Exclusive Interview: Hiatus Kaiyote Talks US Debut + 3/22 NYC Show @ LPR


We caught up with Hiatus Kaiyote just before their NYC debut tomorrow at LPR. Get to know where they came from, where they’re going, and what they’d fit in their pockets from Australia to bring to us if they could. Details on the March 22 show on our event page.

Giant Step: We are too excited for your performance on the 22nd. How does it feel to be amidst your US debut?

Hiatus Kaiyote: The response we have had so far in the US has totally blown us away. To come all the way across the other side of the world and to receive so much love and support for what you do is mindblowing. Especially when we are so early in our journey as a band. So far, Austin, DC and Chicago have been very very good to us.

GS: You’ve got some heavy hitters swooning over you. What was it like when you found out you’d won Erykah and Questlove’s favor?

HK: It was pretty ridiculous. It totally goes without saying that we have absolute mountains of respect for both those artists. It’s an incredible honor to be supported by musicians who have such an impact on the way we play and what we create. It’s also daunting and overwhelming at times to process that kind of thing. I mean, we are very critical of what we do, which is an important part of developing artistically, but I know none of us feel like we are on that level. It’s been a fast two years since we’ve been together, and there is so far for us to go before we reach that height of artistry. But we’ll keep doing what we do and hope that others will join us on our sonic endeavors, even if we are raw as fuck occasionally.

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GS: We’ve seen Nai Palm do her thing solo and it’s kind of out of control (in the best way). What can folks expect with the full band? What’s your live show like?

HK: Well, firstly, there’s three more people on stage going apeshit for one thing. I’d say one other key difference is that a solo Nai Palm show gets a bit more teary and “aaawww”-ish, and a Hiatus Kaiyote show gets a bit more stank face and “woooooooo” vibes. Y’know? It’ll definitely be louder, more confusing, more lush, and more more.

GS: Tawk Tomahawk is an incredible work and such a unique project. How’d you conceive your sound and were there any influences? What was the creation process like?

HK: I’m not sure if it would be even vaguely possible to pinpoint one key influence in the record, as it is such a meeting of minds, where each mind is such a vast combination of influences… I think really the key inspiration was the songs themselves, what Nai had already written when we started the band. It was really a process of imagining what every song needed in terms of sounds and a feeling, so the methods are quite different for each track. I think the underlying theme is also the intention, that we wanted to create something that really drew people in to different worlds.

GS: What can folks expect from Hiatus Kaiyote in 2013? What are your plans?

HK: Lots of recording! And lots of touring! We’ll be in Europe in June/July and the US again in August/September. Nai will almost certainly get more tattoos. Simon will continue to indulge his insatiable synth fetish. Bender will finally confront his fear of locusts. Perrin (aka Clever Austin) will be working on finishing what looks to be an absolutely incredible album, so watch out for that. (This is Bender by the way, Perrin is way too humble to say something like that, but seriously, this shit is RIDICULOUS.)

GS: Pretend you can fit anything you want in your pocket. If this were the case, what would you bring (that you normally wouldn’t be able to) from Australia to share with the lovely people of NYC?

HK: Without question, our three multidimensional polyrhythmic backing vocalists Loreli, Silent Jay and Jace Excell. And Laura and Kirkis’ new kitten. And Kirkis. And all our other friends. And an espresso from Ray’s in Brunswick.