Over the past three years Haiku Hands have made themselves one of Australia’s leading live dance-pop acts. With a growing discography of certified bangers, this collective have hit the touring market HARD with one of the most electrifying and chaotically brilliant live shows. By bringing a whole lot of fun to the stage, they get up close and personal with their fans and create a party wherever they go.
Their self-titled debut album is out now, and hears them capturing the raw energy that shines through their live performances. With their boldly infectious singles ‘Not About You’, ‘Manbitch’, ‘Jupiter’, ‘Onset’ and ‘Fashion Model Art’ featuring Sofi Tukker bringing some of the huge singalong moments, there are some other golden gems hiding waiting to be uncovered like the riotous ‘Super Villain’.
But what this album also highlights is the diversity in their artistry with a few more stripped down and differently approached tracks like ‘Sunride’ and ‘Car Crash’ which you may not have expected. But it’s in these little nuggets that you get to understand their growth and the exciting direction that their journey has taken.
I recently chatted to Beatrice Lewis, Claire Nakazawa, and Mie Nakazawa from Haiku Hands about the importance of showcasing their diverse artistry through this record as well as exploring the creative process behind ‘Super Villain’ and ‘Car Crash’. Check it out BELOW;
THOMAS BLEACH: The release of your debut album has been a long time in the making. So with it nearly out in the world what do you want people to walk away thinking or feeling from listening to it?
MIE NAKAZAWA: Confused!
BEATRICE LEWIS: Like you want to put it on again!
CLAIRE NAKAZAWA: I listened to The Fugees ‘The Score’ the other day, and every time I listen I still hear new little things in it. I pray for our album to be like that where people just want to keep on finding little messages.
MN: And play it in 20 years time!
TB: This album has some big party anthems filled with fierce attitude that you’ve become well known for, but there are also some smoother tracks like ‘Sunride’ and ‘Car Crash’ that show a different side to you sonically. How important was that for you as a collective with this record?
BL: For me it was really important! I just know personally I have a real variety of emotions, and it’s nice for them to all be able to be expressed in a certain way. I think it’s also nice when you have an album that takes you on journey where you go through lots of different phases. I know that The Fugees do that for me. There’s so many different kind of feelings in that album, which I was definitely hoping for our album to have that as well.
CN: Another album that is like that for me is Beastie Boys ‘Hello Nasty’. Each song is its own little journey compared to other albums that just meshes everything into one. That album has little chapters, little experiences and you can go into the next. And I think that means that the songs feel more special.
TB: I think it could’ve been really easy for you to release just a full dance album, but instead you showed us so much more than that.
MN: I think we are so much more than that, and our musical tastes are so much more than that. I personally listen to mostly down-tempo music, so I don’t think it would represent us that well if it was just dance music.
TB: ’Super villain’ has been a favourite of mine in your live set for a little while now, and it’s a big standout on the album. So can you explain the creative process behind this song?
BL: At the very beginning we were hunting down beat makers and emailing friends trying to find sounds to write over. After a little time we started to get sent beats which was a real treat. We had some beats sent through from Ninja Tune who are the publishing house that MachineDrum are on. So we got some from Travis, and that particular one was written with this wife Lexi who we got to meet while we were in the states, and is a total legend.
It was one that when it came on everyone just got up and started dancing. I remember it being a really quick song to write, but the adventure after was finishing it as there were a few parts of the track that really needed time to finalised and re-recorded.
TB: I remember when I first saw this live I was guessing what the titles were called as they were unreleased, so I called this one ‘Fuck This Shit’, and I feel like it would’ve been a really appropriate representation of 2020 *laughs*.
BL: *laughs* We totally should’ve called it ‘Fuck This Shit’! It’s funny because you sometimes have working titles for stuff. Like, ‘Manbitch’ was originally called ‘Work On It’, and then the name of the ‘Super Villain’ track was ‘Horse Claw’. That was the OG name of the beat, it was so funny.
CN: It’s honestly the best song to perform live! We usually jump into the crowd for it, and singing it at places like Groovin The Moo where there are all these young people who may have never been to a live show before is so fun as they are just grinning and having the best time while you’re screaming “fuck this shit” in their faces.
TB: ’Car Crash’ is another standout to me with it’s guitar riff foundations and it’s empowering and supportive lyrics. So can you tell me the creative process behind this song, cause it must’ve been a little different to ‘Super Villain’?
CN: That was one of the very first tracks we wrote with Joel Ma. It was this rainy melancholic Melbourne day and Joel picked me up from the airport and asked me what we were going to write about. I was unsure, and then I received a phone call from this girl and he was like “who was that?”. So I told him about my friend and he was like “she sounds really interesting. Let’s use her for inspiration for this song”. So we buckled down and wrote that whole song in a day and then he spent that night mixing the vocals.
I’m not a singer or anything so it was really vulnerable doing the vocal takes as I didn’t know what I was doing. We tried to re-record it two years later as I’m a stronger singer now, but the original takes just sounded more honest and raw. So the vocals you hear on the album are the ones from the original demo.
TB: What is your favourite lyric from the song?
MN: I think singing “you’re fucking awesome” is pretty cool!
CN: I really like; “whatcha been up to hanging with those guys? Are you sure they know you, have they got goodness in their eyes”. I think it just says a lot about the situation
TB: You’ve been playing some of these songs from the album in your live set for three years now. So what song is the oldest track you’ve had that made the record?
CN: I’m pretty sure that was the first song we ever wrote!
BL: Yeah ‘Jupiter’ and ‘Manbitch’. They were OG’s!
TB: And what is the newest song that made the cut?
BL: Probably Sunride!
TB: ’Fashion Model Art’ has been another one that has been in your set for a while, but the final version saw Sofi Tukker jumping on for some vinyl production tweaks. Why did they feel like the perfect people to fine tune the vision for this song?
BL: They just loved the track!
CN: They were really drawn to the track on tour when we would perform it. I could sense their energy when they spoke to us about it.
BL: I think personally, Tukker’s production style just really suits that track. We were going to write something with them, but we thought it was a really cool idea to work on this track together as it kinda saw our two sounds coming together and intersecting, as we are actually quite different.
TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid fire questions. You ready?
TB: The emoji that best describes our debut album is…
CN: The one with the eye arrows going in…
TB: Our pre-show ritual involves…
TB: The worst text message replier from the group is…
TB: A signature Haiku Hands drink would be…
CN: Tea! And Hot chocolate!
TB: If we could have one person become an honorary member of Haiku Hands it would be…
‘Haiku Hands’ is out now!