As if women in rock ’n’ roll don’t face enough stereotypes, the sisters in Haim have an extra one to live down: They’re bona fide Valley Girls.
“People think we all talk a certain way and are not the brightest crayons in the Crayola box,” said bassist Este Haim, the elder sibling in the familial trio, whose members hail from the San Fernando Valley outside of Los Angeles.
Haim (the band, pronounced “hi-yum”) is, like, totally awesomely blowing up into one of the year’s biggest breakout groups. But you won’t catch Este (28) or her sisters Danielle (25) or Alana (22) bragging about it in vapid “Valleyspeak.”
In fact, Este — who earned an ethnomusicology degree from UCLA — made a smart case for why growing up in the Valley had a positive impact on their rather dramatically changing lives.
“It was a really creative place to grow up,” she said, calling a week ago from Atlanta. “All our friends we grew up with were obsessive about music, and a lot of their parents played music.”
The Haim sisters haven’t seen much of home over the past year. They have been steadily touring since early 2013, when their single “Don’t Save Me” — a bouncy hybrid of ’80s R&B grooves and ’70s pop harmonies — hit the charts in England, where the band has made its biggest splash.
With a second, more glam-rocky single, “The Wire,” adding to the buzz, Haim’s debut album, “Days Are Gone,” finally came out stateside in September after an unusually long gestation.
“We used up a lot of time just experimenting and finding the right sound,” Este explained. “Especially since it’s our first record, we wanted to be really, really proud of it is all.”
It took the group even longer to finally come to Minneapolis. They will make their local debut Monday for a long-sold-out show at First Avenue. We apparently don’t need to remind them they’re overdue to play here — and they probably don’t need to tell you why they’re excited about it.
“Honestly, when we first started looking at dates and all the venues we could play, First Avenue was very high on our list,” said Este, who remembered watching “Purple Rain” (a “huge influence”) with her dad when she was only 10 or 11.
The Haims’ father, Mordechai, was a professional Israeli soccer player as well as a drummer, and both parents started their daughters on music lessons at an early age. Mordechai insisted that his daughters learn how to play drums alongside other instruments to round out their musical know-how.
“I think you can hear that our lyrics and melodies are really percussive,” Este pointed out.
The whole family performed for several years as Rockinhaim, a covers band (the sisters still play a cover of Fleetwood Mac hit “Oh Well”). Este and Danielle also briefly joined a preteen girl group called — get this — Valli Girls, which wound up on the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” soundtrack and some Nickelodeon shows. More recently, Danielle earned hipper credentials touring as a guitarist for Jenny Lewis and Julian Casablancas.
And then there’s the connection with Jay-Z, which Este also described as familial. His company, Roc Nation, now manages Haim.
“Yes, we have the Jay-Z phone that only rings if it’s him, and it’s even diamond-encrusted,” she quipped. In truth, she added, “We’re obviously very big hip-hop fans and love Beyoncé, too, so that makes it exciting enough to be with [Roc Nation].”