Okay, Reader, we’re back—well-rested, well-read, and well-tanned. Seriously, we’re like bronzed gods over here or something. You gotta see us.
But enough about us—we’re excited to return to you, our fine audience, with an interview and music from a new band we’re really into—LA’s GROUPLOVE, a band we’re 100% sure is going to be super-successful. Take a listen to their track, “Tongue Tied”—this week’s Song of the Week—and check out our interview with bassist, Sean Gadd (the hatted, beard-y fellow above), where we talk about the band’s debut full-length, how they all met, and anniversary gifts. …I may have been leading a bit on that last one.
Kindness of Ravens: Alright, we ask this of most everyone, but where’s your name come from? Should we read any sort of inter-band flintiness into the name or anything like that? Should I feel dirty when I tell people I like Grouplove?
Sean Gadd: Our name evolved from the name GROUP, which we used to shout when we were all together. It had nothing to do with being a band, but when we became a band we became GROUPLOVE, it just had a better ring to it and identifies with the story of how we came together.
KoR: Nice. Oh, and, speaking of the name, typeset-wise, is it Grouplove or GROUPLOVE? And you’re talking to designers here, so don’t be all like, “It doesn’t matter, man.”
SG: Hah. See above.
KoR: Got it. GROUPLOVE. Like we’re type-shouting. We read somewhere that you all met in Crete. Is that right? How the hell did that happen?
SG: We all ended up on the island of Crete to stay on an artist commune. We came from such different backgrounds and all had many different influences, but when we were together we were as one. I still can’t believe how this all happened. It was fate. I never believed in fate until then.
KoR: That is crazy. So, what’s Crete like? I’m picturing total paradise. But were you all there when any of this economic/political unrest was kicking up?
SG: We were staying in an old town in the middle of nowhere. It was a sleepy town with not much going on, but it was beautiful to us. This was before it all kicked off in Greece. I guess it was the calm before the storm.
KoR: Sounds awesome. You mentioned coming from different backgrounds—did you mean more musically or geographically or…?
SG: Andrew and Ryan were both born and raised in LA though. Hannah was born in San Francisco but spent many years in New York, where she met Christian, who was born in the Bronx. I was born and raised in West London. We all share our love for music and love a lot of the same artists and bands, but due to us all having different influences, we are always introducing new stuff to each other, which helps opening our minds to new stuff.
KoR: Yeah, I think that kind of mismatched matching sometimes results in a jumbled sound with bands but it really seems to work with you all. How do you all write songs? Is it a group thing…no pun intended…or is there a primary writer or does it depend?
SG: Every song is different. We have no formula and I hope we never do.
KoR: And you’re based in LA, yeah? How’s the scene there, you think? A lot of New Yorkers have a somewhat superficial view of that town, you know….
SG: LA is where we started the band. We made it the city for us—it was a fresh start, especially for Hannah, Christian, and myself. I feel London and New York have more in common with each other then New York and LA do, even though they are in the same country. It was a nice feeling to be able to write songs outside in the sunshine and LA just seemed to have so much space that it was liberating, but to be honest we rarely spend much time there now. We live in the van and in motels right now, but we are very grateful to LA. That city was and continues to be good to us—it’s where we got our break and will always have a special place in our hearts, whether we are living there or not.
KoR: No, we’ve heard lovely things from lovely people but don’t know it well ourselves. Perpetual nice weather does sound nice though…. We saw that you’ve been doing shows with acts like Florence and the Machine, who’s obviously amazing. Did that work out well for you all as far as broadening your base?
SG: The Florence and the Machine shows were great for us. It gave us a good amount of exposure and was a great experience for us at such an early stage. We will always go for the best shows out there for us and play with bands that we like and believe will make for a good billing, but right now we are happy to be able to play our own shows and know that people have come for us. It’s very humbling and we are so grateful that people turn up. Seriously, that’s why we try to give each crowd the best show we possibly can.
KoR: I’m sure you won’t disappoint NYC Wednesday. Got any good/crazy stories from the road yet?
SG: We have many crazy stories from the road, but you’re gonna’ have to get me drunk if you want me to tell you them.
KoR: Done and done, sir. Oh—swear to god I heard one of your songs in a Chrysler commercial the other day. True?
SG: Chrysler commercial? Not guilty.
KoR: Whaaaaaaat? Okay, I don’t know my cars, but I thought I heard “Colours” or something the other day on a car commercial. Eh. So I guess that means you don’t have mad car commercial money to…I don’t know…buy an island or something. Ooh! You could buy Crete!
SG: Buy an island? I can barely buy a beer. I wish we did do the Chrysler commercial.
KoR: Dude, I got the hint—I’ll buy you a beer, already. So, I actually just realized your debut album comes out on our 8-year anniversary (of marriage, not of the studio)…and ‘love’ is your band’s name…. What do you think? Good anniversary gift?
SG: Yeah, the album will be a great anniversary gift and all money you spend on Never Trust a Happy Song goes towards our island, which will be a nice anniversary gift for us in a year or two.
KoR: Sounds like a plan. Was it fun to record the full-length? Daunting? Sexually-stimulating?
SG: Making the album was not daunting at all. We were so happy to have the opportunity and backing to make a full-length album, so hopefully that shows. We had a lot of fun—you only get to make your debut album once.
KoR: Hah. Well-said. Obviously the new album’s a BIG milestone…any ‘band goals’ though? I mean, in you minds, what would be a pinnacle of success?
SG: The success that we are currently having is quite overwhelming when we stop to think about it and we’re only getting started. The pinnacle of success for me would be to be remembered and still be relevant in many years from now.
GROUPLOVE’s debut album hits the store shelves and e-shelves Tuesday, and you can order CDs, vinyl, and shirts and such directly from the band’s store. If you’re in NYC, check them out at the record release at Bowery this Wednesday.
Odd/awesome/partying/backward-y video by Jordan Bahat for “Tongue Tied” below. Top photo by Autumn De Wilde, who, appartently, has the coolest name ever.