HAIM The Rhythmatists

HAIM The Rhythmatists
Photo: Tom Beard
Haim's music could've easily been just three women making beats. The Los Angeles trio comprised of sisters — Este, Danielle and Alana Haim — were raised playing behind a kit from a young age.

"My dad is a drummer and drums were our first instrument we played growing up," explains Danielle Haim. "We always had a drum set in our living room and my dad taught us all once we could hold our heads up. My dad is very into drum-centric music, like Latin and funk, which is what we grew up listening to. I think that has a lot to do with our rhythms."

When their first single "Forever" dropped early last year, the sharp chorus hook certainly grabbed your ear, but mostly because it rode a jolting rhythm. Allowing the drums to dictate is part of what makes Haim so fresh and so addictive. The rhythms are a perpetual highlight on their debut album, Days Are Gone. And while they have a full-time skinsman named Dash, it was Danielle who drummed, as well as sang and played lead guitar, on the album. Mostly out of necessity.

"Drums were my first instrument, but once I picked up the guitar at the age of eight I became obsessed with it and drums just became a hobby," she says. "And then I just found myself playing drums. With Julian Casablancas' tour, he needed a percussionist. When we were forming the band in 2007, I was very focused and in love with playing the guitar. I never thought I'd play the drums. It's funny in recent years I've played drums a lot."

Days Are Gone features some of the sharpest songwriting, slickest production (courtesy of in-demand co-producers Ariel Reichshaid and James Ford) and most inventive arrangements in pop music today. It certainly lives up to the hype — and there is a ton of it.

The album caps a hectic year-and-a-half for the trio. Once they released "Forever," the band's profile went from unknowns to everyone's favourite new pop group. The list includes Mumford & Sons, Rihanna, Florence & the Machine and Vampire Weekend, all of whom invited them on tour. But one unlikely fan had the gall to ask them to be his band.

"At Sweet Life in DC last year, A$AP Rocky played," Danielle recounts. "He was the only person we wanted to meet because we were really big fans of his mixtape. And when we met him, he said, 'How serious are you guys about your band?' At the time not much was really happening, though we were pretty serious. But he said, 'I really want an all-girl band and you guys are dope on the drums.' It was kind of funny. And then we saw him a couple months later and ended up singing on [Long.Live.A$AP]."

Haim know to never say never though.

"[Hip-hop production] is the ultimate dream. We'll make a beat out of organic sounds, like hitting a wall or tapping a glass or whatever. And then we'll freestyle over it. My dream is to make beats on the side."