In music-making, it’s gotta be nerve-racking when a friend asks you to step into the studio to try a duet with them. What if the voices don’t blend? What if your pal’s feeling it—but you’re not? The stakes are higher when your respective music projects are as big as Vampire Weekend and HAIM, but those were the circumstances under which singer and multi-instrumentalist Danielle Haim came to be on one of the most anticipated releases this year.
“I’ve had so much experience being a blending voice, when I was on tour with Jenny Lewis, Julian Casablancas, my sisters,” Haim told EW, referring to her sibling band HAIM. Singing with Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, which she often does on new album Father of the Bride (out today, May 3), Haim was at ease. “It was super loose and we were just trying things out.”
The collaboration started when Haim’s boyfriend, producer Ariel Rechtshaid, was recording the song that would later become FOTB‘s album opener, “Hold You Now.” He and Koenig had Haim lay down temporary vocals, just to see if the duet vibe is where the song wanted to go. And apparently it was. From there, Haim was recruited to sing on almost half the tracks, either in a duet or backup capacity.
“I wanted to execute [Koenig’s] vision as best as I can. I very much know it’s his record so I didn’t take offense when he had me try different things. I love other people’s processes,” Haim said. “I’m so about drumming, and I write around drums. Ezra…he’s all about a total fleshed out message before anything else. He’s very precise, too. He means business in the studio. He’s serious but … in a good way. He’s just like ‘Let’s get this down.'”
“Ariel and then Danielle little by little became one of the most important parts of the record. And I always knew I wanted there to be these duets, to be these tentpole moments, especially on an 18-song album. You need some voices besides mine and I wasn’t sure who would be,” said Koenig, who describes Rechtshaid as his “brother-in-arms.” “Then when it became Danielle, it’s insane I didn’t think of it earlier, it’s so perfect.”
“Everything on this album was really kind of a family affair, very organic. We weren’t reaching very far for anything,” Rechtshaid told EW of the whole experience.
The positivity around this “family affair” may extend into HAIM’s sonic life. Not only did Haim say she planned on dropping by a few tour dates to sing with the band on tour, she heavily hinted that Koenig will play a part in some of her band’s fresh material. “Maybe he’ll have some hand in some music we’re about to release. We’re excited to put out new music,” she said, indicating that HAIM hopes to release “a song or something” before Pitchfork Fest in July. “I think … [Koenig’s] just so smart, so talented. I’m stoked to be part of the whole thing.”
Haim declined to give any further details on HAIM’s new music. Rechtshaid produced the trio’s last album Something to Tell You, released in 2017.