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What Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim Can’t Live Without

From left: Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim. Photo-Illustration: Getty

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hairspray and the electric toothbrush. We asked musicians Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim — whose latest album, Women In Music Pt. III, is out now, and who are notoriously hive-minded — about the cookies, guitar tuner, and hair ties each of them say they can’t live without. 

Danielle: When we were first playing around L.A., we only had one tuner, so every time we had to tune our instruments we’d have to unplug our pedals and plug into a pedal tuner we all shared. We graduated to two tuners in 2012 or 2013. There’s a video of us on YouTube at one of our first shows, and we’re like, “Sorry, guys. Este, take this and tune your bass.” It was rough times. A few years later, I saw one friend had this Snark guitar tuner and thought, Why don’t we have one of those? The Snark is so great; you clip it on your guitar and tune anywhere you need to.

Alana: Thank God Danielle found this. The Snark is so easy and convenient. It’s battery-operated, so you don’t have to plug it in anywhere. And it’s so small.

Danielle: You can just pop it into your purse.

Este: We each have our own Snark tuner now, and it’s less chaotic. Seriously, the Snark has helped us so much — onstage, recording, anytime we need to tune, it’s so easy. No more awkward set pauses.

Alana: I think if I actually sat down and calculated how much I’ve spent on hair ties in my lifetime, I probably could afford to buy a house by now. When we were kids, our mom never let us cut our hair. We had long-ass Children of the Corn hair — we looked like the really weird kids because our hair was basically down to our ankles. So hair ties were our savior. Goody just makes the best ones. There really is a science to a good hair tie. You need one that’s not going to rip your hair out, not going to be too tight, and not going to give you a headache. We each have the thickest of thick hair, so we need a sturdy hair tie.

Este: A gentle hair tie has been really important for the maintenance of my hair, which is actually thinning — welcome to 34! So I use a Goody hair tie literally every day.

Danielle: Yeah, they’re just the best. Even though my hair is a little shorter now, I still put it up all the time, and these are the only ones with the right balance of qualities.

Danielle: We just love Corona. Honestly, when we heard that the value of its parent company’s stock went down after the coronavirus hit, it made us so sad. I don’t really drink that much on tour, but this is actually something that I will partake in after a show. One beer is just enough to calm my nerves. I have all this adrenaline leftover, so I just crack one ‘Rona, and I’m good.

Alana: It’s all we drink come five o’clock: Corona with a lime — always with a lime. We’ve been drinking it for so long; I have so many memories of being at a friend’s pool in the valley drinking it. When I was 16 and figured out how to get beer, I would always get Corona. I don’t condone underage drinking or anything, though. We were bad kids.

Este: We were very bad kids. It was always someone outside of 7/11 who got us beer. We’re big beer drinkers. I love the taste of Corona. It’s just so good.

Alana: This is a constant in the Haim household. Our mom drove a minivan with a CD player in it, and you could have six CDs in the player at once. But this was the CD that was always played. The album was such an integral part of our upbringing. It’s music that you really grow with. When I was listening as a kid, I had no idea what she was talking about, but as I got older, I understood everything so much more. I feel like every song of hers that I’ve been singing since I was a child takes on different meanings for every chapter in my life. I always find new things to latch on to — the music never gets old. And I have so many amazing memories with my parents and sisters just listening to this album.

Danielle: Alana really said it all. It’s been my quarantine record. I mean, it’s always a favorite, but I’ve been listening to it a lot recently. Our mom really only played this CD and Nick of Time by Bonnie Raitt. It was just Joni and Bonnie — our two friends.

Este: I remember being in high school and thinking, If I quote Joni Mitchell, people will want to be my friend because Joni Mitchell is really cool. I’m going to butcher it now, but she would say something like, “When you’re a painter, you paint a painting, and it hangs in a gallery or in someone’s house for the entirety of its life. No one ever told van Gogh to paint another Starry Night. But with a singer, you play a song and then the moment is gone.” I thought that was so cool, and I could quote it exactly back then. A lot of times I wouldn’t even say I was quoting Joni Mitchell, though. I would just say it and see what people said.

Danielle: Steve Lacy, who’s another musician, told me about this app. It’s been really useful for us. I use it for the drum machines, but I think it has synths and stuff on it. We all are drummers, so when we’re writing music, even before there are real chords or something, we start with a drumbeat. It’s really easy to program something. You can pick whatever you want within the four bars or within the 16 counts, and it creates a sequence.

Alana: Danielle will literally punch her iPad. I’ll walk into the room and she’ll be aggressively hitting her iPad, but then she makes a really crazy drumbeat and we’ll write to that. With this app, whatever your fingers touch is a different drum — a hi-hat or a snare or a kick drum or whatever. Then it sequences it. It helps us be super spontaneous.

Danielle: Exactly, it’s a great way to get out of your head, too. I’ll just press random buttons and be like, Oh, this is cool. It really helped us on our last album because there are so many different sounds within the program, so we were just free to experiment and try different things. After we get the drumbeat, Este will play something on the bass, or Alana will come up with some chords, or we’ll figure out a guitar riff. Then after that, usually melody and lyrics. But a lot of our songs start from drums.

Este: I’m honestly not as tech savvy as my sisters — and if we can, I prefer to use actual drums — but this app is a really easy way to just get us started and, like Danielle said, try things we maybe never would’ve thought of. We really geek out over drums. They were kind of our first foray into playing music. I actually studied Brazilian drums in college.

Alana: Thrifty ice cream is sold at Rite Aid, and it is just so good. You can buy it and bring it home, but it’s kind of weird when you take it home. It’s really an in-store kind of thing.

Danielle: I bring it home! It is just fine to bring it home. It’s the best ice cream — the mint chocolate chip is so good. This was something our dad would always take us to do, and we’ve just kind of continued on with it. Rite Aid was just our ice-cream spot, and I still can’t find better ice cream.

Este: There’s really nothing better than Thrifty rocky-road ice cream.

Alana: Yeah, rocky road for sure. I was also a huge rainbow-sherbet fan for a while too. I just have these vivid memories of going there with our dad and specifically getting rainbow sherbet.

Alana: We spent so much time at Canter’s before the pandemic. I was there at least once every three days. I miss it. It’s such a bummer that I can’t just go hang there, because it really is our second home. I’ve been going there since I was 4 or 5 years old. We know everything about Canter’s — like if anyone had questions, we could answer them; we could probably write a book about Canter’s. They let us go in the back to see the bakery where everything is made — it’s all made in-house: the meat, the pickles, the desserts. Being a nice Jewish girl from the valley, making friends with someone who owns a deli is, I think, when I reached my peak. They know my order: pastrami Reuben with a black-and-white cookie. The black-and-white cookies are just the perfect end to a deli meal.

Danielle: The bakery in general is just really special because it’s all done in-house. I probably eat the black-and-white cookies the most, but I also like the rugelach — it depends on how I am feeling that day. But there’s just no way I can go there without getting something.

Este: My most vivid memories of Canter’s are of me and my sisters going there after shows — getting a bite to eat and talking about our music is how we really bonded. One time, I sat next to Taylor Hanson there. I must’ve been 15 years old. We have the same birthday, so I went up to him and was like, “Your name is Taylor Hanson. My name is Este Haim. You were born on March 14. I was born on March 14. You have a band with your family called Hanson, and I have a band with my family called Haim.” I told him we should be friends, and he was very, very kind to me at the time. But I have a feeling I completely weirded him out.

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What Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim Can’t Live Without