A Conversation with Haiva Ru (Allie Paige)

I recently heard a fire-y song on my Spotify's Discover weekly playlist called "Work It on Out" (click the link to listen! ) by a Santa Barbara indie rock band called Haiva Ru (pronounced hi-vuh-roo).  After playing the song repeatedly for about a week, I did more research on the band's roots. I realized my connection to the lead singer, Allie's, voice stemmed from a previous connection to a worship song from Isla Vista Church that my sisters and I were captivated by a couple of years ago titled,  "Dancing on the Moon."  

I had the opportunity to chat with Allie Merrill (lead singer) and Derek Marzano (drummer) as they were headed to band practice in Los Angeles to hear about the band's story and upcoming EP release. 

 Haiva ru band consists of Shane McCarter (electric), Derrick Marzano (drummer), Allie Merrill (lead singer) and Kai Sheets (bass).

Haiva ru band consists of Shane McCarter (electric), Derrick Marzano (drummer), Allie Merrill (lead singer) and Kai Sheets (bass).

Who is Haiva ru? And what does Haiva ru mean?

Allie: We randomly formed because a friend of mine put me up to playing my first show in Santa Barbara. Which I took the challenge and booked, and then later realized I didn't have a band yet. We all knew each other from church, so it wasn't hard to piece the band together on such short notice. 

Haiva Ru means nothing. I liked the way it sounded and it looked aesthetically pleasing to me.  And since it isn't actually real words in any language, it wasn't already taken, so we went with it! 

Who would you say your influences are for your sound?

Allie: As a band, we would all say something totally different. Writing style and when I envision style, I really love Half Moon Run, Dope Lemon (solo project of Angus and Julia Stone), but I also like classic rock. My all time favorite is Led Zeppelin!

Derek: No way! ME TOO!

Allie: We clearly have never had this conversation before. (laughs)  

Derek: I have an interesting mix. I love metal and classic rock. A lot of my influences came from hip hop. I just think more of the ability to create lines and rhythms for songs, but then taking it from listening to classic rock and metal showed me the intricacies of drumming to fill a space. But using drums more artfully I suppose hip hop was my influence. 

Allie: If you asked our electric guitarist, Shane, he'd say like Circa Survive or something. 

Tell me about your favorite song or album growing up.

Allie: Honestly favorite band...Supertramp. 

Erica: I don't think I know Supertramp! 

Allie: Oh my gosh. They're the band that sings "dreamer, wish I was a dreamer... " They're in like all the 80's movies. Favorite song... did you watch Veggie Tales?

Erica: (laughs) Oh yes

Allie: My sister and I always sang the cheeseburger song. (laughs)

What feelings do you hope to evoke from your listeners when they listen to your EP?

Allie: It's a pretty moody EP. There's a lot of melancholy tones that came out of some really, really sad places. Though the songs may sound happy, the lyrics are pretty depressing which I kinda like.  For me, I've been listening to it on repeat since we recorded it.  It's easy to get lost into the record with a feeling that portrays a "happy sadness." Derek, what would you say?

Derek: I feel like it almost makes emotions that a lot of people are afraid of, not that scary. Like when you can sing stuff that came out of a sad place, but then sing it in an upbeat way. It's just life. It's just what we all experience. We can have fun and be sad and be happy and go to a show and get excited. You can get all in the same place from the EP. It's life and that's okay. The only word I can think of  to describe the EP is humanizing. 

Erica: We're all going through the same stuff. 

Allie: Dude yeah. The main song that we named it after called "Wildflowers." I wrote that song a few days after my sister passed away. My sister actually made the artwork for the EP. It sets the tone for the whole album. It evokes some really intense, sad emotions but it brings it to a level of where we can all come together to the same place.

If you could perform at a dream show, event, festival where would you go?

Allie: I would love to play a main stage at Coachella. If I could bring Led Zeppelin back and play with them. I'd also have so much fun playing with Dr. Dog.  Oh!! You know what I take it all back. If I played a show with Brand New, I'd be happy to die right then.

Towards the end of the conversation, we had a little game of comparisons asking each other random questions. I learned Allie is a girl after my own heart - a Coca-Cola lover, Michelle Branch fan, 150% dog person, and a 2008 More Life Drake album fanatic. 

Allie Merrill (Allie Paige) recently released her solo worship album, called Miles and Years.  Haiva ru will be releasing their EP in February. 

 cover art for their upcoming EP releasing February 2018

cover art for their upcoming EP releasing February 2018

Erica Tello