Hiatus Kaiyote Embrace the Elements in 'Breathing Underwater' Video - Rolling Stone
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Hiatus Kaiyote Embrace the Elements in ‘Breathing Underwater’ Video

Australian funk-soul group nod to Stevie Wonder in mesmerizing new clip

Rising Australian funk-soul group Hiatus Kaiyote visualize a conversation between the elements while addressing the various forms of love in their new video for the soulful, jazzy “Breathing Underwater,” premiering exclusively on Rolling Stone.

Directed by Breeder, a production company who have contributed to projects like the Season 1 True Detective title sequence, the clip focuses on the duality between water and sand, bookmarked by swirling, rippling images.”They did it in a really organic way which was super cool,” frontwoman Nai Palm tells Rolling Stone. “Like old school science experiments you learn in the first grade.” 

The track comes from Choose Your Weapon, the band’s follow-up to their 2012 Grammy-nominated debut Tawk Tomahawk. Palm wrote the song out of a motivation to impress Stevie Wonder, who she describes as her “ultimate.” Wonder’s influence on the track is evident in the strong synth bass line and mid-song key change. But the song also draws influence from the Sahara Desert and Palm’s desire to “write a love song that isn’t just a romantic love song, but about different forms of love that we experience on a day-to-day basis.”

Malian kora musician Toumani Diabaté inspired the lead guitar riff, with the song lyrically referencing the Jericho Rose, a native plant of the desert that can survive up to a century without water but blossoms within minutes of rainfall. The flower metaphorically describes “the love that an artisan would put into his life’s work, or the love that goes into designing a tattoo,” Palm says. “I just wanted to show the world that there are different forms of loving beyond singing about why your boyfriend didn’t call you.”

These themes may not be universally clear through the video alone, but Palm reasons, “It stimulates imagination, and I feel like people are afraid to do that nowadays.” She expresses admiration for other artists such as Kendrick Lamar and FKA Twigs, noting their emergence into mainstream culture. “It’s really beautiful that more contemporary artists are breaking through into the mainstream,” Palm says. “I guess our role as artists is to stimulate the imaginations of people, and hopefully that’s timeless, instead of just having me in a bikini or some shit.”

Hiatus Kaiyote will be back on the road in Australia before returning stateside in October.

Hiatus Kaiyote Tour Dates

October 2 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
October 3 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey
October 6 – San Francisco, CA @ The Filmore
October 8 – Vancouver, BC @ Venue Nightclub
October 9 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
October 11 – Denver, CO @ The Gothic Theater
October 14 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Café
October 15 – Chicago, IL @ Park West
October 16 – Detroit, MI @ The Shelter
October 18 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage
October 19 – Charlotte, NC @ The Visualite Theater
October 20 – Washington D.C. @ The Fillmore
October 22 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory (with Chance the Rapper)
October 23 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5 (with Chance the Rapper)
October 27 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues (with Chance the Rapper)

In This Article: Hiatus Kaiyote


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