Hiatus Kaiyote

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 Grammy-nominated Hiatus Kaiyote strikes the perfect note merging poetry and polyrhythms. They have carved out their own ecosystem populated with songs, each embodying its own mini-cinematic sonic soundscape.

In late 2014, Hiatus Kaiyote releases their EP By Fire with three new songs that will appear on the band’s hotly anticipated sophomore album Choose Your Weapon - to be released in May 5, 2015 on Flying Buddha/Sony Music Masterworks.

Out of the ether, Hiatus Kaiyote’s 2012 debut album Tawk Tomahawk magically appeared as if the vast desert landscape had opened up, borrowing ingredients from far-reaching lands to concoct a distinctive flavor that is the essence of all its parts. Each song whispers of delicious, ancient and futuristic stories untold.

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 crystallized 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 (drums/percussion) and Simon Mavin (keyboards) into the equation, and the electric, organic nature of Hiatus Kaiyote was set in motion.

By chance, the three guys in Hiatus Kaiyote happened to reside in the same shared house, though they’d never previously played together in a band, while Nai lived nearby. From their first jam session, there was an undeniable shared telepathic connection. The nascent band 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 wholly on music.

Recording artist Taylor McFerrin came across Hiatus Kaiyote while on tour in Australia in early-2012, just as the band was poised to self-release their debut album, Tawk Tomahawk via Bandcamp, and soon the word spread like wildfire. “Everyone who has come in contact with it has promoted it,” says Nai Palm. “Questlove, Erykah Badu, Pharrell and Prince 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”, and Gilles Peterson named them the Breakthrough Artist of 2013. Legendary producer/songwriter Salaam Remi handpicked Hiatus Kaiyote as the first signing for his new label Flying Buddha, an imprint of Sony Music Masterworks, and they immediately gave Tawk Tomahawk an official worldwide release in July, 2013.

On the back of that release the band began to tour extensively, playing over 100 dates in North America, Europe and Africa, discovering that there was a rabid and dedicated fan base everywhere they went.

Whereas Tawk Tomahawk was born in the studio with musicians who were just getting to know each other as band mates and newly formed family, Choose Your Weapon was conceived on stages worldwide, its architecture built from the myriad of shows that they performed. Taking this framework, the band honed the songs in the studio transforming them into exquisite pieces of music, pushing the boundaries of their comfort zone. “We are 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.”

At the core of their sound is an untethered quality that links them to the wide-open landscape of Australia. “I feel a strong bond to where we’re from,” says Bender. “Everything happened the way it was, because that’s where we were, that’s where we’re from and that’s who we are in the environment.”

Hiatus Kaiyote is on the road again in support of their new EP, starting with dates in Australia and New Zealand, making their way to North America and then Europe in time for the release Choose Your Weapon. “What I’ve learned is the power of sharing your story with people,” says Nai Palm.

Fronted by vocalist Lalin St. Juste, The Seshen is a seven piece band based in San Francisco. Mixing live and electronic elements and taking influence from eclectic sources including psychedelia, hip-hop, pop, R&B, West African music, dub, and indie rock, they create beat-driven compositions with a strong emotional core, a compelling sound that has hooked many fans and bloggers from first listen. Heavy industry interest has resulted in the band inking a deal with Tru Thoughts records to take it to the next level.

The Seshen's self-titled 2012 debut album, released via Bandcamp, has inspired comparisons to J Dilla, Little Dragon, Beach House and Erykah Badu, and they have also found themselves in high demand as a live act with support slots for the likes of Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote, Hieroglyphics and The Memorials (with Grammy award winner Thomas Pridgen).

The band that provide the immersive sonic backdrop for the complementary vocalists, Lalin St. Juste and Akasha Orr, are bassist/producer Aki Ehara, drummer Chris Thalmann, keyboard/synth player Mahesh Rao, percussionist Mirza Kopelman and synchronizer/sampler Kumar Butler; between them creatively manipulating an array of technology alongside their more traditional instruments, with acoustic percussion including congas, bongos, timbales and more.

This close-knit group was born from the relationship between Lalin and Aki, a couple who met while studying in Ghana and bonded over music. On their return to the US, they lived in LA before moving to Aki's hometown of San Francisco, where they started collaborating on music together and gradually built the band through jam sessions with their circle of friends.Utilizing a heavily layered base of electronic textures, The Seshen complement the complex emotions and vivid imagery of Lalin's poetic lyrics, and blur the distinction between the abstract and the familiar, for a resulting atmosphere that is distinctively their own.

Finding the perfect home on the eclectic, soulful roster of Tru Thoughts records, The Seshen have announced their signing to the UK label in 2014, alongside Spring and Summer US tour dates.

Bells Atlas

Bells Atlas emerges from the vibrant cultural and musical backdrop of Oakland, CA, made up of 4 musicians who each impart a unique and vibrant essence. Blending heavy percussion, soulful vocal harmonies, and thoughtful arrangements, this dynamic group has arrived at a sound that is uniquely their own, calling it Afro Indie Soul. They capture the spirit of an eclectic range of influences including Highlife, Hip-Hop, Samba, R&B and aspects of Indie Pop. Drawing a wide audience with diverse tastes, they are releasing their first full-length album, intent on providing their listeners with an experience that incessantly grabs the ear and evokes relentless body movement.

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The Independent

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Hiatus Kaiyote with The Seshen, Bells Atlas

Sunday, July 28 · Doors 8:30 PM / Show 9:00 PM at The Independent

Tickets Available at the Door