The opening song in Hiatus Kaiyote’s Tawk Tomahawk captures you instantly. Guitarist and lead singer Nai Palm’s vocals are raw and sincere—weaving in and out of a beautiful blend of strings and snares. The debut EP is bold, yet intimate. Close your eyes after pressing play and you will be transported from your seat to the desert sands of Australia where the video for “Nakamarra” was filmed.
The Melbourne quartet is an internationally acclaimed “future soul” band. In little under two years, highly-respected artists, audiophiles and everyday people have been waxing poetic about Hiatus Kaiyote. The music is diverse and it expands into a sound that can’t fit within the boundaries of a single genre. Each track is like a key ingredient in the listening experience that adds to a fusion of jazz, hip-hop, electronic, opera, rock and soul. Subtle traces of the group’s major influences, ranging from Stevie Wonder and J Dilla to Flying Lotus are imbedded in the project.
Hiatus Kaiyote formed organically through a series of jam sessions that took place in a house three members shared. The Tawk Tomahawk recording process was inspired by everything from watching relationships unravel to traveling the world. There’s a freewheeling spirit to the band, comprised of Nai Palm, keyboardist Simon Mavin, bassist/producer Paul Bender and drummer/producer Perrin Moss. Prior to joining forces, the bandmates were working the local music circuit and refining their respective talents.
When Tawk Tomahawk was released in spring 2012, the EP quickly climbed the indie charts. It was as if a word-of-mouth shock wave moved from Melbourne, to Gilles Peterson in London, to Questlove and Erykah Badu in New York City and beyond. Hiatus Kaiyote began performing with artists like Taylor McFerrin (Brainfeeder) and José James (Blue Note) and are now headlining sold-out shows.
But this is only the beginning, as Hiatus Kaiyote embarks upon its U.S. debut tour.
“Music has always been medication to us,” Nai Palm explains. “It’s a force for self-healing that we’re ready to share with the world.” Through a musical symbiosis, the band has created its own lane and Tawk Tomahawk showcases the breadth of their talent and love for music lyric by lyric, and beat by beat.