“Have you got the megaphone in there?” If there was ever a question to sum up Haiku Hands, it’s this one. Two days after their breakout performances at The Great Escape in May, we meet the band outside a pub in North London and they seem to be looking for one of the props that might as well be an extra member in the band.
When we first saw them over that heady weekend, they blew us away. “It was a masterclass in creating energy on stage and letting it permeate throughout the whole room. Think about the pure pop attitude of someone like Charli XCX, and combine it with the energy and swagger of a troupe like NYC hip-hop legends The Beastie Boys and you’re getting the idea.”
At the shows they busted moves and then smashed through genres, and with new song ‘Squat’, they’ve done it all over again. We spoke to the Australian trio about collaborating with True Vibenation on the new track, the realisation of being in a pop band and their insanely fun live shows.
When did you write the new single?
‘Squat’ was originally written by Vuli from True Vibenation [who feature on the track]. The first time he DJ’ed an early sketch of the track at a warehouse party in Sydney, Claire heard it and immediately knew we should work on it together. Later that night at the after party at Claire’s house Vuli was given an artwork of Mie’s and on the back of it they signed “We will do squat together and make the world get low”.
We then started collaborating on ‘Squat’ and performing it at festivals. When we play it on stage together it’s ridiculous fun as there can be up to 10 of us and heaps of colour and chaos and horns and mic swapping and, of course, squatting.
Who were some big influences when you were making this one in the studio?
True Vibenation said that ’it was really a nod to Afrobeat, Dancehall and the rising Afro-electronic scenes that we’ve seen growing around the world’. We agreed that it’s about being at gigs and seeing people absolutely loving the music but standing still and straight. We thought we need a song that’s basically permission for everyone to get down and crazy.
When Haiku Hands formed, how did you settle on this sound?
Claire: We all picked a load of tracks where we felt like we met in the middle. It just happened to be this really fun sound that we settled on.
Beatrice: The first track we did together with one of our collaborators, Joel, was ‘Jupiter’ – like this disco sound that none of us had ever done before. We were like, what the hell is this? Is this disco? Is this funk? I had one of the happiest moments in my life listening to that song. I was driving Claire to the airport, and the sun was coming through the window and it felt so good. We have so many different songs though, and they all feel like they wanna be singles…
Mie: It took the pressure off us though, as we were able to just totally experiment with whatever we had.
What are recording sessions like for you lot?
Claire: We live quite a way away from each other – Melbourne and Sydney. But I think it’s quite good to have that intense time together.
Claire: Recording sessions for us are pretty crazy. We’ll be bouncing off the walls one minute…
Mie: …then lying on the floor the next!
Beatrice: We go through the whole spectrum of emotions in one session.
A lot of work has clearly gone into this show, but what was the first gig like?
Beatrice: When we first played live we had such a great time, and I said to Joel ‘they’re singing all the choruses back to us. Have the songs leaked?. And he said, ‘Well yeah, you’re writing pop songs!’ I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m in a pop band!’
“I was like ‘Oh my god, I’m in a pop band!’”
What’s been the best thing to happen to you this year?
We’ve had an epic year! Our first international tour, we released the first song we ever wrote ‘Jupiter’, did over 50 shows, got awesome onesie’s to wear on stage and just generally had a really good time.
What do you want people to be like at your live shows?
B: Just to get a bit raucous and intense. It’s a place to let it all out in a healthy way and in a safe space.
Sum up your live show in 3 words…
What. Is. Happening.
See Haiku Hands live:
Simple Things Festival, Bristol (20 Oct)
Komedia, Brighton (22 Oct)
Corsica Studios, London (23 Oct)
Oporto, Leeds (24 Oct)
The Mash House, Edinburgh (25 Oct)
Think Tank Underground, Newcastle (27 Oct)
Record Junkee, Sheffield (28 Oct)