“KUB3 - You composed your album in a house, called Gorilla Manor – the same name as the album. Did you guys come up with that name or was there already a story behind it? You’ve alluded to major parties at the house but how was it on a daily basis? Were you guys productive or procrastinators?
Kelcey Ayer – Gorilla Manor was more of a silly nickname we thought of when thinking about the house we all lived in, and since we wrote most of the album while in that house, it just seemed fitting to call the album that. There were parties definitely, but maybe the idea of it being a 24-hour party zone is a stretch. We just were messy musicians that were loud and had musician friends that were the same.
When you moved into Gorilla Manor, did you already have the goal to make an album? Or did this idea eventually evolve while living together?
We wanted to make an album and we thought that living together would have a positive impact on it, and that definitely proved to be true. Living together placed us a room away from each other so that when that creative spark came, you could grab somebody right away and create something.
The limited edition of the album features a DVD of acoustic performances. Where was it filmed?
It’s a collection of different videos we filmed ourselves. One was in a warehouse in Manhattan, another in a barn in Iowa, and the rest I believe were around Silverlake, the part of LA we live in now.
On the album, there is a cover of the Talking Heads’ Warning Sign. You said you are really big fans of them. What other kinds of music did you grow up with? Are there any idols that you aspire to?
My dad plays guitar and sings; he used to play my brothers and I early Beatles and other top 40 hits from his youth before we’d go to bed. He’s definitely a big reason I got into music in the first place. As far as idols, we don’t really idolize anyone. Anybody that’s respected for writing music while taking chances is somebody we’d aspire to be, I suppose.
“I would want to open up for Radiohead at
the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
I don’t think it could ever get more ideal than
The sound of your album is often compared to that of Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear or Vampire Weekend. How do you feel about these comparisons? And have you ever had the pleasure to meet any of these bands?
We are very flattered by the comparisons we’ve heard thus far. They are bands we really like and respect, so to be amongst that group of artists is definitely encouraging. I haven’t met any of them, but we were lucky enough to play a show at SXSW with Grizzly Bear last year. We had been playing Veckatimest non-stop before the festival, and they put on an amazing show, so that’s a great memory we all share.
One month ago, we saw your performance for Radio France where you played an epic show and, even though you had played all of your songs, you still gave us an encore. At the time, you enthusiastically remarked that the audience surprised you; can you tell us your impressions of the French and if we are in any way different than your other audiences?
Thanks! I think that most of the crowds we play to, if they are there for us, have been quite similar. But that night, you guys didn’t make a peep until the last note was finished ringing out, and then erupted into huge applause. It’s funny, because at first we’d think, “Oh shit. We mucked that one up”. And then you guys would freak out and we’d breathe a sigh of relief. That was an amazing night. I’m sorry we didn’t have enough songs! I guess there are worse problems to have!
You have quite a long tour scheduled for the upcoming months, with four dates in France and a few festivals in the US, including Coachella and SXSW in Austin where you first played to large audiences. Do you perhaps have any plans to play at European festivals this summer?
European summer festivals are definitely in the plan; we just don’t know which ones yet.
(Editor’s note: The Local Natives will be at the Solidays and Beauregard festivals )
What is one thing you are all most looking forward to when touring and one thing you are most dreading?
The thing I look forward to the most is seeing new places and playing in front of people. Most of us have girlfriends so that is probably the biggest bummer. Leaving them behind and maintaining a somewhat normal relationship is a tough thing to do.
Are you more likely to write songs on the spot, for example you’re really inspired during a tour, or at home, where you can relax and reflect?
Songs with us are rarely written on the spot, but those times when I make good headway on something have been anywhere. It doesn’t really matter where I am. That’s why whenever there is a piano or a guitar in a room, I can’t go five minutes before noodling around on it. I feel like I improve my chances of writing something great if I’m always playing.
If you could play your ideal show, what, where, and with whom would it be?
I would want to open up for Radiohead at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on a summer evening, maybe in August… I don’t think it could ever get more ideal than that!”
Interviewed by Jean-Christophe Pujos