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Hiatus Kaiyote Break Down New Album ‘Love Heart Cheat Code’

Hiatus Kaiyote have released their first album in three years

Hiatus Kaiyote

Rocket Weijers

Hiatus Kaiyote have released their first album in three years.

Love Heart Cheat Code features 11 tracks that highlight the band’s collaborative creativity, capturing the spontaneity of late-night jam sessions and organic instrument interactions rather than following a strict musical blueprint. The album includes contributions from Melbourne musicians Taylor “Chip” Crawford on the frello, guitarist Tom Martin, and flautist Nikodimos.

Renowned producer Mario Caldato, known for his work with the Beastie Boys and Seu Jorge, also brings his expertise to the project, while the album’s visual elements showcase artwork by Rajni Perera and a collection of symbols and artifacts created with illustrators Chloe Biocca and Grey Ghost.

Love Heart Cheat Code is the highly anticipated follow-up to the jazz/funk band’s 2021 album, Mood Valiant, which became their highest-charting record to date upon release, reaching #4 on the ARIA Albums Chart.

Below, Hiatus Kaiyote discuss each track on their new album in more detail. You can catch them performing the album live on their upcoming national tour, which visits Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide this September (more information here).

Hiatus Kaiyote’s Love Heart Cheat Code is out now via Brainfeeder Records / Ninja Tune. 

Love Heart Cheat Code Track-by-Track


“When Simon [Mavin] plays solo piano, it’s the most beautiful thing ever,” says Nai Palm. “It’s like having Claude Debussy in the next room. It’s like the arrival of the sky boat but also, we, Haitus, are the sky boat. We are a vessel for you to take you off into another universe.” 


“NASA has a website where you can type in your birthday and then it will tell you the most interesting thing that the Hubble telescope took a  picture of on your birthday,” reveals Paul Bender. “And so each of the four verses is based on our four birthdays.”

“Make Friends”

“I wanted to have representation for just the different examples of people that I love from the women in my life, to the men, to my non binary friends. And it was very natural and fun to work on as a formula,” says Nai.

“Everything’s Beautiful”

Nai woke from a nap in her manager’s apartment in Brooklyn with a tune in her head. “I brought it back into the waking life, which is very hard to do,” she recalls. “I’ve only done it a couple of times.”

As placeholder lyrics for the melody, she sang “Berry Street Beautiful”, after a street in Williamsburg. Over time, Nai refined the song on guitar as “Everything’s Beautiful”, which the band recorded no less than three different versions, adjusting the tempo and arrangement until it felt just right. 


There’s been one persistent yet improbable story about the 20th century classical composer Dimitri Shostakovich. It’s said that he had a piece of German shrapnel lodged in his brain, that its particular location caused him to hear atonal melodies when he turned his head, and that he used this music in his compositions.

Paul was reading about this and other tales of musical hallucinations in neurologist Oliver Sacks’ book Musicophelia while Nai happened to be writing a lyric about where inspiration comes from.

“An artist’s job is to take the unseen and reveal it to people through a  medium,” says Nai. “And it’s not like it exists perfectly without you. You draw it down from the  ether and then you share that. And I wanted to focus on the different ways that that’s possible for people.” 


Born at a rest stop in Japan.

“You pull off the highway, you get your gas, you can get the best ramen you’ve ever had, the most beautifully boxed treats,” says Paul, whose bandmates bought him a little toy cat in the gift section of the store. “He’s quite long and he’s my  little cheerleader during our shows, just swinging around wildly,” he adds.

“The next time we went to Japan, for the Fuji Rock festival, we bought him another one,” Nai says. “And his name is Lengthboy. So the premise of the song is that Longcat is the longest cat in the world, but Longcat is not even the  longest cat on Bender’s bass.” 

“How to Meet Yourself “

Nai explains the opening lyric of this track: “The saying ‘to milk a stone’ is like, to get something nourishing out of hardship, to get something positive out of adversity. ‘To milk a stone and keep from harm’ is the thing that we’re all trying to do in life, to come out the other side [to] be safe and peaceful. When you’re traumatised, it reveals the darkest parts of you. And once you can ‘meet’ yourself, it becomes a sanctuary for you.”

“Love Heart Cheat Code”

A collective effort.

“Everybody in the band has an array of toys and sounds and stuff, and I just remember thinking, ‘I wonder how it would sound if I put my little bass  pedal on ‘harmonize’ mode?’” Paul recalls.

“’Love Heart Cheat Code’ doesn’t mean anything and it means  everything,” Nai says. “On one hand, it’s just cool words together. But also — and I don’t care if I  sound corny here, because I’m a romantic — but I really believe if you move through the world with love, it’s the ultimate cheat code to the world.

“Whether it’s checking in at the airport and the person  is horrible to you and you respond lovingly, people react to love or you get into a downward spiral.  Or you can cheat code your way out of it by coming back to love and coming back to compassion  and the world just kind of blossoms for you.” 

“Cinnamon Temple”

A fan favourite that’s been part of the band’s setlist for years.

“That kind of energy was coming out of Hiatus pre-Covid, where we were getting into heavier riffs – not metal, but just heavier,” Simon says.

“It’s called ‘Cinnamon Temple’ because in Mali they have these mud brick mosques that look like they have cinnamon stuck in them. And because it was inspired by a Malian rhythm, there’s that element to it,” Nai adds.

“White Rabbit”

A remake of the classic psychedelic anthem.

“I just started singing whatever I could remember from ‘White Rabbit’… it became this really ugly, minimal version,” reveals Nai. “And then we just kept throwing shit at it, throwing more spaghetti at the wall and letting it reveal itself.

“I wanted to expand on it because it is a political song. It’s also a drug song. Most people when they cover that song, they do this throwback psychedelia thing, but it’s like, what does psychedelia look like now that we’ve got new drugs and new wars? I also feel like it was a really badass way to end an album.”