwood Mac, The Go-Gos, Prince, hip-hop, Kate Bush and a pile of other wonderful things. A few days ago they came in to the Spotify office and played three songs (one of which we’ve been sworn to secrecy over) and now we’d like them to live here. Only we’ve not told them that yet.

You began your musical life playing in a band with your mum and dad. Does that mean they were hippies?
Este: Mum was more of a hippy; she loved folk music like Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell. All the Joan’s, basically.
Alana: My parents loved music – there was never a silent moment at home. We always had the radio or a record on and there were drums and instruments everywhere.
Danielle: My dad grew up around drums, so he thought it was very important part of our development!

Was he in a family band?
A: No! He would have loved to have been though. Grandma played harmonica. Everyone in our family plays harmonica, but we’ve not witnessed it as they are, basically, deceased.
D: Apparently, they would sit around the dinner table and play.
E: I’m not sure how appealing that is as an idea, to be honest.

It might have been beautiful…
E: It might have been, yes.
D: We’re the first generation of the family bands. Our kids will be Haim 2.0.

What music played in the house as you were growing up?
E: Well, every night after dinner we would do the dishes to disco radio. My mum was the best disco dancer ever. She was the girl who’d be in the middle of the circle getting cheered on.
B: There was Diana Ross, Sister Sledge, Chic…

Basically, any Nile Rodgers production?
E: Yeah! All those records worked for her. She loved Gloria Gaynor and she idolised Donna Summer as her name was Donna.
D: Dad listened to Spanish radio. He loves Spanish and Latin influenced radio. He loved Maná and Santana and Celina González.
A: We’re obsessed with her. We’re huge, huge fans!

Why Celina?
A: Her story is a lot like ours. She was in a family band, and then she toured with her husband driving the bus. Her music and her stage presence were so amazing.
E: She had such style; if she were alive today she’d be one of the biggest stars in the world.

Did you ever bring any music home that your parents just hated?
E: Oh God yes! The 90s were a difficult time for us. We loved Limp Bizkit, Korn and Puddle of Mudd.

D: We loved Papa Roach too. In fact, we still love them.
A: Our parents were on the right track. We’d bring rap home and they didn’t much like the harsh language on The Chronic, or from Eminem, but we still love those records so much.

Let’s cut to the chase, what five records couldn’t Haim exist without?
A: We couldn’t live without Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Paul Simon’s Graceland. Tom Petty’s Damn The Torpedoes and Destiny’s Child, The Writing’s On The Wall. That is a big one – that changed our lives.
E: We couldn’t live without Prince’s Controversy. I think that might be the greatest record ever made. I aspire to make a record one iota as cool and as fun as that or Purple Rain. Also, Prince live is the most amazing performer ever. Hit after hit after hit all while wearing a gold sparkly jumper? I’m sure he’s an alien.

Hopefully his alien family will come and take over the world soon…
E: 30 million Princes taking over the whole world? I’d like to live there.

Does the perfect song exist?
E: I think Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back In Town is perfect. So is John Cougar Mellencamp’s Jack & Diane, although that has some questionable lyrics in it…
D: “Suckin’ on chili dogs outside the Tastee Freez…”!
E: Yeah, but when that song, or Tom Petty’s American Girl comes on they give you that great nostalgic rush and you have to jump around!

What new albums have your ear right now?
The Kendrick Lamar album is so good – The Recipe is the new LA anthem, so thanks Kendrick! We love Azealia Banks and Jessie Ware too.

What five records would you fight your way to the decks to play at a drunken Christmas party?
D: Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Jackson 5’s I Want You Back.
A: The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York – that’s a serious party jam.
E: Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You and Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song. That’s such a gem…

Are you Spotify users?
E: There are times when you’re at a party and you need a song right then. That’s when Spotify’s great – it’s the world of music in your hands! It’s the best DJ tool – if the DJ isn’t playing the hits they’re right there on your phone.
D: It’s the most powerful tool in music right now. I love Spotify, it’s really easy to use and it has an amazing selection. I haven’t found a single thing that’s not on there. And that’s from the heart.
A: When Haim stop touring we’d like to come and work at Spotify. Earn some money.

What music could I play that would be guaranteed to start an argument on your tour-bus?
D: Kenny G. That would start a war.
E: I actually think Kenny G has swag. It takes a lot to get up there armed only with a sax.

Finally – crucially – what’s your favourite noise?
E: I love the sound of breaking glass.

Also a great tune…
E: I was trying to catch you out!
D: We have a fart machine on the tour bus, which we like to use a lot. My favourite sound is crystal glasses, like when you’re cheering someone. Maybe that just means I like to party.
A: When I’m in the van I love the sound of silence.

Is there ever any?
A: One can dream! One can write about it in her diary…