Thursday, October 11, 2012

INTERVIEW: Grouplove

Grouplove brought the love to St. Louis on Monday, Oct. 8 at the Pageant in Delmar Loop. The band is touring this fall to promote their debut album “Never Trust a Happy Song.” The album found success with songs such as “Colours” and “Tongue Tied.” Grouplove, which consists of members Ryan Rabin, Hannah Hooper, Christian Zucconi, Sean Gadd and Andrew Wessen, met in 2008 while attending an artist’s community in Greece.
A Q&A with Sean Gadd, Grouplove bassist
Everyone in the band comes from a different background and from different places. Do you feel this diversity helps?
For us, absolutely. Things work differently for different people, but for us, we come from London, California and New York, and we all bring different influences to our music. Even though we have different influences and very different upbringings there is something that is really special with us where we connect when it comes to music and sense of humor and being together. In our case, the differences make us more interested in each other.
Does it ever get chaotic at times? 
It gets chaotic in a good way. We bounce off of each other. We don’t fight too much and because we haven’t known each other all of our lives and haven’t fallen into bad habits with each other, from early on we learned how to discuss things. We were all so excited about doing something new and being around each other. It’s very natural with us. We are honest with each other early on and we don’t let things brew.
Can you describe how the band came together?

Hannah Hooper, vocalist, performs with Andrew Wessen, guitarist at the Grouplove concert Oct. 8. PHOTO BY SEAN FUNICIK
It is a story that we talk about a lot, because we met in Greece. We were all there on our own separate journeys and Hannah and Christian, who are a couple, they had recently met and fell for each other in New York City and wanted to get out. So they decided to go to Greece. Hannah had been invited to this artist’s residency, which is kind of insane. These few American guys, one of whom is our guitarist’s brother, had some land and wanted to do something special with it in Greece where they invite artists, painters and performers to go there and create so they can have a nice environment with this land. I was there because my friend from London, who is also Greek, ran into these guys and got invited and he invited me. Ryan and Andrew are old time friends from Los Angeles and they were there for pretty much the same reasons. That’s the short story.
So the album is basically self-produced. Did you do that intentionally, and is that something you want to continue doing?
Yeah, absolutely. Ryan, the drummer, produced it from his home studio in downtown Los Angeles. We like to do everything in house right now, it’s working for us. When you’re in a band you always have to keep an open mind, who knows what is going to happen in the future? But right now we are really happy with Ryan. He does the producing and Hannah does all of the artwork. She designs everything from our album covers to our T-shirts and has a big role when it comes to our set design.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

INTERVIEW: The Wombats

The Wombats found success in the UK with its 2007 debut album, “The Wombats Present: A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation.” The band’s new album, “The Wombats Proudly Present: This Modern Glitch,” has recently received radio play in the United States. As a result of the new publicity, The Wombats found a group of dedicated fans attending the show, where the band brought its distinct combination of indie, punk rock and new wave.
“The concert was fun and the crowd was more energetic than expected,” said Erin Hindalong, senior media communications major. “I was surprised how many people were as into it as myself — usually an English band in St. Louis wouldn’t have people so into the music.”
Swedish outfit The Royal Concept and fellow Brits, Morning Parade, opened for The Wombats. Morning Parade has a hit of its own called “Headlights.” The Wombats brought its infectious energy to the discounted show. Tickets cost $1.05 each, in promotion of the radio station 105.7 The Point, which sponsored the show.
“I wanted to see The Wombats when I was abroad in London, but it was sold out instantly and was too expensive,” Hindalong said. “When I found out they were doing a show here for only a dollar, I was so excited.”
The band played hit singles from its new album, such as “Tokyo (Vampires and Werewolves)” and “Jump Into the Fog,” as well as international hits “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” and “Moving to New York.”
Here’s a Q&A with The Wombats drummer Dan Haggis about the band’s new album, touring and the band’s musical influences: 
Is this your first time in St. Louis? Do you like touring America? 
This is our first time here. We are really looking forward to the show. We saw The(Gateway) Arch and took some photos, and we saw a few crazy thunderstorms. It’s really exciting being so far away from home and hearing people sing your songs back at you. Everyone’s just so friendly.
Do you feel any pressure being from Liverpool and graduating from the 
Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (Paul McCartney’s school)? 
I don’t think so. At the school, the facilities were great and you get to meet a lot of like-minded people, but don’t think you have any more chance of succeeding than any other band. It’s a good place to learn but we had to work hard. We didn’t feel any pressure from the school; we had to put pressure on ourselves.
Who are your other musical influences? 
All sorts of stuff. With the first album, we were more a three-piece punk band — really raw. On the second album, we have a lot more influences. We have a much more electronic influence like Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode. We like everything, really. Folk — we all really like Elliot Smith, and we like the punk stuff as well. We like to rock out. Other influences are The Beach Boys, Neil Young, the list goes on and on.
There was a big gap between the two albums. Was this done intentionally? 
Well, we spent a lot of time on the road: two years. We wanted to explore new things and new sound, so we took our time. It took ages to get mixes and the artwork done, and the label kept delaying things. We were lucky that the label wasn’t impatient with us and allowed us to take our time. This was our second chance and we didn’t want to fuck it up because we might not get a third chance. We wanted to make sure to get it right.
Do you prefer being on the road or recording? 
We tour a lot, but if we only toured we would miss being in the studio and vice versa, so it’s important to find that balance. We all have laptops with us on the road, so we can do a bit of recording here and there. We never get bored.
What’s something we don’t know about the new album? 
One of our songs on the album was actually a demo recording. We took it to LA and recorded it properly, but the record label actually preferred the demo, so we just redid the drums and put it on the album.