@ the Love Supreme Jazz Festival
5 July 2015
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Hiatus Kaiyote is the sound of serendipity. Every so often a band
comes along that captures the collective imagination, a band that
has all the essential elements in place to become a musical movement.
The music of Hiatus Kaiyote strikes the perfect note merging poetry
and polyrhythms. On the band’s debut album Tawk Tomahawk it’s
as if the vast desert landscape has opened up, borrowing ingredients
from far-reaching lands to concoct a distinctive flavour that is
the essence of all its parts. Each song whispers of delicious, ancient
The four band members suggest that it was fate that brought them
together through a series of coincidences in their native Melbourne,
Australia. Singer songwriter Nai Palm was the gravitational force
that crystallised the vision for Hiatus Kaiyote’s brand of
future soul. “I always knew I wanted to be in a band,
but I never knew it could be my own conversation,” she
says. Her performance with a pink nylon-stringed guitar at a small
Melbourne club inspired bass player Paul Bender to seek her out.
One year later, the two began to collaborate on compositions that
felt intuitive. Bender brought multi-instrumentalists Perrin Moss
and keyboardist Simon Mavin into the equation and the electric,
organic nature of Hiatus Kaiyote was set in motion. By chance, two
of the four musicians shared a flat and the others lived nearby.
From their first session, the band members shared a sort of telepathic
connection. Hiatus Kaiyote played their first gig at the Bohemian
Masquerade Ball among sword swallowers, fire twirlers and gypsy
death core bands - a setting that suited their eclectic nature.
Nai Palm had actually worked as fire dancer in Melbourne before
she focused on music. The musician Taylor McFerrin came across Hiatus
Kaiyote on tour in Australia, and soon the word spread like wildfire.
“Everyone who has come in contact with it has promoted
it,” says Nai Palm. “Questlove and Erykah Badu
have gone out of their way to promote the band. There’s been
so much support from the community of musicians locally and internationally.
As a musician that’s what it’s about.” Stereogum
singled out Hiatus Kaiyote as a “Band to Watch.” Gilles
Peterson named them the Breakthrough Artist of 2013. Hiatus Kaiyote
first released “Tawk Tomahawk” on their own last year
and are now re-issuing the album on the Sony Masterworks’
imprint Flying Buddha.
Hiatus Kaiyote has a style that can’t be easily pinpointed.
Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Flying Lotus, traditional flamenco
and music from Mali and Colombia have influenced the group. “You’re
eradicating labels of barriers,” says Nai Palm. “The
words are important, but the way they’re shaped makes them
malleable for the listener to absorb. How you proceed involves a
larger activity and I love that.”
Hiatus Kiayote is preparing to tour far and wide, as they continue
to write new music constantly. “What I’ve learned
is the power of sharing your story with people,” says
Nai Palm. And there is so much more to share…