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Grouplove Interview

LA outfit Grouplove are one of the hottest new bands going around right now, and have already garnered a huge following in Australia despite having released just the one EP, thanks in no small part to the insanely catchy and likeable single Colours. I had a chat with Hannah Hooper from the band ahead of their appearance at Splendour In The Grass and accompanying first ever Australian tour.

APYS: Hey Hannah how are you, and where are you calling from?

Hannah: Hi, I am in Seattle right now, right in front of a venue where we just soundchekced.

APYS: How’s touring going so far?

Hannah: Really well. It’s only show two, so we’re all very rested and excited seeing as it’s only early one.

APYS: Any epic stories yet?

Hannah: Well our first night of the tour was in our home base of Los Angeles, so that was pretty epic in general. We handed out hundreds of sunglasses to the audience when we sang Naked Kids and it looked insane.

APYS: This will be your first tour to Australia coming up, have you ever travelled here before?

Hannah: I haven’t. I’m so excited- I can’t believe we’re actually going to Australia.

APYS: Yeah you guys are really popular here, are you surprised at all by the fact that you’re touring internationally on the back of just the one EP?

Hannah: Yeah I am, I mean we’re humbled by it but also really excited. I can’t believe it’s taken off so much, it puts a lot of pressure on our LP.

APYS: So for those of us in Australia who probably haven’t seen you live before, what can we expect from a Grouplove gig? Sunglasses?

Hannah: Haha no, you can expect to hear the sound of the EP but we also bring a lot of personality and energy to the stage. We’re a fun band to watch I think, because you get the sound and the visuals. We’re also going to be playing with Young The Giant and it’s going to be great doing that again. It’s going to be so much fun, we’re going to be playing a lot of songs from our new LP which comes out in September, so you’ll get to hear some new music as well as the stuff from our EP.

APYS: Are there any bands on the Splendour In The Grass bill that you’re particularly excited about seeing live?

Hannah: Ah Jane’s Addiction is going to be insane, and Coldplay, and Warpaint. Also we’ve toured with Foster The People before, so it will be fun to see some old friends.

APYS: Your EP has received a hugely positive response online as well as through more traditional outlets like radio, to what extent do you think this has contributed to the success you’ve found so far?

Hannah: I think it’s contributed a lot. Basically it’s everyone promoting us and loving our album that has allowed us to tour this much and really get out there, so I guess it’s all really because of that. 

APYS: How does the song writing process work within the band?

Hannah: That’s a good question. I’d say that we’re blossoming and becoming more like a band now, compared to the EP process. Now each person kind of writes songs individually and then brings them to the band and we work on them together. We try to keep the friendship first and make it a really progressive process. We stick to a lot of jamming and just playing together so that we are actually having fun, which I think really comes through in the music. For the EP Christian wrote most of the songs and then brought them to the band- his songs had kind of a sadder tone to them, but then when we worked on them as a band I think we brought out a happier side to them.

APYS: I’ve heard that how you met as a band is a great story, for those who aren’t familiar with it could you perhaps give us a run down?

Hannah: Yeah, well I met Christian in New York when I was painting and had never done any music before. I met him after one of is acoustic shows and we pretty much fell in love at first sight. On the very next day I was invited to go to Greece for a painting residency, and I was just like you know what, this guy Christian is just too special, I’m going to ask if he can come with me. So we both got rid of all of our belongings and our apartments and bought tickets to Crete. When we were there we met all the other members of the band where we were staying in this little community of artists, and we were immediately drawn to each other out of all the people that were there. It was very much a friendship thing, I started off with drawing everyone and slowly started humming and then singing with everyone. It was a very special experience.

APYS: Speaking of your painting I heard that you did the artwork for The Morning Benders’ album ‘Big Echo’, how did that eventuate?

Hannah: Yeah, I know the band from San Francisco where I grew up and I am good friends with Chris and Julian. They were familiar with my paintings and knew exactly which one they wanted to use for their cover art. I’ve kind of turned into our band’s personal brander, I did the art for the EP as well as for merch, t-shirts, stickers, backdrops, and costumes.

APYS: You touched on this before, but the band have kind of coined the phrase ‘Never Trust A Happy Song’, do you feel this is an accurate way of describing your music?

Hannah: I wouldn’t say it describes our music. I think it’s more because many people have branded us as a happy band, I think it’s about showing that there is a little more to the songs than just pure happiness. It’s not saying ‘don’t trust the music’, it’s more about just listening to it a bit more carefully.

APYS: And this theme kind of carries into your music video for ‘Colours’, which is an upbeat song but a pretty devastating video, how did the idea for that music video come about?

Hannah: The video was actually taken from a short story- I’m completely blanking on what it was called though which is really embarrassing (turns out it’s based on the 1890 short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge). Our friend Jordan who made the video approached us with the idea and we figured most things work out best when you let an artist follow through with their own idea, so we just kind of let him do his stuff and it worked out really well in the end.

APYS: Is he the same guy who did your newest music video for Itchin’ On A Photograph?

Hannah: Yeah he was. That was a different idea, because we wanted to do something a little more representative of our live performance. He came up with the idea of filming it in a motel room because we spent so much time in motel rooms, and we’re really happy with how it turned out.

APYS: I’ve heard that was recorded during South By South-West experience, is that true?

Hannah: It was actually recorded right after South By. Jordan also recorded a bit of a documentary during our South By experience though, which was an interesting time to have the cameras rolling because we were playing like five shows a day and there was a lot of energy and stress going around. I’m actually yet to see any of the footage, so I’m both excited and terrified about that.

APYS: How was playing South By South-West for the band?

Hannah: You know, I feel like it’s a marathon for musicians. I think it really showed us what we are capable of as a band, but it looks like it would be much more fun be going there as people to watch music rather than as performers. Really we were just rushing from venue to venue on the most crowded party strip ever in Austin. It was incredible, but I would love to be able to go back and experience it as an audience member.

APYS: So like you were saying before it really seems like all band members have a say in the writing process and it feels like the end result has a very ‘group’ vibe to it (fittingly), is this intended?

Hannah: Well I think we really wanted to try to stay true to the way we recorded the EP, because those recordings were unique when we made them- it was just friends who met in Greece having a fun time, and we wanted to approach the LP the same way. We really hung out, kind of moved into Ryan’s studio, who is our drummer and producer. We just hung out there and worked on the music, it was a really natural way of doing things. So yeah, it definitely is a deliberate thing.

APYS: Your debut album is out later this year, can we expect something in the style of your EP or a bit different?

Hannah: Well it’s similar in the sense that it’s the same members, but we’re definitely unveiling some new sounds. There are some more electronic elements and some darker songs, so it’s definitely more of a full experience. I’d say the EP is the perfect sample, almost like a preview.

APYS: And finally, if you could choose any band in the world right now to tour with, who would it be?

Hannah: Oh wow, that’s a great question. There are so many bands I’d love to tour with. I guess the fact that I’m the only girl in this band means that I’d love to tour with another band with a girl, so I’d say maybe the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

APYS: Thanks so much for your time, I really appreciate it. Look forward to seeing you down here.

Hannah: Thanks a lot, yeah we can’t wait.

Grouplove’s debut EP is available from iTunes, and their debut album is out September of this year. The band will be playing at Splendour In The Grass this year alongside a stellar lineup, and will also be playing sideshows at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne on the 2nd of August and the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney on the 3rd of August, with Young The Giant supporting. Tickets are on sale now.

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One Response to “Grouplove Interview”

  1. Great read and that’s an awesome story about how Grouplove met as a band. Looking forward to their Sydney show in August.

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