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Interview: HAAi Describes Her Favorite Chonks, Talks New EP 'Systems Up, Windows Down'

We catch up with the HAAi to talk the most important thing in life -- chonky animals.


This is probably a headline you weren’t expecting today, but here we are, in the shadow of our lord and savior – the chonk. If you don’t peruse animal internet, chonk is a round and rotund type of animal, normally a cat or dog, but there any species of animal can be chonky. Australian DJ and producer HAAi just released a new EP Systems Up, Windows Down, which captures the sort of eclectic techno and electronic music that she puts out. Out now on Mute, one of the songs is named "CHONKIBOI,” so given my love for chonk internet (a pure and beautiful place), we asked her to share her favorite chonks around. Get your copy of the EP now as you bask in the overwhelming glory of the chonk.

1. Round.Boys (Instagram)- This is one of my favorite Instagram accounts. It’s a stream of genuinely chonky animals, as well as pretty cute dogs that have been groomed to look like round chonks. For instance, there is a Japanese silverpoodle who is the cutest roundest boi going. The account is called Yorikokoro.
2. Oh Lawd He Coming (follow the hashtag) - I follow this hashtag, I’m not ashamed. My feed is filled with chonky cats daily.

3. Chonky Animals (Instagram) - Another Instagram account dedicated to wonderfully chonky animals. Not much more to say on this. What ya see is what ya get.
4. Obie (Pet.Comic) - A once overly chonky rescue sausage dog with a very inspiring story on how he lost 50 pounds so he could keep up with the other dogs. He was social but his feet didn’t touch the ground for 8 human months because he was too thiccc. Bit of a triumphant tearjerker.
5. Chonky Cats (Instagram) - Again, this is literally an Instagram account dedicated to chonky cats. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just big ole chonky felines.
6. Mr. Dubblesworth (Instagram) - A chonky hairless cat who loves belly rubs and snacking but hates mornings. Also quite a big snorer. He seems like a god guy with a big heart.
7. Panda - C’mon, the panda is the ultimate playful chonk. Not only are they naturally thicc, but they spend around 12 hours a day eating, hence their chonky stature. Also, fun fact, some captive pandas would fake pregnancy so they could get more attention and food. Very talented)
8. Random Chonky Cat - This was posted by my girlfriend’s brother Hugh. He just saw this absolute unit sitting on a bar stool like a person and was like “what a beautiful chonk.” I love her, she so thicc.

HAAi chonky cat

Bar Chonk

In addition to her favorite chonks, we also chat about the new EP and dealing with added attention since she won the Essential Mix of the year in 2018.

1. What did you learn from making other genres of music that have then been applied to your electronic productions now?

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One of the biggest things is the band obviously played live a lot. So when I am writing new tracks these days, I'm kind of doing it as though it's going to be played live. It always has quite a dramatic intro before it really gets to the beat. The second thing would be trusting yourself a bit more. It's easier to feel a bit insecure in a band environment than when you've just got yourself to rely on.

2. How do you approach longer projects like big EPs and albums? Do you just compile music together or do they need to work in cohesion?

For an LP, it feels like it has to go on a bit of a journey. While an EP can be more about where you're at sonically at the time. With the music that I make, it doesn't really have a beginning, middle and an end. It doesn't really tell a story, it's just how I like to make music at the minute. I definitely think an LP really lends itself to taking it on a little bit more of a journey. Even the stuff that I've been writing for the LP. I've never done this before, but I'm approaching it totally differently, which I'm really excited to do. I feel I'm leaning on experimenting a different way as opposed to it being an EP where you're releasing up to six tracks. You want an LP to be more of a statement.

3. How do you come up with the names for your songs because they are certainly more interesting than the average.

They are really more about being a bit tongue in cheek. You can get swept up in the seriousness of making music and perfecting things. I thought it was kind of nice to lighten the mood a little bit with fun names. I did the same with my last release as well. I think I will continue to do so.

The names don't particularly have any deep down, heartfelt meaning except for "Systems Up, Windows Down." Where I come from in Australia is a very remote mining town and there's not really a lot to do. On the weekends, when we all got our licenses, we would go and do laps around our shitty town. Everyone would wind the windows down and turn the stereos right up and blast music. It was called "systems up, windows down."

4. How have you managed the increased attention over the past year? Are there times you just need to isolate yourself from the noise?

I really try my best to not absorb too much otherwise it can get a bit overwhelming. It's nice to get excited about things, but when there's a lot going on and you know you've got a pretty big job to do, I try to keep my blinkers on a little bit. When you're constantly moving or either away or in the studio it's pretty easy to escape from that.

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