Local Natives – interview

The Los Angeles based band caused quite the stir in 2009 with the release of their first album ‘Gorilla Manor’ youthful, euphoric full of plea full vocals, a cacophony of rhythm and bountiful melodies back with the powerful and enthusiastic live sets.

Once again there is a buzz of excitement in the air as the title and release date of second album ‘Hummingbird’ is announced. ‘Hummingbird’ was produced in partnership with The National’s Aaron Dessner will be out on January 28 through Infectious Music and followed by a six date UK tour in February.

Local Natives have played several special pre-release dates to showcase new tracks, alongside their old, in the US and Japan, and they will follow these with two dates in the UK before the end of 2012 – an already sold out date at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen on December 6 and an appearance at All Tomorrows Parties Festival at Chamber Sands on December 8.

We got a chance to have a quick chat with Taylor Rice and Ryan Hahn when they played the Hostess Club Weekender in Japan and we first talked about the up-coming new album ‘Hummingbird’

Ryan: I definitely think the album represents a lot of growth for us as musicians we pushed ourselves a lot to try new thing, experiment. On a lyrical emotion level I feel we dug a whole lot deeper laid a lot more things bare and tried to be more honest.

Taylor: It is a more directly personal album.

LTW: As a group or individually?

Ryan: As a group and individually I think.

Taylor: We had quite a crazy tumultuous last two year a lot happened in our personal lives and the band grew really we had crazy stuff to deal with had to deal with so I think we have always written songs from a personal point of view its easily part of the narrative but this time it’s more direct.

Ryan: The word I would use is catharsis it really feel like although we did have to go through a lot of heavy stuff it feels joyful a being able to look back and feel better for having made it through.

LTW: Did these situations impact on the harmony of ‘Gorilla Manors’?

Ryan: Everything we went through came about after we wrote that record (Gorilla Manors) they came after we started touring.

Taylor: I wouldn’t say the new record isn’t harmonious either. When we play the new songs, this today is only our third show so far only New York, LA and today so it’s new and we didn’t know how it was going to feel playing these songs live because the writing and recording process was way different, but they do feel joyful it doesn’t feel like a bummer. We are having a lot of fun playing the new material it is so nice to be playing live after not doing so for almost a year.

LTW: You mentioned the process for recording for ‘Hummingbird was different. In what way?

Taylor: Well ‘Gorilla Manor’ was very straight forward; it was five musicians in a room writing songs live then and there. It was pretty much just us in a room doing it live. Now we still jam and play off each other a lot and we would record as we went. We were opening it up saying instead of it having to be all done in this one sphere of the room – we expanded out.

There were no rules we said let’s do whatever we want and that really opened it up to a lot of different mediums and avenues for song writing and experimentation with different tones and instruments. There is one song for example where the rhythm is all drum sequence that is something you never would have seen on our first record.

LTW: How have you found transferring that sound from the new album to these live shows?

Ryan: I don’t think there is a huge difference but because these were not written live already, were not set so we are interpreting them live it’s been kind of fun, adding instrument’s on stage and people having multiple roles. We still figuring it out as we go but I still think we stay pretty true to the record.

Taylor: I think we tend to have an aggressive energy when we play I think and that contrast is a little a bit more stark with this record I think the difference between the recorded version and the live version is we bring maybe an attacking aggressive mentality to it.

LTW: There is usually something a little disconcerting about your videos do you set out to do that or am I reading too much into them?

Taylor: I feel surprised, because we do want to make them disconcerting, but then they turn out and we are like ‘argh, it’s not as disconcerting as we wish it was’.

Ryan: It’s such a weird medium it’s past the hay day of the music video a bit. In the sense of big budget’s and all that kind of stuff so now you have to be more creative on a smaller scope and we’re still kind of figuring our way through a whole lot of ideas that are thrown around and then when the end product is may not be what we wanted it to be but we have fun.

Taylor: I think the one that was the most fun to make was ‘Who Knows Who Cares’.

LTW: That is the most unsettling one; there is this Lord of the Flies-eqe undercurrent.

Ryan: Yer that’s true, it was our intention don’t know if it comes through.

Taylor: We wanted to it to be way more.

Ryan: It was fun we got to hang out for the weekend out in the woods.

LTW: Are looking forward to hanging out in the UK again?

Taylor: Oh Yes, it is our home away from home for you know so long. We haven’t played a UK show in two years, we miss it.

Ryan: It will be kind of nuts especially as we are playing smaller spaces getting back and playing our favourite spot’s; it is going to be fun.

As the chat turns to James Bond, dark film adaptations of comic book heroes and local customs it’s is sadly quickly time to wind things up and return the borrowed quiet space to the intended musicians.

Keep up to date with Local Natives via their website www.thelocalnative.com and through their Twitter @localnatives

Local Natives sophomore album ‘Hummingbird’ is due for release on January 29 and can be pre-ordered/purchased from the usual outlets.

Tickets for their February shows went on sale yesterday (November 9) – we predict them selling out fast so to avoid missing out jump on these ASAP.

  • Leeds Brundenell Social Club February 8th
  • Edinburgh Electric Circus  February 9th
  • Dublin Whelan’s February 11th
  • Liverpool Kazimier February 12th
  • Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms February 13th
  • London Scala February 14th
All words by Katie Clare. You can read more from Katie on LTW here.


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