If you haven’t heard of Hiatus Kaiyote yet, you’ve been in a cave for the past year! Managing to catch them during their sensational show at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn at the end of summer (see highlights from the show here), they left us with bated breath. What better validation can a group get from His Royal Badness Prince, where he recently tweeted their single “Nakamarra” with the simple directive of “Don’t Worry….Just Click” for his followers to watch their video!
Now with a mini release Live in Revolt, the group re-fashion “Rainbow Rhodes/Nakamarra,” and “Sphynx Gate/The World It Softly Lulls” in a live recording and it is simply Muphoric! It brings to the forefront the depth to their compositions and how they translate their sounds live. Live in Revolt is an experience, a culmination of the new with the old, with elements that are evanescent and impressions that are lasting. It’s beautiful.
Additionally, Muphoric Sounds was able to get some questions to the band during their US tour and we are eternally grateful for their insights and dedication to their craft. What becomes apparent as you read their responses is their honesty and integrity to the art, and a true appreciation to how far and how fast they have come! We are enjoying them immensely, and plan to continue on their sojourn.
Watch the video of Nai Palm (guitar, vocals), Paul Bender (bass, laptop and guitar), Perrin Moss, (percussion), and Simon Mavin (keys) performing Live in Revolt, which is also available for purchase on Amazon.
Q&A WITH HIATUS KAIYOTE
Muphoric Sounds: Where did you all get your start in music?
Perrin Moss: Well, when I was about 16, my cousin gave me my first records, which included DJ Swamp‘s never ending breaks. I started mixing these breaks with any record I could find in the house just getting a feel for mixing, which was probably the hardest way to start this adventure considering the turntables were belt driven. Eventually I got some direct dive turntables which made it a lot easier to mix and I stared making mix tapes, playing at parties and clubs when I was around 17-18-years-old. From then on, I began writing lyrics and making beats with friends. I formed a band and fronted that as an MC and kept the beat making on the go the whole time. The band eventually after 6 years together moved from the Blue Mountains (New South Wales) to Melbourne, Victoria, this is when the band broke up and I started drumming to expand on my production.
Paul Bender: Lots of gigs with various bands and studying.
Simon Mavin: Music and entertainment has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but prior to the meet with the Hiatus crew, I was heavily involved in the Melbourne music scene.
Muphoric Sounds: How did the meet come about?
Simon Mavin: We first played together in a share house that me and Perrin (and Bender later) were living in. The house was home to many different musicians in Melbourne and we setup a rehearsal studio there in an old shop front that got used a lot. Any hoo…the countless hours we spent in that room helped us to mold the sound we have today.
Muphoric Sounds: On your website, you speak of telepathy bringing you all together. How would you describe those connections?
Paul Bender: I think even though we have all grown up listening to a lot of different music to each other, there’s some kind of thread that connects our sound together. It sort of feels like our own musical language we are developing over time, stitched together by a myriad number of languages that have come before us. I think the central thing is the intention; there’s definitely a shared intention of the overall work we are trying to do together that means certain things just naturally occur and certain things unnecessary are discarded.
Muphoric Sounds: What is your process when creating music together? Do you work independently or come together to see how it all fits?
Simon Mavin: The process is different for each song. When Nai brings a tune in, she generally has an idea of the form and we all write our parts to the skeleton that is sketched out. We also jam ideas and flesh them out or work on things in the studio…or sit cross-legged in a holy forest and clap out our ideas…whatever works at that moment.
Muphoric Sounds: Is the poetry written beforehand, or does the music composition inspire the content for the songwriting?
Nai Palm: It goes both ways, there’s no formula. Inspiration can strike at any time; it is intangible.
Muphoric Sounds: Spirituality is a strong theme within your work. What would you say is Hiatus Kaiyote’s message?
Paul Bender: We try not to be preachy or force a definite message on people; that’s definitely something inherent in the lyrical aspects of the band. We like to create music that stimulates, and hopefully expands people’s imaginations. I definitely think we have a positive message and a lot of love for all kinds of people all over the world. That’s been one of the really beautiful aspects of playing shows and reaching people—having such a wide cross section of people getting down to what we are doing, across all sorts of ages, races, backgrounds and interests. It’s nice to feel like you are being a uniting force between people, if only for those brief moments of time.
Muphoric Sounds: For each of you: Who would your dream collaborations be with, and why?
Nai Palm: Takashi Yoshimatsu. He is a stunningly unique and rare composer from Japan.
Muphoric Sounds: Your music does not sound like what one would expect coming out from Down Under. How would you describe the music scene in Australia from when you were young to now?
Paul Bender: I think Australian music is having an amazing renaissance right now, and it really feels like people are approaching their music in a really fresh and sincere way — unhindered by industry concerns and narrow genre boxes. The underground in Melbourne is thriving and fascinating for sure. These things always flow in phases, and Melbourne and Australia in general is having an upwards swing in creativity and engagement with the wider world as an artistic hub.
Muphoric Sounds: What are your influences?
This is a little selection of what we love: Stevie Wonder, J Dilla, Michael Jackson, Oumou Sengare, Madlib, Aphex Twin, Teebs, Flying Lotus, Lightning Bolt, Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Erykah Badu, A Tribe Called Quest, Fennesz, Jaga Jazzist, Bjork, Wayne Shorter, Iggy and The Stooges, Shuggie Otis, Radiohead, Samiyam, Boards of Canada, Amon Tobin, Laneous and The Family Yah, Tom Dissevelt and Kid Baltan, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Chirgilchin, Debussy, Ligeti, The Step Kids, Thundercat, Cornelius… the classical music of India, the musical traditions of Africa (especially Mali), the people, animals and plants of the world, the infinite number of imperceptible forces flowing through the mysterious fabric of the universe that we exist in.
Muphoric Sounds: Who is largely responsible for the successes you are experiencing now? Who was instrumental in helping you to become an international sensation?
Paul Bender: It’s a long list. One of the first who really got the ball rolling was Taylor McFerrin, who is an amazing artist, signed to Brainfeeder, who we supported in Melbourne. Definitely Jeremy Sole and Anthony Valadez from KCRW in LA, Gilles Peterson, Animal Collective, The Dirty Projectors, ?uestlove, Erykah Badu, Prince… there’s so many people who helped get our music out there, thanks to all of you! But the guys who really made the difference, and who we couldn’t have done this without are our managers Si Jay Gould and Scott Barkham. They’re the ones actually steering the ship while we are below the deck tinkering around.
Muphoric Sounds: What are the songs on the album that strike personal chords, and why?
Nai Palm: Everything I write is deeply personal. Music is for therapy and emotional understanding of self. It’s a purging of intellect and metaphor.
Muphoric Sounds: What’s been the most mind blowing experience you’ve had so far on tour? Where has been your most memorable performance?
Simon Mavin: The show we did in London earlier this year was off the hook. It was a sold out show and most of the crowd was singing every song, even some of the instrument parts! An incredible experience for our first show in London
Muphoric Sounds: What are the lessons you are learning in this game that you can share with other aspiring musicians?
Perrin Moss: I think for anyone who is looking to make a career out of music has to be passionate about what they do and never give up, even if you lose all your music off a hard drive and can’t retrieve it, and your band breaks up that you thought would be the one. It’s never going to be easy when you first start slugging it and I don’t know when it does die down. Maybe never. When I really decided I wanted to drum, I stared drumming on the worst kit for around 6 or 7 hours a day for at least a year before telling anyone I played. This time that I had back then I will probably never have again. So my advice for any upcoming musicians would be to practice as much as you can while you can.
Paul Bender: The more things you can do “in house” the better. By “in house” I mean the people you have great personal relationships with, who are willing to put in their time and skill for little or nothing, people who love the art. Like a DIY attitude without being isolationist about it. Few can do it all on their own. Make the music you truly, truly love with full belief and sincerity in it. Online content! If people can’t find your music, videos, live clips, etc. on the Internet, you are doing something wrong.
Muphoric Sounds: Independent vs. Label. Now that you’ve had a taste of releasing music independently, what are the added benefits of being signed to Flying Buddah?
Paul Bender: The cool thing about Flying Buddha is that even though it’s an imprint of Sony, everyone involved has a very independent label mindset. Salaam Remi, who is running the label, is not a typical industry guy trying to force us into a certain box. He’s a creative being first and foremost and encourages us to experiment and take our time to make the music we are meant to make. His mindset is to find artists who are able to create great music without outside interference of big name producers and all that kind thing.
Muphoric Sounds: What artists are you listening to right now?
Perrin Moss: Sali Sadibe, Le Super Biton National De Segou, Group Bwazan.
Simon Mavin: Anslie Wills.
Paul Bender: Teebs, Stepkids.
Nai Palm: Emily King, Fka Twigs, Oumou Sangare, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Alice Coltrane, Kirkis, Yaw, Skip James and currently revisiting D’Angelo for the billionth time but I give myself a rest from it so it can be kinda new again.