Hiatus Kaiyote Talk International Touring And Inventing The ‘Hot Nostril’ Genre

Melbourne future soul outfit Hiatus Kaiyote are relatively new on the scene, having gotten together in 2011, but they’ve managed to attract an impressive list of accolades in that short time. Their stellar debut record Tawk Tomahawk gained them a host of star-studded fans like Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus, and even Prince, taking their live show all over the globe.

Amongst all of the chaos, bassist Paul Bender found the time to drop us a line, filling us in on Hiatus Kaiyote’s meteoric rise, their international touring shenanigans and inventing the new genre “hot nostril.” It’s going to be huge. Trust us.

Music Feeds: You’ve just finished a massive two-month tour of Europe and North America. What was the highlight of the trip?

Paul Bender: Probably our show in London. The crowd at that gig was absolutely the most incomprehensibly mental bunch of people we’ve ever played to. It was like a super positive riot. It kinda felt like we were playing House of Pain‘s Jump Around for most of the set, but we definitely weren’t. You know the vibe. Also I’d have to say riding roller coasters at Cedar Point on our day off in the US was pretty damn great. Fast and vertical, baby.

MF: You describe your music as “future soul”. What differentiates your sound from regular soul?

PB: Well, generally questions about genre turn into long winded answers. Basically we don’t really worry about what we’re meant to be, we just worry about what we are doing, which is trying to make music that’s really satisfying and exciting for us. Soul is a component of that, as is all sorts of music. But sometimes it’s easier to give people two words instead of a paragraph, hence the vague genre of “Future Soul.” You could also call it “Wondercore” or “Multidimensional Polyrhythmic Gangsta Shit”. If you so felt it you could also call it “Deep Chant”, “Post Beard” or “Attenborough Blues.” “Hot Nostril”? That’s fine with us.

MF: Soul is going through a massive revival at the moment. Do you see the almost fad-like popularity of the genre as a positive or negative?

PB: These things go round and round in phases, but I’m down to support good music regardless of what it is. I can’t really think about it terms of positive or negative…styles change and something else comes to fill the void, whether a revival of an older sound or a new take on an old thing. Music is fine, someone’s always taking care of it.

MF: We hear you like to incorporate elements of jazz and opera into your live show. How does that happen?

PB: It’s just a natural growth out of what we’ve heard, what we like, and what we’ve played before. The opera influence is found in our track Malika, which is based around the theme from The Flower Duet by French composer Delibes. We also enjoy orchestral composers such as Debussy and Takashi Yoshimatsu among others. As far as jazz, both myself and Simon have studied jazz, and we all love improvising. We stretch out on a few tunes here and there in the set.

MF: You’ve had a pretty steady rise since you formed in 2011, and you won Best Breakthrough Artist Of The Year at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards. Do you have a career highlight so far?

PB: I think just making connections with other musicians whose work you really respect is a massive honour…making personal connections and getting excited about music and creativity is always the main thing. Supporting [Erykah] Badu was a massive deal for us, and her and her band were all super cool. I dunno what the one highlight would be, it’s been a total mind-blowing trip the whole time.

MF: Prince recently tweeted your video for Nakamarra. Do you consider the purple one to be an influence?

PB: You know what, I’m actually not a massive Prince-fiend, I guess I never went through that phase personally. He’s an absurdly talented dude though…we’ve actually had some weird Prince related moments. Simon played at a really strange Prince after party in Melbourne that didn’t exactly go to plan and we also had to hastily retreat from our green room at Montreux because Prince was taking it over and he had his large army of large minions with him. But anyway, I feel like we’re back on track with The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As. Thanks Prince! Bloody legend.

MF: You’re pretty well-versed at the festival circuit. Which have been the stand-outs for you?

PB: We played at Dour festival in Belgium. We were there for about 2 1/2 hours; my whole experience consisted of us, Flying Lotus, Robert Glasper Experiment, Thundercat, Guilty Simpson, several thousand people under 25, and weirdly enough, my parents. That was pretty surreal. Worldwide Festival was mad, as were all the jazz festivals we played, such as Montreaux and North Sea. SXSW was crazy as hell, and it looks like we’re doing it again.

MF: You’re playing Melbourne Festival, as well as a show in Sydney in October. How has playing OS sharpened your live show?

PB: The Overall Tightness Quotient has increased significantly: possibly 50% in that time? Playing the tunes a whole lot, repetition, repetition, repetition…

MF: What’s next for Hiatus Kaiyote? Is there a new album or EP in the works?

PB: Oh, yeah. Working on the next record as we speak. We’re also doing two shows at Melbourne Festival on October 11 and 12, are going back to the US and Europe from late October to early December for more touring runtimes.

Hiatus Kaiyote’s Melbourne Festival dates kick off this week, then they’re off to Sydney for just one headline show. Details below.

Hiatus Kaiyote Tour Dates

Friday, 11th October

Foxtel Festival Hub, Melbourne Festival

Tix: Via Melbourne Festival

Saturday, 12th October

Foxtel Festival Hub, Melbourne Festival

Tix: Via Melbourne Festival

Saturday, 26th October

The Standard, Sydney

Tix: Via MoshTix

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