The three sisters of Haim didn’t release any music until they’d been a band for five years, spending much of that time honing what’s now a must-see live show. On “Falling,” the first track on the group’s consistently catchy debut album “Days Are Gone,” they sing, “No one’s ever enough.”
Conclusion: These are women with great expectations.
“We definitely do have high standards, and we’re definitely not afraid to say no,” says Alana Haim by phone with a laugh. “I think before the record came out a lot of people around us were kind of pressuring us to turn it in, saying things like, ‘Your time is passing,’ and ‘You really need to turn it in.’ I’ve never been so comfortable saying no. I was always like, ‘Sorry, it’s not happening.’”
They’re obviously doing something right. Shortly after an instant-classic set at Lolla 2013, Haim’s “Days Are Gone,” featuring irresistible singles like “The Wire” and “Don’t Save Me,” debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200. The band went on to perform on “SNL,” and its sold-out show Saturday was moved to the Riviera to accommodate demand. When you have time to spare, pull up YouTube and watch live footage of the California natives making other bands look terrible by comparison.
At 22, keyboardist/rhythm guitarist/percussionist/singer Alana is the youngest of the Haims, but she, singer Danielle (25) and bassist Este (28) are a cohesive unit. “It’s always three against one, no matter what,” she says. “I always have a posse with me, and it’s kind of hard to come up on three sisters because we [have] very strong opinions.”
What goes through her head about Lolla 2013: “It was my first time in Chicago ever. I was the last one that could experience Lollapalooza, because both my sisters Este and Danielle went to Lollapalooza for three years. ... I was too young; my parents wouldn’t let me go with them. They would always come back from Chicago and be like, ‘You missed out. Sucks for you.’ And I’d be like, ‘Nooo! One day I’ll make it to Lolla.’ And when I was there it was the most epic festival I’ve ever been to in my whole life.”
If she was always as reflective as the songs on “Days Are Gone”: “No, we’ve never been a very reflective group. I don’t know what it is or if it’s like the universe, but when all three of us are together the stars align and the craziest [bleep] happens. Over the past six or seven years there’s been so many mind-blowing things that we always talk about it and we’re just so mind-blown.
“When I think about 2007, I was in high school and all I wanted to do was go on tour and do what musicians do. I was learning about music in high school and I was like, ‘[Bleep] this; I want to actually do it. I don’t want to learn about it anymore. I just want to do it.’ And then I graduate, and we put out the “Forever” EP and the past few years we’ve been touring. It’s the most mind-blowing thing of all time.”
A crazy story she hasn’t gotten to tell: “Oh, God. There’s like a million. I just had a crazy thing happen to me: I was in an army surplus store [in North Carolina], and the owner of the store just told me that the Rolling Stones died 20 years ago, and the Rolling Stones we see now are puppets. That’s kind of crazy. I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to leave the store now. That’s kinda creepy.’ Weird [bleep] like that happens all the time.”
Something uncool about her or Haim overall, which has an aura of cool surrounding it: “There’s so much uncool [bleep] that I do on a daily basis. First of all, thank you for saying that there is an element of cool because that just gave me a lot of confidence. Awesome.
“Second of all, I don’t know. I’m like the clumsiest person of all time. My left foot buckles. I physically can’t walk properly. I trip and fall all the time. I have bruises and scrapes on my knees. I also didn’t have a great fashion sense up until high school when Este and Danielle were like, ‘You’re going to go to high school now. You’ve really got to pick up your game, or you’re not going to have friends.’ I wore moon boots every day to school, but they weren’t moon boots. You know how ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ wears moon boots? I had ski boots that looked like ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ moon boots that I wore every day, and I also wore long earrings, which was really weird.”