Their Forever EP helped make them one of the year’s most buzzed-about bands and they’re MTV’s newly minted Artist to Watch, but smart money says you’re still not sure how to pronounce Haim. That should all change, though, on September 30.
That’s when these 21st-century Sisters With Voices — Danielle, Este and Alana — are set to drop their much-anticipated Polydor/Columbia debut, Days Are Gone.
And when MTV News sat down with them earlier this month, a day after they nearly made ruins of the East Village’s Webster Hall with a raging, headlining performance, the trio made it clear why you should know their name. Not least because two years after they played for four people (two of those fans were their parents) at CMJ in New York, they’re now selling out venues in the Rotten Apple.
“I think we were just drawing from the last seven years of our lives, but also our entire lives,” laughed Este, 27, who was doing her best Stevie Nicks in a wide-brimmed black hat and bewitching black tunic. “I think the record’s kind of just the summation of everything we’ve gone through and everything we’ve been listening to.”
The number seven has special meaning for the girls too. They started writing songs together seven years ago after dissolving Rockinhaim, a cover band they fronted with their parents. And there was a brief (mostly forgettable) foray into pop/rock girl-groupdom for Este and Danielle called the Valli Girls. More lucky #7s: Haim played their first show on July 7, 2007.
By 2008, they’d penned current single “The Wire,” demonstrating a knack for composing catchy songs fueled by their up-and-down-the-dial approach to listening to the radio — hopping from classic rock to top 40 to hip-hop. (As kids growing up in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, mom and dad’s car had no cassette or CD player, so oldies station KRTH 101 often ruled.)
If the Forever EP showed them “how much fun recording could be,” it also cleared the path for the making of Days. “With [producer] Ludwig Goransson, when we recorded with him, it was so much fun,” Este recalled. “And he was so supportive of us and opened our eyes to so many things about production that we didn’t really have the balls to do.” She reflected before declaring with a giggle, “Now, we’re super ballsy! Nothing but balls.”
“Cojones!” a varsity jacket-clad Alana chimed in.
“Huevos,” Este added before sisters Danielle, 24, and Alana, 21, alerted her that she’d veered from balls to breakfast.
As for that hazy album title, Danielle told MTV News that the group were going to go the eponymous route but ditched it after scanning the track list and realizing that “Days Are Gone” was the perfect metaphor for their many missed album deadlines. “A lot of people actually wanted us to hand in the record a lot earlier than we did because the Forever EP, came out over a year ago,” she said. “But it wasn’t right and…”
“And the days kept going by,” Alana continued, finishing her thought.
“It became a [running] joke,” Este added.
With just weeks to go before its download date and after all of the pushbacks, Haim say they’ve made the record they sought to make. Now you’ll just have to learn how to pronounce their name.