Local Natives

An Open House

Nov 18, 2009 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Issue #27 Summer 2009 - Jarvis Cocker
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Having recently moved into a new place in Silver Lake, CA, vocalist/ guitarist Taylor Rice of Local Natives says he and his bandmates are still feeling out just how much noise they can get away with before the neighbors start to complain. "We're a little wary because the landlord here is very, very strict and crazy and super uptight. She really scared us that we were going to get evicted immediately if we make any noise. She said, 'You're in a band?' and we said, 'Yeah,' and she said, 'Oh you can't be playing in here.' We've just started to test the waters. We had this party [a couple weeks ago] and we went till 3 a.m. and we were loud. No issues. And so last week we brought all our drums and stuff into the living room and just jammed during the day. Again, no issues. So I'm feeling the frenzy is going to start up, hopefully."

Regardless of how much trouble it may inevitably cause, the sharing of one roof is what Rice believes to be the crux of Local Natives' musical output thus far. The constant, close proximity of the long-time friends—Rice, fellow vocalist and guitarist Ryan Hahn, vocalist and keyboardist Kelcey Ayer, bassist Andy Hamm, and drummer Matt Frazier—successfully established the foundation for their forthcoming debut LP, Gorilla Manor, a raucous mix of organic pop that places three-part vocal harmonies and integrated tribal percussion at the forefront of its arrangements.

Recorded late last summer with producer Raymond Richards, the songs for Gorilla Manor were conceived during the quintet's first cohabitation experiment in a quiet section of Orange County. "It wasn't like an Animal House situation," says Hahn. "It was just more of the fact that there were so many people in the house all the time with maybe somebody jamming in the corner and other people watching a movie. It was chaos all the time, but it was really cool because we could write and hang out together and be a band for the first time."

"That's how that term 'Gorilla Manor' kind of got coined, from that house," adds Rice. "I like to think that the spirit of Gorilla Manor has traveled with us to the new house."

Bringing the looseness and inclusiveness of these writing sessions into the studio proved to be a chief concern for the band when it came time to record. "The demo releases that we had done, we were just super unhappy with," says Rice. "They didn't sound anything like how we sounded live, and so we would just emphasize that every day to Raymond. We really wanted it to sound natural and raw and we didn't want to over-compress anything. We just wanted it to be as much a natural progression of us playing."

Local Natives hope Gorilla Manor finds its way to store shelves later this year; as of press time, they were unsigned and in talks with labels. In the meantime, with more touring scheduled, Rice says the most likely place you'll probably find him is with his roommates. "We did this month-long tour once, and we were crammed together for an entire month straight, and when we came home from that tour, everyone said, 'What do you want to do tonight?' We just all hung out. We probably should take some more space from each other, but we're just really close friends."

www.thelocalnatives.com

 



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