During our CMJ broadcast last month, KEXP was excited to host a performance from New York’s own HAERTS, a band clearly on the brink of something big. With just a couple of singles and one EP to their charmingly-misspelled name, we felt fortunate to share some of their unreleased tracks with the world. Watch their performance below, and check out a chat with a few members of the band.
You guys have been doing so much touring this year alongside everyone from Fitz & the Tantrums to Atlas Genius. That’s such a wide range of styles! What, if anything, have you learned from your year on the road, and from working with these great artists?
Nini Fabi (vocalist): We really became a band during that time. HAERTS started in the studio, and we only began playing live a year ago. I think it was crucial for us to go on the road as soon as we could. Performing live is the most important thing for us because you get to see the direct reaction. It’s really what we love to do.
I had read that you guys were initially a folk duo before you became HAERTS…
Nini: Everyone has their dirty secret!
How is it different performing live as HAERTS, which is very danceable? Do you find that you perform differently?
Nini: It’s a different style of music, different instrumentation. This is a way lusher sound. But, I think as far as the feeling goes, it’s exactly the same. Folk music, or — I don’t know if I can call it “folk music” — but, the music felt natural to us at the time. Now we’ve arrived at this, and this feels natural. So, I think technically, yes, different, but on an emotional level, I would say it’s the same.
Garrett Ienner (guitarist): At the same time, I think we’re trying to get back to that, too. We performed a song today, “Hope”, that’s a good example. We wanted the beginning to have this free feeling to it, and then go back into what we’re doing now. So, I think we’re trying to incorporate the two now. It’s important to do.
Ben Gebert (keyboardist): I think with music in general, there’s always experimentation. You take something to one extreme, take it to another extreme, and hopefully in the middle, something good pops out.
Nini: You always have to love and stand behind what you’re doing at the time. Then you can actually evolve as a musician.
Everybody wants to know: what is up with the debut full-length album? When can we expect it? What can we expect on it?
Ben: We have actually decided not to release it.
Nini: (laughing) No, no, no — sarcasm is not good in interviews! They can’t actually see your face smiling! No, the album is coming out in 2014, and we’re currently taking a break from touring for the next month. We’ll be in the studio with Patrik Berger, a producer from Sweden we admire a lot. He just recently did a track from Icona Pop and Charli XCX, and he did a Robyn track that we really love, “Dancing on My Own.” We’ve done the first batch with Jean-Philip Grobler of St. Lucia. We’re very excited.
HAERTS just released their new EP, Hemiplegia, last week. Unless you’re in Germany, you’ll probably have to wait until next year to get a chance to seem them live, but you can find out when they will be in your town by following them on Facebook. For now, watch their entire set during KEXP’s CMJ broadcast at Judson Memorial Church in NYC: