Q&A: Hiatus Kaiyote

Grammy-nominated four-piece Australian band Hiatus Kaiyote, has released their highly anticipated sophomore album Choose Your Weapon via Flying Buddha/Sony Music Masterworks and Sony Music Entertainment Australia last Friday (May 1st).

CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON is an 18-track, 70-minute odyssey and takes listeners on a journey through the group’s self-created ecosystem, populated with songs each embodying its own mini-cinematic sonic soundscape. We did a Q&A with the band about their new release, the pressures of making a successful record and their songwriting process.

So you are set to release a new album ‘Choose Your Weapon’ – can you tell me about the concept behind it?

Choose Your Weapon is a journey of the complete creative palette from our combined creative minds. We searched and squashed our concepts onto 18 tracks of goodness.

Generally speaking, how do you think the process has changed between making the first record ‘Tawk Tomahawk’ and the new album ‘Choose Your Weapon’?

Not much has changed really, we purposefully chose to self produce the record, and did the majority of it out of our home/self built studios.

I guess the only difference was this time we have a few more toys to play with…:)

With the amount of success you had last time, were you a bit nervous making this record and you do you think that was something you considered when you made the record?

I don’t think any of us let that kind of stuff creep into our heads. When you are in the studio it’s all about the music and it’s hard to have anything sway your decisions, especially when you have 4 minds working on the tracks. It kinda more of a motivation to continue on the creative journey that we began on and keep searching for new musical ideas/concepts.

Could you talk me through the songwriting process of the album?

choose yyour weaponThe process is different for every song on the record. Tracks like Fingerprints and Atari were brought to the group by Nai in their entirety, other like Swamp Rat were born out of jamming riffs with the band, and Laputa was a complete studio piece headed by Bender. The end result is always the same though, the four of us producing the tracks until we all are happy with the final result.


The album has often been described as having quite a ‘cinematic’ quality to it – was that something that you strive to achieve for on the album or do you think it actually was quite a natural progression?

Some of the tracks were written with cinematic gestures, Laputa and Prince Minikid are kinda odes to Studio Ghilbi, but it wasn’t an intentional theme throughout the record.

There are a few different animals that I can hear on the record-  what was the reason for that inclusion?

We are all massive animals lovers and most of the animals you here on the record are a part of our daily lives. There’s Charlie the bird, that is sitting on Nai’s shoulder throughout the majority of the vocal tracking, Lena the dog, barking through the piano tracking, and we actually managed to catch Benny the cat through a vocoder. We included them because they are rad!

What was one of your biggest triumphs and one of the biggest challenges with making this record?

I think the biggest triumph was finishing the record! Whoop! It was a long journey but we are all happy with the outcome (I think…)

The biggest challenge was capturing the songs correctly. Quite a lot of the tracks we actually recorded a number of times before we were all happy with the final result. I guess being a diplomatic band can be challenging at times.

Your music is obviously so unique that people have really struggled to pinpoint the influences and genre. Over the years, what has been one of the strangest comparisons that your music has been compared to?

My personal fav would have to be the brand new heavies. It happens a lot!

And just a bit of a fun question to wrap up, is where do you see your music five years from now?

I see us playing a gig from outer space. I’ve always wanted to do that. Shouldn’t be too hard to organize in 5 years!

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