HAIM is the pop-rock band made up of sisters Este (bass guitar and vocals), Danielle (guitar and vocals), and Alana Haim (guitar, keyboard, and vocals). Growing up in a musical household, the Haim sisters learned how to play instruments when they were young, eventually forming a family cover band with their parents called Rockinhaim. In 2007, the sisters formed HAIM, mostly playing smaller gigs around the Valley. After Danielle got recruited to play guitar on tour with Jenny Lewis and Julian Casablancas, the sisters got more serious about the band. They released their first album Days Are Gone in 2013 and were nominated for best new artist at the 2015 Grammy Awards.
Their second album, Something to Tell You, was released in 2017, debuting at No. 7 on the Billboard 200. Their third album, Women in Music Pt. III, was released last month to rave reviews—Pitchfork calls it "far and away their best."
Recorded remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, NPR's Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton talk to Este, Danielle, and Alana about playing in a band with their parents, handling sexist questions from rock journalists, and their tour of delis across the United States, which was interrupted by the pandemic.
Then, they take on an Ask Me Another challenge where they identify famous songs based only on the drum parts.
Alana, On Being In A Band With Their Parents
"Rockinhaim started when I was 4, so I could only really pick up drumsticks at that point. And for me, I feel like looking back, I thought, 'Wow, we were so amazing.' I have this very like rose-colored glasses kind of vision about Rockinhaim, like how we were the best band of all time. And my parents sent us some old videos of our gigs at a charity event and we were awful. Everyone in the audience deserves a medal for supporting us during that time because we were... it was bad.
Danielle, On Starting HAIM With Her Sisters
"I was nearing the end of high school, and I had this inclination to want to stay in L.A. and just try and play music. And so I think at that point, I kind of roped my sisters in. I was like, 'You know what, we should really start a band and start actually writing music.' ... My parents were not songwriters, they never wrote music. So, we were just playing covers of songs that they grew up on and songs that they loved. So, they didn't know how to write songs, they just encouraged us to. And we just decided, let's try to gig around town and see what happens. And we did that for five years until we got signed."
Este, On Sexist Questions from Journalists
"It happened not but like a month ago when we were doing promo from the record, and someone, a male rock journalist, asked me who played that funky baseline on 3AM. ... So you know, of course, I'm going to try to make it as clear as possible: I played bass on that song and every song on the record. And every song on the record before that, and the record before that. And I play everything live."
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