Alter The Press!


Interview: Local Natives

Alter The Press! recently caught up with Local Natives, who were in the UK as part of The NME Radar tour and have just relased their new album 'Gorilla Manor'.

The band talked about playing this year's Latitude festival, being called one of the best new bands by Q Magazine, the impact of SXSW festival has had on their career and more.

ATP: What are your names, ages, and your respective roles in the band?
Local Natives: I'm Andy (27), and I play the bass. I'm Taylor (24) and I sing and play guitar. I'm Kelcey (23), and I sing, play keyboards and extra percussion.

ATP: How long have you been in a band together?
LN: Local Natives for about a year. We've been previously together as musicians, Kelcey and I, since High School, so we've been playing together for over six years. Then Andy came into the band about three years ago. The lineup as it is, about three years or so. But what happened is, we decided we were going to get together and make Local Natives our one and only thing. Give up our jobs, and school and whatnot, and to really go for it, and try and make it as a band. We made our album, and as the album came out we thought it would be right to change our name to Local Natives.

ATP: What was the 'old band' called?
LN: Cavil At Rest.

ATP: Did you play many shows under that name?
LN: Sure yeah, but pretty much we were just a band in training, just trying to figure out what we were trying to make. It took a while, but when Local Natives happened, it was when we figured that we has a sound we liked, and [had] unique qualities that we thought made what we loved about bands.

ATP: Hows this particular tour been for you?
LN: It's been good! We're a little odd on the bill, the only band with guitars actually. A little less dancey as the other three, but the crowds have been really receptive. Everyone, and all the other bands have been great and we get along with everybody really well. It's been a dream. To play to 200-400 people every night on our first UK tour is pretty sweet.

ATP: You've played UK shows before these ones though?
LN: Three shows in London in July. We came over for a week, and then we played Latitude festival.

ATP: What was Latitude like, and how does it differ from the festivals back in the States?
LN: Latitude was really, really special as far as festivals are concerned, almost family orientated. The stage we played for example was nestled back in this forest, and it was really amazing, and a very 'other worldly' kind of festival experience, it was really unique and we all loved it. We had an amazing time.

ATP: How would you describe your sound to those who haven't heard you yet?
It's very vocally driven, and very rhythmically driven. There is extra percussion going on between the drums that Taylor and I play. We have three singers in the band, and everyone does a lot of harmonies reminiscent of bands like, even the more more experimental Grizzly Bears.

ATP: Would you cite bands like them as your main influences?
LN: We have so many influences it's hard to say. Our writing process is really collaborative and everyone has a heavy hand it how a song comes from its conception to it's form. As a result, I think the album is really varied within itself. I think you'd be very hard pressed to pin down a couple of main influences.

ATP: You've written and recorded your new album 'Gorilla Manor'. It's currently unreleased, yet somehow you're touring the world. How has that come about?
LN: You tell me man! That is an excellent question! The album comes out November 2nd, and we just had enough going with the label weeks ago. We played South By (SXSW) and met some really great people who happened to work in the industry over here in the UK.

With this tour, NME were nice enough to give us a listen, they called up our booking agent, and said: 'would they want to do it?'

ATP: You're sharing a house in LA together. How are you managing to fund a tour over here?
LN: Credit cards, loans. We're making it work. Just figuring out any way possible! We've been poor for a really long time but we hope its going to pan out into something thats going to be worth it, we see the light at the end of the tunnel.

ATP: Q Magazine branded you as 'One of the top 10 new bands in the world'. Thats a lot of pressure to live up to.
Thats a pretty heavy title! I don't know how realistic of a title that is, but it's very flattering, it's cool. There's a lot of very good bands in that piece, like Elvis Perkins. I'm in love with the new Dirty Projectors album too. The hype thing is kind of scary, its a little bit like a curse more than a gift. I think we definitely want to do this for the long haul, forge a career. So we're trying not to listen to anything like that, anything too 'hypey', [we] keep it out of our heads, and out of what we're doing.

ATP: You said you met some people at SXSW, and LA Weekly have noted your 'friends in high places'. How important have they been in helping you along?
LN: We met some people who are working on the industry side of things, and are literally friends that we just met. Some of them we had talks with before, and they emailed us prior, but it's very much a family atmosphere. Everyone we work with we're friends with. Friends in high places makes us tend to think of people with connections, and get successful because of those connections. The only connections that we have ever made has been through them first liking our music.

That really has been the only way we got any of our 'friends in high places', its through the music. We've been really lucky, that some people really dig what we do.

ATP: Would you say then, that SXSW has been the pivotal moment in your career so far then?
LN: A definite turning point. A lot happened. It was definitely a big kick start, everything was just happening so quickly. We already had this tour booked before SXSW though.

ATP: Why after label courting did you choose Infectious Records?
LN: We really connected with them, and we didn't want a very super commercial 'shove it down your throat' attitude. We always imagined this band would be about people finding out about us naturally, and make fans who like the music first and foremost.

I think Korda (Marshall) and everybody at Infectious really saw that.

ATP: Marketing kingpin Phil Costello has also been earmarked as a helped of this band, in regards to your appearance on the BBC Live Lounge. What's his role?
LN: Ah, the Radio One thing! He is now our official manager. He lives in LA a few minutes from where we are based. He has been nothing but a great friend and helpful team member, he knew us before SXSW, and we met in December.

ATP: What else is in the pipeline for Local Natives?
LN: The albums is out now, we're really excited about that, we've been waiting for this for a while now. After this run [of tour dates] we're back in the States for a bit. Back here starting early next year in January, and definitely tour a lot from next year. Get the album out as much as possible.

ATP: So another UK tour is on the cards then?
LN: We're definitely working on it. As far as we know the plan is to be back here early next year!

Chris Powers

Alter The Press!