Haiku Hands: High Energy Meets High Art

Haiku Hands bring their high-energy hijinks to Groovin' The Moo. Haiku Hands bring their high-energy hijinks to Groovin' The Moo.

Known for their dance music and exhausting live show, Haiku Hands – comprising core members Bea Lewis and sisters Claire and Mie Nakazawa – have been non-stop since playing their first show at Falls Festival “two New Year’s ago”.

Since then, they’ve drip-fed singles such as the insanely catchy ‘Not About You’ and supported Bloc Party on tour: “Those shows were mega!” They are energy personified.

No wonder then that Bea answers the phone with a piercing squeal of joy. They’re in New Zealand where they’ve just smashed Splore, a boutique festival held on the beach an hour from Auckland. “It’s crazy amazing! Awesome music, awesome food, really arty. You can be in the water, watching the main band.”

Her enthusiasm is infectious: no one – not even my own mother, half a world away – has ever sounded this thrilled to talk to me. They’ve nearly wrapped their first headlining national tour, an experience Bea describes as “momentous.

“It’s like meeting family. It's meeting people who really know your music. You've never met them before but you've all heard about each other. It's special.”

But festivals seem to be the collective’s natural habitat. Indeed, without festivals there would be no Haiku Hands: Claire and Bea met at one in Queensland, five years ago. “She was performing with Hermitude. I had a solo project. Back then there weren’t many females performing at festivals. I was like, ‘whoa, who's the other girl?’”

Another chance meeting at a festival in Alice Springs led to a writing session with the MC Joelistics. The results were fan favourites ‘Jupiter’ and ‘Man Bitch’. “It was a magical writing concoction,” Bea says.

Haiku Hands will be performing at Groovin The Moo, the festival held across regional Australia, this April and May. At the mention of this, Bea cheers. “Groovin The Moo is special for me because I’m from the country. Melbourne and Sydney and Brisbane are awesome, but it’s really fun to take it to new towns.”

For a creative spirit growing up in the Dandenongs and Wagga Wagga, music and art provided Bea with a glimpse of the possibilities beyond small-town life. “When people came to Wagga, those shows changed me. I was like, ‘I didn’t know you could do that’, or ‘oh, that's so cool’. It was exciting and inspiring.”

She describes the albums that shaped her: Portishead’s ‘Dummy’, ‘Endtroducing’ by DJ Shadow, Radiohead – “I can’t pick one. All of them have had an influence.

“There was this old-school hip hop compilation called ‘Soundbombing’. That's where I heard my first female MC. I'd never heard females rap before.”

In an age of streaming and algorithm-curated playlists does Bea think albums are still relevant? She’s unequivocal. “I really love albums. Maybe I’m old-school, but albums have changed my life. They’re weightier. It would be pretty crazy to just keep releasing singles, [though] people do. Rather than just being ‘next, next, next’, having to take 40 minutes to listen to a body of work is important.”

So, will Haiku Hands be releasing their debut album imminently? “It's definitely a possibility. We have so many great songs that feel, artistically, like they belong together. They're a chapter of when Claire and I first started writing. An album would be a nice way to put them out.”

Before they get the chance, however, they’re heading Stateside for SXSW, followed by “a three-week tour”. It’s all go for the self-confessed “psychopathic, A-type, workaholic".

“We want to get more stuff out. We're working on a film clip and our next single. I’m pretty keen to [makes shooting ‘pew pew pew’ noises] hit it all.”

Groovin' The Moo 2019

Fri 26 Apr - Wayville (SA)
Sat 27 Apr - Maitland (NSW)
Sun 28 Apr - Canberra (ACT)
Sat 4 May - Bendigo (VIC)
Sun 5 May - Townsville (QLD)
Sat 11 May - Bunbury (WA)


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