HAAi's absorbing & slow-release style makes for sets that deal in long lasting pleasures rather than instant hits of gratification, part of the reason she was installed as resident at London club Phonox.
Often calling on heavily percussive and primal records "that bring out strangely strong reactions in me," HAAi is well versed in house, techno, afro, acid and disco, as well as more unusual worldly sounds. Now a few months into her residency, the Aussie is in her element and able to keep the floor locked to a groove for hours on end. "Playing a longer set definitely allows you to become more experimental," she reckons of her expertly loose yet infectious sets. "They allow you to build real trust and lay down much more interesting trips."
Despite growing up in a remote Australian mining town characterised by "red dirt, bull ants and scorching heat", music has always been HAAi's life. Until a few years ago she was vocalist and guitarist in a shoegaze and psyche band, Dark Bells, who spent many hours listening to weird Thai and Turkish funk, tripped-out psychedelic records and Nigerian and Kenyan drums. And despite being turned on to the dance scene by a chance trip to Berghain, those records still play a large part in her life: not only did they lead her to start her own Coconut Beats party in Dalston, then a blog and Rinse FM radio show of the same name, but now also a regular series of events at Phonox and a record label. "This is all just hobby that's got out of hand," she laughs, but in doing so reveals a deep-rooted passion never fails to colour her sets.
At her Coconut Beats parties, HAAi indulges her own esoteric tastes and shares the knowledge she has built up over many years of digging. From South Africa to the Middle East via South America and London, they are edifying affairs that prove she has her own distinctive tastes. When stepping away from Phonox to play around Europe, though, you are as likely to hear her indulge a passion for harder techno that dates back to that definitive trip to Berlin five years ago.
"I like music to be bassy, textured and percussive," she says of her her approach in the studio, as well as the DJ booth. So far it has spawned a number of remixes with much more to come. Some will be solo productions, and some will be collaborations with friend Jono Ma and jazz drummer and techno producer Rupert Clerveaux.
The first of these is the world music influenced 'DaDaDa' on Coconut Beats; a deliciously deep roller with wiggling synths, it's directly influenced by the south Indian art of Konnakol, where the artist performs percussion vocally. "It really represents what the Coconut Beats parties are about". It'll be followed up in August 2017 by 'Be Good', a more electronica-based affair with HAAi's own dreamy vocals underpinned by slow, churning drums, harmonic bell sounds and a nebula of swirling and stirring synths.
As well as 2017 marking her first solo releases under the HAAi moniker, it's a year that has seen her touring career take off. Whilst she continues her weekly and biweekly Phonox gigs throughout July and August she'll have her first Ibiza gig at the infamous Pikes alongside Midland for XOYO, she'll also be playing in Portugal for the Black Madonna's curated night at Lux Fragil, Spain for a solo gig and the most discerning festivals around such as Sunfall, Lost Village, and Oasis Festival in Morocco
"I just want to keep people excited and dancing," she says. It's a simple and honest mission, but one that HAAi completes effortlessly each and every time.