This past weekend, the Australian music scene was gifted with the news that two Aussie bands had picked up nominations in the 2014 Grammy Awards.

One was for Perth’s most popular rock exports, Tame Impala, the other was for Melbourne future soul outfit (and Tone Deaf Most Promising New Artist of 2012 runner-up) Hiatus Kaiyote, news which was as surprising to the members of the Coburg-bred band as much as anyone else.

In fact, when first receiving the good word last Thursday, the band’s uber-talented keys man Simon Mavin nearly had an accident.

“I was actually riding my bike and my manager called me and I almost crashed,” Mavin tells Tone Deaf, having recently returned home to roost this month following Hiatus Kaiyote’s extensive touring of Europe and America.

“It’s pretty overwhelming,” says the keyboardist of the Grammy nod and though the band are taking December to rest while their frontwoman Nai Palm continues touring in Europe, Mavin says that the recognition from the American Awards body has “kind of floored us all; it’s just ‘Wow!'”

Even in a year where Hiatus Kaiyote have made major in-roads into America, earning kudos from a full spectrum of like-minded musicians such as The Roots, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Animal Collective, and Prince off the back of their debut LP Tawk Tomahawk, Mavin says the Grammy nod is “definitely the biggest news we’ve ever received.” “I was actually riding my bike and my manager called me and I almost crashed…”

Hiatus Kaiyote are up for the ‘Best RnB Performance’ category for the reworked version of their neo-jazz fusion cut ‘Nakamarra’, that features Q-Tip; the A Tribe Called Quest figurehead tweeting his congratulations to his Australian collaborators following the nomination announcement.

Interestingly, Mavin says it’s the “biggest contact” they’ve had with the influential hip hop figure, their ‘Nakamarra’ team-up done via correspondence.

The brainchild of the collaboration was actually Salaam Remi, the musician/producer behind Flying Buddha Records – the Sony music imprint that signed Hiatus Kaiyote. “We were actually a little bit hesitant about the idea in the beginning,” admits Mavin, “[but] he dropped Q-Tip and we were like, ‘…alright. OK!'”

As for actually planning to meet up with the the rapper, the opportunity may arise at the Grammys ceremony in Los Angeles next January, with Hiatus Kaiyote “super-keen to head over” to be in attendance, if they can sort out the logistics, explains Mavin.

“I think it’s on the cards… as you know it’s pretty expensive to fly over but we’re all keen, I can say that – to go to LA, that would just be an incredible experience,” he says. There’s also the lucky charm that the 56th Annual Grammy Awards are being hosted on Australia Day, “and it’s actually my dad’s birthday too – even crazier,” adds Mavin.

Before then, Hiatus Kaiyote have “decided to take December off and become sane again – it’s been a crazy year!” Mavin notes, but they won’t rest on their laurels long. Hiatus Kaiyote have “decided to take December off and become sane again – it’s been a crazy year!”

The group are looking to capitalise on their international momentum by getting stuck straight into recording the follow-up to Tawk Tomahawk. “I think we’re just going to really try and stay home and record a killer record,” Mavin confirms, “we’re hopefully going to have an album by mid-next year, then we’ll release that… go back on the insane touring circuit.”

That schedule includes performances at Falls Festival, Golden Plains, and WOMADelaide in 2014, as well as opening for the Queen of Soul Erykah Badu on her official Bluesfest sideshows (“We did support her in Detroit and [Washington] DC when we were over there in July, which was an incredible experience.”)

Should the dream of winning their first-ever Grammy become a reality, who will Hiatus Kaiyote actually thank once up onstage at the winner’s podium?

“The Melbourne music scene, and how incredible it is,” comes Mavin’s heartening response.

“It’s great that it’s starting to get heard of ‘round the world and not just Hiatus, there’s so many groups that are just doing incredible stuff via the ease of the internet, it’s leaking and that’s great,” he continues.

“Me personally, I’d probably thank the crew in Melbourne,” says the talented ivories tinkler who’s also played for The Bamboos, Kirkis, The Putbacks and more besides.

“We’ve got an amazing crew that the Hiatus thing was birthed from, there’s a whole bunch of musicians who are really creative and pushing ground in what kind of music is fresh at the moment and that really spurred us on to make the stuff that we’re making,” he says of his hypothetical acceptance speech.

“…and my mum and dad, of course.”

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