Neo soul gangster outfit, Hiatus Kaiyote

Neo soul gangster outfit, Hiatus Kaiyote

Cenk Erdem
Neo soul gangster outfit, Hiatus Kaiyote Some critics describe their music as neo soul, some critics talk about their brilliant synthesis of jazz and R&B but the group itself describes their style as a “multi-dimensional, polyrhythmic gangster outfit” and they confess that they have no idea where the direction of their music might go. 

Australian quartet Hiatus Kaiyote just scored a Grammy nomination for best R&B performance for their song, “Breathing Underwater” for the 58th Grammy awards that will be presented on Feb. 15.

The band previously scored another best R&B performance Grammy nomination in 2013 for the song “Nakamarra” and they performed at Salon IKSV in Istanbul last autumn. After a little break, the band and their amazing vocalist, Nai Palm, are on the road again for live performances starting with a Los Angeles gig. 

Delivering their original style worldwide with their latest album “Choose your Weapon,” Melbourne’s quartet Hiatus Kaiyote keeps on recording new materials with Nai Palm on vocals and guitar, Paul Bender on bass, Simon Mavin on keyboards/ synths and Perrin Moss on drums. The singer Palm believes that listeners can go through a slew of emotions while listening to their music. 

You describe your band as multidimensional, polyrhythmic gangster music; so can we expect any kind of dramatic shift in your style in any time?

We all listen to lots of different music while we are on the road and while we are at home, I think we are all ready to head home and listen to and work on new stuff individually so we can bring new things to the band but we have no idea where the direction might go... 

You made a great connection between you and R&B listeners through your Grammy nominated song “Breathing Underwater.” Are there any upcoming ideas related to some more R&B work? 

Like I said in the previous question, we try not to have preconceived ideas before we write…

You supported the release of your sophomore album with a sold out U.S tour and also performed all around Europe; has there been any surprising crowd reactions in any city? 

This time we had a bunch of shows in Germany and had probably one of our best shows of the tour in Cologne.  Istanbul was also a great show!!

Some critics describe your music as neo soul but how do you like this definition?

I love Neo Soul so I don’t mind! But we don’t really like to classify our music. In this day and age we have an incredible resource like the Internet, so we listen to so many different types of music… As creators we try to not label ourselves to one specific genre.

You say you avoid meaningless collaborations like getting Madonna to say some spoken word, but wouldn’t it be fantastic to get such an icon on your gangsta soul music?

If we were to have a collaboration, I think we would all like to work with a virtuosic musician, like a Kora player from Africa, or an amazing Indian percussionist! Or maybe a theremin player!

In fact you’ve worked with talented composer Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. How do you describe his role in your music?

Miguel was a pleasure to work with; he put some strings on a track we released on “Choose Your Weapon.”  His unique style worked so well with the track. We are all pretty picky when it came to the final mixes for the album, but when we heard what he had done we thought it added to the track perfectly.

When it comes to the musical make-up of your latest album what would you say about the emotions it would bring to any listener?

The record is an epic listen; I would imagine the listener going through a bunch of emotions over the 74 minutes of listening time, of course if they can make it through… We tried to have a connection with nature and also tried to capture the live element of our playing. Hopefully those things would conjure up some comfy emotions.  

As an Australian band, do you think there is any influence of your origin on your music separate and apart from the funk and soul attitude?

Well we all live in Melbourne at the moment and after traveling around the world and seeing different diverse scenes, I am now realizing it has one of the best music scenes.  We are very lucky to have such a flourishing crew of musicians at home and it has definitely influenced us all and the music we make today.

You also performed in Istanbul at Salon; what did you like most about Istanbul?