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October 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM

L.A.’s hitmaking Haim sisters to visit Seattle | Concert preview

Haim

Haim — from left, Danielle, Alana and Este — performs live at Neumos Wednesday. The show is sold out. Photo by Tom Beard.

“I’m never too busy to talk,” says 27-year-old Este Haim, via telephone from New Orleans. “You know I love to gab.”

On this particular Monday, Este and her music-making sisters — Danielle, 24, and Alana, 21 — have lots to chat about. “Days Are Gone,” the debut LP from their group, Haim, just hit number one on the U.K. pop charts.

“Surreal,” she says. “It hasn’t quite computed yet. It’s a moment for us, for sure.”

Other bands might celebrate such a moment with some debaucherous rock-star antics — but not Haim. Instead, says Este, “we’re having a chill spa day. We haven’t had much downtime lately.”

That’s an understatement.

The Los Angeles natives, who’ll play to a sellout crowd at Neumos Wednesday, built anticipation for “Days” one infectious single at a time — first “Forever” (listen), then “Don’t Save Me” (listen), “Falling” (listen) and, most recently, “The Wire” (listen). Tours with Mumford & Sons and Rihanna elevated the public’s interest in the group to a fever pitch. Now, like those artists, they’re certified chart-toppers.

Haim’s heavily syncopated style strikes a balance between vintage songcraft and modern aesthetics, club-friendly bangers and waterworks-inducing ballads. Depending on the track, they evoke Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson and Salt-n-Pepa. The record’s production is so impeccable one can imagine audio engineering professors playing it for students as an example of how mainstream pop music should sound.

None of this is by design — for Este, Danielle and Alana, it’s equal parts dedication and destiny.

The sisters, who all sing, practically came out of the womb with instruments. As children growing up in the suburban San Fernando Valley, they performed in a cover band — endearingly named Rockinhaim — alongside their mother, Donna, and Israeli-born father, Moti.

“Our parents are musician hobbyists,” Este explains. “They love music, and that carried through [to us]. Their minivan didn’t have a CD or tape player, because they couldn’t afford it… so we [were raised] listening to L.A. radio. Every family trip we took, we’d blast K-Earth 101, the oldies station.”

By high school, they were developing original material and playing small-scale gigs. Next, Este went to UCLA to study ethnomusicology, finishing a five-year degree in a mere two years. Danielle, meanwhile, gained experience as a touring member of indie-pop group Rilo Kiley, and the backing band for Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas.

Haim’s current four-piece iteration, rounded out by drummer Dash Hutton, didn’t take shape until early 2012. Yet once the singles hit, everything snowballed.

Suffice it to say, Haim has gone prime-time.

“This past year has been a whirlwind,” Este says. “Traveling together, seeing the world, playing shows, meeting new people… it’s amazing.”

The familial bond the women of Haim share has helped them bypass the growing pains young musicians in the spotlight often face. And unlike, say, Oasis’ hard-living Noel and Liam Gallagher, they come off as approachable, earnest and well-adjusted, with little hint of sibling rivalry.

“We’re human, and we have our tiffs,” says Este, “but it’s never, like, all-out brawls. Some people might think we’re being insincere… that it’s this big public relations scheme, like, ‘these sisters love each other.’ What they don’t understand is that we really do love each other. This is how we were raised, and what we’ve always wanted.”

Haim, IO Echo
8 p.m. Wednesday at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; sold out (206-709-9442 or neumos.com)

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Haim, Los Angeles

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