Hiatus Kaiyote

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Hiatus Kaiyote
Hiatus Kaiyote
Hiatus Kaiyote
Background information
Also known asHK
OriginMelbourne, Australia
GenresNeo soul, future soul, jazz-funk
Years active2011 (2011)–present
LabelsFlying Buddha, Sony Masterworks
Associated actsThe Bamboos, Q-Tip, Clever Austin, Swooping, The Sweet Enoughs, The Putbacks, Salaam Remi, Nai Palm
  • Nai Palm
  • Paul Bender
  • Perrin Moss
  • Simon Mavin

Hiatus Kaiyote (/hˈtəs kˈjti/) is a soulful, genre defying quartet formed in Melbourne in 2011.[1] The members are Naomi "Nai Palm" Saalfield[2][3][4] (vocals, guitar), Paul Bender (bass), Simon Mavin (keyboards) and Perrin Moss (drums, percussion).


The four band members met in Melbourne, Australia. Bassist Paul Bender saw Naomi Saalfield perform a solo show and they started working together a year later. Perrin Moss and Simon Mavin joined shortly afterwards.[5] The collaboration led to Hiatus Kaiyote playing their first gig at the Bohemian Masquerade Ball among sword swallowers, fire twirlers and gypsy death core bands.[6]

In February 2012, the band opened for Taylor McFerrin in Melbourne. McFerrin was so impressed with them that he introduced their music to influential broadcaster and DJ Gilles Peterson.[7]

The band released their debut album Tawk Tomahawk independently in April 2012. It was noticed by numerous musicians including Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors,[8] and the band later received public endorsements from Erykah Badu, Questlove, and Prince, who urged their followers via Twitter to listen to the music.[9] In early 2013, Gilles Peterson named them the Breakthrough Artist of the Year at his Worldwide Music Awards in London[7] and shortly thereafter they were introduced to Salaam Remi who had just started working as an A&R executive at Sony Music. Sony gave him the opportunity to start up his own label, Flying Buddha, and his first signing was Hiatus Kaiyote. The band licensed Tawk Tomahawk to the label, adding an updated version of the song "Nakamarra" featuring Q-Tip. Following this release, the band toured extensively internationally, and were nominated in 2014 for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance for "Nakamarra."[10] They were the first ever Australian artist to be nominated for a Grammy in an R&B category.[11] They lost out to Snarky Puppy and Lalah Hathaway's recording "Something".

Every song we make is a little world and contains a multitude of influences. Although some may refer to our songs as R&B in one moment, and electronica or proggy-tropicalia in another, we don't think about sounds in terms of genres, but look at them more from a cinematic way. We’re always trying to get to that moment where people are overwhelmed in joy, in confusion, in sadness, or in the magnitude of emotion or disbelief – as well as sometimes feeling all of these simultaneously. We like to call this ‘wondercore,’ and that's what we’re always aiming for as a group.

– Hiatus Kaiyote in Music Business Worldwide[12]

In 2014, the band began working on their second album, Choose Your Weapon, which was released on 1 May 2015. The review aggregator Metacritic gave the album a normalised rating of 88 out of 100, based on 6 reviews, indicating 'universal acclaim'.[13] On 9 May 2015, Choose Your Weapon debuted at number 22 on the Australian albums chart.[14] Nai Palm described the album as an "extension" of their debut, and stated she and the band had no intention to make a one-genre body of work. Many of the songs on the album started with Saalfield's original ideas that were later fleshed out by the band together. During the recording the band wanted to pay tribute to the format of a mixtape, so they incorporated interludes.[15] The album also became the band's first release to chart in the US, reaching #127 on the US Billboard 200,[16] and #11 on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.[17]

The song "Breathing Underwater" from Choose Your Weapon was nominated for a Best R&B Performance at the 58th Grammy Awards, but lost out to The Weeknd's recording of "Earned It (Fifty Shades of Gray)".[18]

Starting in early-2016, artists began sampling Hiatus Kaiyote's recordings, starting with Anderson .Paak’s sample of “Molasses” in “Without You” on his album Malibu. The following year, Kendrick Lamar sampled "Atari" in "Duckworth" from his album Damn., and Drake sampled "Building A Ladder" on his song "Free Smoke" from his playlist More Life. [19] In 2018, Beyonce and Jay-Z sampled "The World It Softly Lulls" in "713" from their album, The Carters.[20]

In 2017, Nai Palm released her debut solo album Needle Paw, and toured internationally in support of it.[21] The recording process of this release was very different from Hiatus Kaiyote albums, focusing on Saalfield's vocals and solo guitar. During an interview with Julie Adenuga of Beats 1 she mentioned that she thought "Needle Paw" was the name of a desert flower.[22] In an interview with Sound of Boston, Nai Palm explained that working on a solo album gave her greater flexibility to work on her guitar sounds and the challenge of releasing a more raw and personal record.[23] The cover art of the album, an abstract drawing of Saalfield, was done by Chilean artist Jowy Maasdamme, whom Saalfield discovered on Instagram.[23]

In June 2018, Nai Palm was featured on Scorpion by Drake, who has spoken highly of both her and the band. She sang a cover of "More Than a Woman" by Aaliyah, which appears at the end of Drake's song "Is There More." Drake also sampled the Hiatus Kaiyote song, "Building a Ladder," in his track "Free Smoke" on his mixtape More Life.[24][25]

On October 18, 2018, Nai revealed via her social media that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.[26] From her hospital bed recovering from a mastectomy, Nai performed a cover of Curtis Mayfield's "The Makings of You", accompanied by Paul Bender on acoustic guitar.[27] As of an interview with KCRW Berlin in 2019, she is currently cancer-free.[28]

Her bandmates, the trio of Bender, Mavin and Moss, released their own mixtape under the moniker Swooping in April 2020.[29] In addition, each of them has released music independently:

Perrin Moss's professional alias is Clever Austin. He released his debut album in 2019 for Touching Base/Wondercore Island entitled Pareidolia. [30]

Paul Bender released a solo album under the artist name The Sweet Enoughs via Wondercore Island, entitled Marshmallow.[31] Bender also produced Jaala's album, Hard Hold in 2015,[32] Vulture St Tape Gang's album Mature Themes for Childish People in 2019,[33] and Laneous's release Monstera Deliciosa (which also features Simon Mavin on keys) in 2019.[34]

Simon Mavin is a member of the band The Putbacks. [35] He produced artist Natalie Slade's album, Control (Eglo Records) in 2020.[36]

In August 2020, the Hiatus Kaiyote signed a global publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music.[37]



Title Details
Tawk Tomahawk
  • Release: April 2012
  • Label: Flying Buddha
  • Format: Digital download, CD and vinyl
Choose Your Weapon
  • Release: May 2015
  • Label: Flying Buddha
  • Format: Digital download, CD and vinyl


  • By Fire (2014)
  • Recalibrations Vol.1 (2016)


  • "Live in Revolt" (2013)

Music Videos[edit]

  • "Nakamarra" (2013)
  • "Breathing Underwater" (2015)

Prominent samples of Hiatus Kaiyote's work[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Andy Kellman. "Hiatus Kaiyote | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  2. ^ True, Everett. "Hiatus Kaiyote: Choose Your Weapon review – psychedelic adventure land". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  3. ^ Todd, Bella. "Premiere: Listen to Hiatus Kaiyote's New EP". redbull.com. Red Bull. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  4. ^ Fusilli, Jim. "Hiatus Kaiyote's Musical Mosaic". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  5. ^ Tan, Teresa (12 December 2016). "Nooks & Crannies: Hiatus Kaiyote". Sydney Opera House. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  6. ^ "The 8th Bohemian Masquerade Ball". PBS FM. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  7. ^ a b "GILLES PETERSON'S WORLDWIDE AWARDS 2013". Crack Magazine. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Interview: Hiatus Kaiyote – ACCLAIM". Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Hiatus Kaiyote get a tweet of approval from Prince". Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  10. ^ Michael Dwyer. "Independent Melbourne band Hiatus Kaiyote gets Grammy nod". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  11. ^ Dwyer, Michael (9 December 2013). "Grammy nod". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Reviews for Choose Your Weapon by Hiatus Kaiyote". Metacritic. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  14. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 11 May 2015. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  15. ^ DanMichael (27 April 2015). "Interview: Nai Palm Discusses Choose Your Weapon". Revive-music.com. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Hiatus Kaiyote – Chart history". Billboard. 23 May 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  17. ^ "Hiatus Kaiyote – Chart history". Billboard. 23 May 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  18. ^ "2016 Grammy Awards: Complete list of winners and nominees". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  19. ^ Ziegler, Lauren (20 April 2017). "This Year's Two Biggest Hip-Hop Albums Both Sampled A Band From Melbourne". Junkee. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  20. ^ Encalada, Javier (24 June 2018). "Hiatus Kaiyote sampled by Beyonce and Jay-Z". Northern Star. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  21. ^ Will Brewster (11 February 2015). "Nai Palm is out to crush your assumptions". Mixdownmag.com.au. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  22. ^ Adenuga, Julie. "An Interview With Nai Palm". Apple Music. Apple Music. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  23. ^ a b Bedian, Knar. "Interview: Nai Palm (Of Hiatus Kaiyote)". Sound of Boston. Sound of Boston. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  24. ^ "How Drake's Love of Australian Band Hiatus Kaiyote Turned Into a 'More Life' Sample". Billboard. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  25. ^ "Nai Palm on Contributing to Drake's New Album 'Scorpion'". Complex. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  26. ^ Yoo, Noah (18 October 2018). "Hiatus Kaiyote's Nai Palm Diagnosed With Breast Cancer". Pitchfork. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  27. ^ "Watch Nai Palm Perform A Stunning Cover Of Curtis Mayfield's "The Makings Of You" From Her Hospital Bed". Okayplayer. 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  28. ^ Cunningham, Sylvia (15 November 2019). "KCRW Berlin Presents: Australian musician Nai Palm on loss, survival and celebrating a year cancer-free". KCRW Berlin. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  29. ^ "Hiatus Kaiyote side project Swooping release new album on Bandcamp". NME. 20 March 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  30. ^ Skinner, Wilf (18 March 2019). "Clever Austin - Pareidolia". Clash Music. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  31. ^ Martin, Josh (2 May 2020). "Paul Bender of Hiatus Kaiyote shares new easy-listening project, The Sweet Enoughs". NME. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  32. ^ True, Everett (10 December 2015). "Jaala: Hard Hold review – proggy punk-rock experiments yield mixed results". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  33. ^ "THE CHARM OFFENSIVE". 45 RPM. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  34. ^ Boev, Martin (22 June 2019). "Music: Laneous – Monstera Deliciosa". In Search of Media. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  35. ^ Mirza, Imran (2018). "The Putbacks: "From Dawn til... Oranges"". Blue in Green Radio. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  36. ^ "Natalie Slade Shares Stunning Debut Album 'Control'". The Hype Magazine. 12 June 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.