Local Natives at Coachella 2010
Home Grown Harmonies
May 04, 2010
Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Web Exclusive
Former Under the Radar "Pleased to Meet You" artists Local Natives have been busy. No longer Los Angeles' little secret, since the release of harmony-filled debut album Gorilla Manor, the quintet has been constantly touring, both at home and abroad.
Under the Radar caught up with Local Natives at Coachella for a laugh-filled chat about learning on the road, life after day jobs...and Kathy Bates.
Laura Studarus: About six months ago when Under the Radar interviewed you, you mentioned you all lived together. Is that still the case?
Ryan Hahn: Well two of us have moved out.
Kelcey Ayer: The difference between then and now is literally this year we've toured so non-stop that we just live on the road together. In a van. And in a hotel.
You live together. You tour together. You make music together. Are you The Monkees?
Andy Hamm: No, no, we're defiantly not!
Taylor Rice: We do know the whole Monkees' catalog.
Hahn: No, no, that's not true.
Ayer: At any moment we can play you one of their songs.
Taylor Rice: Start naming them!
Matt Frazier: But yeah, we all love living together and having that experience as far as the writing and just having the whole mentality of how we're going to go about touring and writing the songs. That helped a lot for us.
You seem pretty bonded.
Hahn: Yeah, we have so many inside jokes. Which is probably annoying to everyone on the outside. So we've made that bond.
Yeah, but now you're a unit. If you irritate people you can do it as a group.
Rice: Well we have been for a while because we've all been playing together for four years.
It seems from an outsider's point of view you just came out of nowhere.
Frazier: That is not true!
Well, how does it feel going from playing a residency at a little club like Spaceland to a festival like Coachella?
Hahn: It's cool to see! It's pretty early in the day and seeing so many people at the tent, it was phenomenal.
Hamm: Yeah! I couldn't stop myself from smiling on the way out. I was trying to like, act cool.
Frazier: We're still getting used to it. We were still very surprised about that we packed Spaceland the last time we played it. That seemed like such a huge achievement for us. Coming from Orange County up to LA. We had been in LA for what, six months at that point. So we were really lucky to play Spaceland which has a great reputation as being a prestigious venue in LA.
With all this touring you've been doing at home and abroad, have you noticed the audiences in different countries reacting differently to your music?
Hahn: We noticed a stronger response here and there. It's always a surprise. I always think about Holland. We showed up there, and at those shows people were singing along and a lot of them didn't speak English that well. Same in Sweden.
Rice: Yeah, Sweden.
Ayer: Sometimes you get a little bit of the culture, like you get a little bit of a sense. The demeanor's a little bit different, but in general it's very surprising, and shocking, and warm everywhere we've gone. It's been very very wonderful for us as a touring band. I think that's what we all love the most, as a band is to tour and play live. That kind of relationship.
So when you're touring from place to place, what keeps performing fresh every night?
Ayer: To me, personally, it's the audience. Playing music, in front of an audience, in a room, I guess as simple as it sounds, it's just new every time. That exchange that happens between an audience and band, for me it's just that. Every show can be different in that way.
Rice: It's still very new to us. The fact that we'd be playing a show in Holland, at all at this point, it is very much something where we have to walk off and remind ourselves, "Wow we just played Coachella!" I remember coming to Coachella six years ago with Kelcey and it just seemed like something that wouldn't happen for like, 15 years. But then, we're here.
Hamm: Yeah, it's really cool to be here!
Gorilla Manor is still fairly fresh. Are you guys looking ahead at all to the next album?
Hahn: People keep asking us that!
Ayers: Well, we're writing. You know what I mean? We're always collaborating. We have a bunch of ideas floating around, but in reality this album came out like two months ago. Really.
Frazier: We've had the songs for a bit. A few of the songs are fairly recent, and a few of them we've been playing for a long time. The difference is we used to play them for like, five people in like a porta potty in the corner. And now it's more people.
Yeah, but you rocked that porta potty!
Rice: [Laughs] We did!
Ayres: We own that porta potty man!
Hamm: [Laughs] Yeah man, nicely done! Well said! Cheers! [Band clicks drinks]
Frazier: We're very excited about working on the next album. The time that we're going to set aside, I feel very very anxious and excited to see the new music that we'll come up with. I have a lot of ideas I'm psyched on.
Ayer: The last record, I was taking time off work, and going to El Pollo Loco every day. So the next record will be much different. So much happier! Spending the time to get everything that we want right. It's definitely a debut record. It sounds like a debut, it sounds like we just kind of did it. I felt good about the songs. But I'm looking forward to the time we'll spend on [the next record].
You mentioned taking time off work. All you all free from your day jobs now?
Ayers: This is our day job!
Frazer: So far.
Hahn: We're hoping it sticks for the rest of the year.
Ayers: [Laughs] The rest of the year!
Hahn: We're hanging in there.
Are you able to collect ideas on tour?
Frazier: I think especially in an environment like a festival where you're seeing all these amazing bands, it's very inspiring.
Hahn: Yeah. It's just inspiring on so many levels. Just as a musician. So yeah, I definitely like it. For me, watching a band like Dirty Projectors, you guys were talking about Grizzly Bear, we're so new to the festival thing, and how to play on a big stage and deal with the sound and all that, it's just really inspiring to see bands that are so tight and doing it so well and pushing the boundaries of musicianship all that. All around us, this whole festival, all three days have been really really inspiring.
So looking ahead, if you could have any one's career path, who could it be?
Ayers: I was thinking about Dave Grohl man. That guy's had a crazy career! I don't think he's arced down yet! He's still going!
Frazier: I'd say Thom Yorke; he's had great career progression with Radiohead and doing the solo thing. He's still incredible, the persona everything. I really respect that about him.
You really can't argue with that.
Frazier: You really can't. A lot of people probably say that, but I think a lot of people say that for a reason because he's such a well-respected artist. I'd definitely say that.
Ayers: Did anyone say Radiohead yet?
Frazier: No, I said Kathy Bates. Because I really liked her performance in Titanic.
Ayers: [Laughs] Yeah, it was amazing she could do both roles in Titanic.
Hahn: Jude Law's career for you?
Hamm: [Laughs] The inside jokes are coming out! It's not going to make sense!
Hahn: Kathy Bates is great, because she's been around for awhile. You know, longevity is the key! [Laughs]
Ayers: I'd say she's well respected. I want to be associated with Kathy Bates! It's time!
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