Contactmusic caught up with Local Natives who are currently appearing in venues around the UK on the NME Radar Tour.
CM: Hi Guys, thanks for your time, I know you're pretty busy at the moment!, Can you introduce yourselves and tell us who you are and how Local Natives came about?
ANDY: Well, I play bass guitar, Matt plays drums, Taylor, Ryan and Kelcey all play guitar and sing. Local Natives has been around for about a year now. We have been playing together however, for about 3 years. Ryan and Taylor met around 7-8 years ago in Southern CA and starting writing music together. Kelcey came on board I think about 4 years later and then Matt and I joined the band soon after. Kelcey, Ryan and Taylor are all originally from South Orange County CA while Matt is from Inland Southern CA and I am originally from Golden, CO. We played out a bit and kept writing for a few years while really trying to pinpoint exactly what our sound as band was going to be. At that point everyone was still in school or working full time and it was essentially a band in training. About a year a go we had put together a hand full of songs that finally everyone in the band felt was a sound all our own and hence Local Natives came about.
CM: You used to play under the name Cavil At Rest, why the change?
TAYLOR: It was a year and a half ago that we moved into a house in Orange together and decided to put all other priorities behind our dream of pursuing our music together. Ryan Kelcey and I had been playing together already for over six years, but when we hunkered down to write and record the album, it was evident that we had found our groove together. Halfway through recording we changed our name as a way to bolster our new commitment and energy together as a musical entity.
CM: How would you describe your sound and what influences do you normally site?
RYAN : Hyphen-crazed-harmony-laden-percussion-driven-indie-rock. Each of us would probably answer the influences question pretty differently, but the ones we've managed to agree on are bands like the Zombies, CSNY, Broken Social Scene, Talking Heads, etc.
CM: Things seemed to really kick off for you at this year's SXSW; nine shows in four days?! And you won over the UK crowd completely! How was it and what doors has it opened for you?
KELCEY: It's been mind-blowing really; we went over there to try and make a scratch and it feels like we made an explosion (as far as the UK is concerned). Without SXSW, we wouldn't have released the record until next year, and we really wanted to get the music out to people sooner than that, so we're thrilled.
CM: You've recently signed with Infectious Music; I hear they had a lot of competition to get your signatures on the dotted line! It must have been great to have so much interest, what made you go with them in the end?
MATT: At the end of it, it was their utmost passion for the band that sold us. This band is something that we all want to last for a very long time and it's so important that we have people joining this family for the right reasons. They fit that bill.
CM: So you all live together, is that right? Do you all write together too, how does the creative process work?
ANDY: We all call a quaint four bedroom in Los Angeles our home. Living together has been in my opinion a huge help in forming the songs we create. For instance, I'll be messing around on the guitar and come up with a line I really like. It helps that I can walk downstairs and grab one the guys and we can sort it out together right on the spot. Everyone in the band contributes to the writing. I would guess that it takes us longer to write songs vs. a lot of other bands, but the end result is always something every single one of us can stand behind.
CM: We're excited about the release of your debut album Gorilla Manor on 2nd November, is it really named after the house you live in?! Why Gorilla Manor?
TAYLOR: Yes. Living together with your four band mates is a profoundly chaotic experience. The best way to describe the reason we coined the nickname for the house is a photo matt turned into a poster that comes with our album which comes from a massive foodfight we had with friends at 4am.
CM: Your currently doing the NME Radar tour, how's that going?
RYAN : It's been awesome so far. All the bands are incredibly nice people and there's a real camaraderie going on. For us especially, being the out of towners, its been amazing playing to full rooms in all these places we've never been before. It's been busy but we're looking forward to Glasgow. We have a day off the next day, so naturally all the bands are going to party together like madmen after the show.
CM: It must be pretty hectic touring with 3 other bands, have you got any interesting stories to tell us?
KELCEY: It's a little early on to have any stories to tell, but if you ask again at the end of the tour I'm sure we'll have something. If nothing happened by Koko then I'll just stir up some controversy myself. A backstage, sacrificial s'ance of some sort? We'll have to wait and see
CM: What music are you currently listening to on the tour bus?
MATT: A couple albums that have been getting me by lately are: 'Person to Person' by Foreign Born, 'You & Me' by The Walkmen & 'Two Dancers' by Wild Beasts.
CM: How are you finding the UK and us Brits as an audience?!
ANDY: Everyone thus far has been very welcoming across the board. Audiences of course vary slightly from place to place but overall it's been a warm response.
CM: For those of us who will catch you guys on the tour, what can we expect from your live show?
TAYLOR: I think our live show is quite a bit more energetic than one would think from straight listening to our music. We love playing live and fully expect to be on the road non stop next year.
CM: What are your plans after the tour?
RYAN : We're doing shows in Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin. Then we head over to CMJ for our first time. After that we're doing a west coast tour of the states with White Rabbits. And after that we're doing a nationwide run with Edward Sharpe and Fool's Gold. The icing on this absurdly delicious cake is that our album comes out in the UK on November 2nd. Basically, our plan is to not be home until Christmas.