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SPOTLIGHT ON HAIKU HANDS

Haiku Hands (Deluxe) is out now!

Image: Liz Ham.


Beloved Aussie trio Haiku Hands have given us all a treat, with the deluxe edition of their debut self-titled album. We caught up with band members Claire and Mie Nakazawa to chat about the album, their new single Shoot The Shot, their forthcoming tour and so much more!


Inspired by a letter penned by Amelia Earhart, Shoot Your Shot is another empowering cut from the group that navigates standing your ground and unapologetically doing thing on your own terms. The song joins Conclusions and alternate versions of Onset and Fashion Model Art on the re-release, which is available on limited edition classic black vinyl.


Across the record, Haiku Hands conceptually explore themes of technology, relationships, the absurd and social commentary. With an empowered attitude, the group have created their own unique sound, pairing house beats with satirical lyrics that hold a mirror up to society and provoke the listener into delving deeper into the topics present. Full of dance floor-bangers, the release captures the energy of the bands live show, and will have you on your feet busting out your most fashionable, model-like and artistic dance moves.


Kicking off at Gaytimes in Gembrook on February 19, the groups 2022 We Got Vinyl Tour will continue on to Sandstone Point, Adelaide, Sydney, Fremantle, Busselton, Melbourne and Brisbane, before wrapping up at Canberra's UC Hub on May 2o. Tickets are on sale now, and be sure to check out our gallery from Haiku Hands' last tour here!



Deluxe Edition of Haiku Hands! How exciting, four new songs and the album is available on vinyl. What prompted the decision to re-issue the album instead of sharing the new tracks on an EP/standalone release?


Claire: Because we released our album in the middle of the first corona virus lockdown, it was our debut album and we weren't able to tour it. Which I guess our trajectory had been leading to this point and that happened and the timing was difficult. We also did know that we were making vinyls, so it was I guess always part of our plan to re-issue. There were also some tracks that a couple of us desperately really wanted on the album and on the vinyl. So we were just like, let's do it this way. I don't know why [laughs], we had a bunch of reasons.




There's also this great new single, Shoot The Shot which is accompanied by a visual. I know the song was inspired by an Amelia Earhart letter, could you tell me a bit about the significance of that piece of writing and how it felt inspirational for you?


Mie: When Claire, Beatrice and Joel were writing together, they started this track without me. They had read that letter and I met up with them at lunchtime, I came a little bit later and met up at lunchtime, and we read the letter out. At first I didn't really know what the letter had to do with the song, but once we went back into the studio and listened to the song, it was quite triumphant, and I think that Amelia Earhart is triumphant and forward thinking for her time. I felt like the song, even though the lyrics don't really correlate so much with the letter that she wrote, it's kind of got the feeling of stepping out and just doing it. Yeah, I love her writing. It's so great.




I love the closing lyric, “it’s the sound of the starting gun” and it really is because even though Haiku Hands have been releasing music since 2017, your debut album only arrived in 2020. Actually firstly, how do you think taking the time to make your debut instead of pumping one out within a year of your first single ultimately give you the space to help realise the record we hear today?


C: A lot of the songs that are on the album we were playing live for two years or so. We kind of released our first song and then hit the road for three years and I guess we got to know what songs work really well live.


M: I kind of saw the album written in three little chunks. Manbitch, Not About You and Fashion Model Art were the first songs written and they were kind of like at the time, it's crazy how quick things change, but at the time I felt like those songs were quite bold and in your face. And then we started going into Mechanical Animal and some of the other more like darker yelly ones. We kind of got a bit weird there when we were on tour [laughs], got dark and weird. And then the last songs we wrote were more uplifting and light like Sunride and also Shoot The Shot. So they're like a lighter kind of uplifting and celebratory kind of vibe. I think for me, that's how they kind of came together. Like it was more of the mood of the band progressing as we were touring because we were writing when we were touring.


C: I agree with what Mie said, the last song or two and Shoot The Shot in particular was like energetically reflective of some of our experiences and relationship experiences we'd had internally as a band over the past three years. So yeah, I feel like the album is a chapter of that whole three years, it kind of covers that time for us.




The long-awaited debut is out in the world, and the re-issue, hopefully you're working on new music! What are the feelers for new music, what are you guys vibing at the moment.


M: Well I think we're still exploring, we're just like writing heaps of tracks. I think the method is write as many tracks and then pull out the best ones. I personally really like Conclusions and would love to go down that path a bit more. We're still feeling it out.




That's perfect, just enough of a hint to keep us going. You guys will be hitting the road on a national tour, finally! What can we expect from this show? I went to your Sydney gig last year and it was a ball of fun, how can you top it?


C: We are working on it! We want to tighten it up and add more choreography and yeah, I guess we're redoing the show to make it a new thing. Looking at our outfits and just a new incarnation of what you saw hopefully so it feels fresh. Brings some new tracks into the set that we haven't played previously. Hopefully it's quite a different experience.


M: Yeah, make it exciting for ourselves so it's exciting for everyone else.




That's a great way to look at it. What impact do you think live music has had on your career and how important is it to you in terms of making that in person connection with audiences who relate to your music?


C: I think that's a lot of what we've been about so far, we kind of are very live oriented. When we were writing our songs, we were thinking about what would this feel like to play at a festival like immediately. I kind of personally fell in love with playing live before starting the band, like as a guest performer, and I was like, 'oh, I need to start a band so I can keep performing live'. I live shows is how people discover us a lot of the time. Maybe not so much in the last year or so, but prior because that was our main avenue of reaching people, just playing and people would come across our show as a support act or at a festival and be like, 'who's this, this live show is awesome'. And then they'd look us up and we'd get a bunch of new followers after our live shows.That's how we connect with people, having that experience of going crazy together and sharing an experience together.


M: I was also thinking that none of us are massive on socials. Like we're all doing our visual art and other music stuff and not much time for social media. So the live performances feel so, so important for connecting with people. I think it's where we can give the most and where the audience feel the most. We can all kind of be free in that moment.




What lasting effects do you hope audience members walk away with after attending one of your performances?


M: I don't know, you tell us [laughs].




Off the bat It's a super fun, happy environment. I particularly remember you guys throwing the streamers into the crowd part. It's like the mental image that always pops to mind first. I think the performance leaves an energised feeling more immediately, and a sense of empowerment that lingers on long term.


M: Yeah. the streamers is a nice moment of connection with the crowd and like chaos.


C: When you said lasting effects, I thought oh that's interesting. There's immediate effects, like you said 'wow, that was fun' and stuff. And then lasting effects, I think it's important for there to be examples out there to be in people's minds about what's possible, like either for women or for just general self expression. So in terms of having a long lasting experience, it would be nice if people could be like, 'oh a year ago I went to a Haiku Hands gig and I saw this and that' and that you can like draw on that energy in that moment to be like, 'oh, I'm gonna let myself go like I did at that gig' or 'those girls up on stage were like so empowered and I'm gonna draw strength from that in this moment'. Just being able to be an example for an energy that people might want to also engage with themselves.



RAPID FIRE



Biggest musical influences?

M: Sister Act



Dream collaboration?

M: Oh, I was just listening to James Blake all of yesterday and I know it's a pretty weird match, but I love how he has collaborated with lots of different people. That would be mad.


C: Yeah, why the hell not!



Album that has had the most impact on you?

C: The one that came to me was Portishead, back in the nineties.



If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?

M: Ooh, that's hard. That's hard.


C: There's so many films out there. Good, but hard question.


M: Very hard. The movie that came to my head was Roma, which would be so funny with music Haiku Hands music [laughs], beautifully shot. Mexican. I think it's in black and white. Yeah.



Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?

C: I know Miley more than I know Hannah, so let's go with Miley.



What was the first song you loved to sing?

C: We liked The Lion Ling soundtrack [laughs] Hakuna Matata.



First concert you went to?

C: Well, as a kid, I was taken to John Williamson. But then as an independent 14 year old, I went to the Beastie Boys at Hordern.


M: I thought we went to Moby for the first concert.


C: I don't remember going to Moby.


M: I do, he had big drums and people with all these strings attached to them. I remember it, it was great [laughs].



Best concert you have been to?

C: I mean, the first one that came to mind was again, Portishead. And it wasn't a concert, it was a set at a festival in Parramatta of all places. It's not the best, but it's just one that came to my mind first. The crowd was so enthralled and like in between songs, you could hear a pin drop, everyone was like silently waiting for the next song. That was good because of like the feeling of togetherness with the audience and respect for the music.



First album you ever bought?

C: I remember buying Nelly Furtado when I went to New Zealand, when I was 14.


M: I bought AQUA.



If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?

C: Oh my God. Dancing Spice.


M: I was gonna say Claire's is Chaos Spice.


C: Oh yeah. Chaos Spice.


M: Mine is Monotone Spice [laughs].



Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?

C: We have a few, there's probably about 10 shows that are just whoa. The first one that came to mind just then was one in Iceland. There's so many actually, we've had so many amazing shows that are like, 'what the hell?'. Especially when it's unexpected. I say Iceland for me, or our Sydney warehouse show.


M: Our first Sydney show at The Lansdowne where all of our friends and our community came was really incredible. I woke up crying the next day.



An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry?

C: That's a big question. That's too big. I thought thought of Björk. I thought of Cardi B. I thought of Jay-Z for some reason or Kanye.


M: Wu-Tang Clan, Beyoncé.



What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?

C: Remember how to pace yourself and take time for yourself to check in with how you're really feeling and what you really want.


M: I would say remember that life works in waves.



The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

C: Two moments come to mind for me. I secretly wanted to do it for a while without letting myself think it. But there were two times when we were at two gigs and one friend said to me, 'oh, you wanna be up there on stage doing that? Don't you?' And I said, no. But I remember them saying it, because I was like, 'oh, I wonder if maybe I do'. And then another time another girlfriend said at a festival, 'you should be up there doing that'. I guess they could see that there was a part of me that wanted to. Those moments stay with me because it showed that there were people in the outside world reflecting that they thought I could, or maybe I should. And there was like permission from the outside before I even could admit it to myself. Yeah. I love that. So,


M: Mine was probably when I started jumping up and performing with Haiku Hands before I started writing music. So I think when I realised that I had to start writing music to keep on performing, that was when I realised that I wanted to be a musician.



Haiku Hands (Deluxe) is out now!