V88

ARTICLE JOHN NORRIS

PHOTOGRAPHY INEZ & VINOODH

STYLIST CARLYNE CERF DE DUDZEELE

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HAIM

EXTRA CREDITS

Makeup Jeanine Lobell (Tim Howard Management)  Hair Jamis Pecis (D+V)  Manicure Jessica Washick for Deborah Lippmann (The Magnet Agency)  Lighting director Jodokus Driessen  Digital technician Brian Anderson  Studio manager Marc Kroop  VLM Print producer Jeff Lepine  Photo assistant Joe Hume  Stylist assistant Kate Grella Makeup assistant Setsuko Tate  Hair assistants Holly Mills, Tim aylward, Tailor Alberta Roc  Production Stephanie Bargas (theCollectiveShift)  Retouching Stereohorse Location Pier 59 Studios, New York  Catering Smile to Go

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HAIM

PHOTOGRAPHY INEZ & VINOODH
FASHION CARLYNE CERF DE DUDZEELE
TEXT JOHN NORRIS

THREE SISTERS FROM THE VALLEY ARE BRINGING BACK CALIFORNIA ROCK
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It’s brunch time on New York's Upper West Side, and three sisters from L.A. are feeling fine. Why wouldn't they be? The most-celebrated new band to emerge in 2013 is only twelve Manhattan blocks and a few hours away from yet another milestone: HAIM’s appearance as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, an honor nearly unheard of for artists just over a month after releasing a debut album. Only weeks earlier, HAIM learned of the gig in a very Portlandia way. 

“We found out about it when we were in Portland,” recalls big sister Este, over a Sicilian breakfast of scrambled eggs, tomato, and hummus, “and that night we were hanging out backstage, after the show, and in walks Fred Armisen. And he says, ‘I just wanted to say congratulations about SNL!’ At first we were like, ‘Oh my God. SNL must, like, fly cast members out to tell bands they’ve gotten on the show. That’s how they do it, that’s so brilliant!’” Well, not exactly. But SNL was a capper to a remarkable year for HAIM, filled with one jaw-dropping, wtf-is-this-really-happening-for-us? moment after the next. “Every week it’s something different,” explains Danielle, the middle Haim. “It’s been like the best surprise party ever.” 

The party got started in 2012, when Britain was the first to latch on to the trio. U.K. radio jumped on the singles “Better Off” and “Forever,” the band landed supporting slots on the tours of Mumford & Sons and Florence and the Machine, as well as props from tastemakers Zane Lowe and NME.com, and ultimately they won the BBC’s “Sound of 2013” prize. Why England? “I think they saw the music video of us in California, and there’s something exotic about it to them,” offers “Baby Haim” Alana.  

While there’s no shortage of SoCal in their sound, HAIM is less throwback than many of those Fleetwood Mac–evoking write-ups would suggest. Tom-driven rhythms and scat vocals contemporize the sound on their full-length Days Are Gone, released in September and occupying a spot on many 2013 year-end best-of lists. As for those who have painted them as latter-day Ladies of the Canyon–era Joni Mitchells? “I think that just comes from the fact that we have middle-parted long hair,” says Danielle. “I don't really hear it in our music.” 

“We really consider ourselves more of a rock band,” adds Este. “I mean, we love Joni, but we kind of started our band and said we’d never play acoustic guitars on stage. And we still haven’t.”

 “First Of Three” was the name that HAIM used to joke they should use, a reference to the opening slot they toiled in for the first five of their seven years as a band. San Fernando Valley teens long on talent and ambition but short on attention, they used to play gigs in obscurity around Los Angeles, at any place that would have them. “In L.A. you kind of live in a bubble,” explains Danielle. “We thought, Oh, maybe we’ll get signed this way. Maybe someone will see us after we play this show. But then after like hundreds of shows in L.A. playing for no one, we were like, Oh, shit.” In fact it was Danielle who first got a taste of the wider world, from 2008 to 2010, with gigs playing in Jenny Lewis’s and Julian Casablancas’s touring bands. “When I left L.A., I just saw how excited people were about music.”  

Now it’s HAIM generating the excitement, worldwide. Dues well paid, they are the first of three no more. In fact, the sisters launch their biggest U.S. headlining tour in April. And yet, insists “Mama Bear” Este, they still have an “opening band mentality.” 

“I don’t want to lose that,” she says. “Wanting to always perform at my best and wanting to win over people. I don’t ever wanna be complacent. I think you should always try and put on the best show. Fight for it, at every show.” 

If and when they do go home, it’s still to the Valley. As far as these alt girls are concerned, you can keep your Echo Park, your Los Feliz, your Williamsburg and Bushwick. “It’s got such a bad rap, but the Valley is like the cool place to live now,” says Alana, as we wrap up brunch. “We’ve got an Umami Burger! There’s a Joan’s On Third opening in the Valley. It’s like every time I go home, a whole cool new vibe is happening.” 

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EXTRA CREDITS

Makeup Jeanine Lobell (Tim Howard Management)  Hair Jamis Pecis (D+V)  Manicure Jessica Washick for Deborah Lippmann (The Magnet Agency)  Lighting director Jodokus Driessen  Digital technician Brian Anderson  Studio manager Marc Kroop  VLM Print producer Jeff Lepine  Photo assistant Joe Hume  Stylist assistant Kate Grella Makeup assistant Setsuko Tate  Hair assistants Holly Mills, Tim aylward, Tailor Alberta Roc  Production Stephanie Bargas (theCollectiveShift)  Retouching Stereohorse Location Pier 59 Studios, New York  Catering Smile to Go

MORE TO LOVE

SCANNERS READ THE FINE PRINT THAT\'S SO PUNK SCHOOL DAZE
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