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Haiku Hands Want You To Enjoy Life in the Moment

The Australian dance-pop trio tell Rolling Stone AU/NZ about embracing chaos and finding freedom on their joyfully defiant new record

Haiku Hands

Bronte Godden

Haiku Hands are a mix of excitement and nervousness as they prepare to unleash their long-awaited second album, aptly named Pleasure Beast.

They’ve been waiting a long time for a proper album rollout: their excellent self-titled debut launched amid pandemic uncertainties, relegating their pulsating club anthems to living room dance parties in 2020. Fast forward three years and one member of the trio feels deeply connected to the new record, citing personal growth, while another admits feeling anxious and distracted by the current global issues surrounding them.

But the Australian dance-pop trio – sisters Claire and Mie Nakazawa and Beatrice Lewis – are on a high after a phenomenal year of US shows. This included a milestone performance at New York’s iconic Governors Ball where they dominated the main stage in their baggy cargo threads and Orville Peck-esque fringed masks, marking one of the biggest stages they’d ever played (Lizzo, Haim, and Kendrick Lamar were also there). A headline UK and Australia tour is also in the works for the must-see live band in the coming year.

All the while, their latest singles, especially the euphoric “Feels so Good”, with its fist-pumping, sing-along chorus, have offered exciting glimpses of the promising full-length album that comes out this Friday, December 1st.

Haiku Hands

Credit: Bronte Godden

Early in conversation with Rolling Stone AU/NZ, they’re eager to direct attention to the album’s opening track, “All Around the World”, which vividly describes a chaotic world with deliberate urgency, echoing contemporary global turmoil. Lyrics such as “All around the world there’s bombs going off / All around the world we’re still getting off / All around the world it’s a big hot mess,” speak volumes.

“It’s a response to our distress and frustrations with the world, feeling let down by governance… I guess it’s a bit of an angry song,” Mie says.

Beatrice, who has first credits as a producer on the album, takes the helm: “It’s strangely very relevant and topical to the current political climate. That song in particular is one that I’m really excited to play live and hopefully bring people together to transmute some of the frustration and anger we’re all experiencing, maybe, start a revolution.”

Beyond being providers of big party songs, Haiku Hands’ music has always carried a deeper meaning. Pleasure Beast proudly continues this tradition, positioning the album as a rebellion against the relentless hustle culture. It’s about savouring small moments and finding joy in everyday life – a lesson learned during the reflective times of COVID.

“Being a ‘Pleasure Beast’ is about trying to enjoy all the little moments of life and making the most of it,” says Mie. “It’s a bit rebellious because the grind tells you not to do that. It says to keep working and keep hustling, but the ‘Pleasure Beast’ is all about seeking joy,” adds Beatrice.

Conceived during a writing trip to Indonesia, the album took shape during their US tour earlier this year where they collaborated with various producers, including the in-demand David Sitek from the Brooklyn-based art-rock band TV on the Radio. Sitek, known for his unconventional touch on albums by Yeah Yeah Yeahs and CSS, played a significant role in giving the record a slight punk and anarchist feel. “It feels like he lives outside of normal society,” explains Beatrice.

Elsewhere, tracks like “To the Left” convey the preciousness of time (“There’s no cash back money guarantee on the future / You can’t take a loan on the past let’s get looser,” the trio sing), while “Grandma” challenges the notion of perpetual busyness. The shimmering “Paradise” emerges as one of the more mellow moments in the eclectic 14-track collection. 

Influenced by a diverse array of artists like Beastie Boys, The Knife, and Rosalía, Haiku Hands intentionally avoid being pigeonholed into one genre. As Mie puts it, “We didn’t want it to be just 30 minutes of dance music, there’s the crazy 150 BPM bangers, but also some super downbeat songs.” 

And despite the playfulness of their lyrics, they infuse their whimsical words with deeper meanings. “Even though Haiku Hands may come across as light, or comical, all our words are intentional,” explains Beatrice. “I like that we can convey serious messages in a way that’s almost dada-esque.”

What do they hope listeners will take away from the album? Mie expresses a desire for empowerment and excitement, while Beatrice’s response is a spirited “Fuck the System!” She laughs, adding, “I hope it helps people to get up in the morning and do whatever they can to enjoy this short time that we’re on this crazy planet.”

Haiku Hand’s Pleasure Beast is out this Friday, December 1st (pre-save here).

Haiku Hands Tour Dates

Tickets available via haikuhands.com.au

Dec 28 – Jan 1st  Lost Paradise – Glenworth Valley

Dec 29thWoodford Folk Festival – Woodford

Feb 15th – The Zoo – Brisbane / Meanjin

Feb 16th – Marrickville Warehouse Show – Sydney / Eora

Feb 22nd – Max Watts – Melbourne / Naarm