The 21st century may have turned publicity into a fine art, but for many word of mouth remains the best way to promote yourself.
Local Natives might well agree. Debut album ‘Gorilla Manor’ was a DIY success story, spreading virally as fans caught onto their overwhelmingly infectious brand of joyous indie pop – complete with subtle Afrobeat tinges. Recently sealing off sessions on their second album ‘Hummingbird’ the band are tasked with the rather intimidating proposition of following up a success they still don’t quite understand.
Not that they’re worried. “We’re all very excited” explains Taylor Rice. “On this record we didn’t worry so much about how to play these songs live when we were writing and recording them. That’s something we did on the first record but not really on this one. We’ve only had a couple of shows and it’s been an interesting challenge to translate them live. That’s been really fun for us actually. This tour we’ve been working with the songs, we’ve been able to expand our bag of tricks a bit to make them work”.
Seemingly the challenge of replicating ‘Hummingbird’ - very much a studio document – onstage every night has caused Local Natives to re-structure their live show. “I think Kelsey’s station has grown a little bit, he’s getting more boxed in by keyboards and things” Rice laughs. “Matt on drums, he’s got the sampler pad because we’ve got drum samples and things we’ve experimented with. Me and Ryan’s pedal boards have grown, so yeah.. all round. Ryan’s triggering a sample with his foot on one song, that’s like the only solution we could manage and just cool things like that.”
Not that the band are being overpowered by technology. “No it hasn’t felt that way, it’s felt really good actually” explains the guitarist. “I was very surprised when we played our first show in New York. We hadn’t played a full show in almost a year and I was nervous for that show, I can tell you. It went amazingly! It was natural and I felt really good and it was the same on this record, we tend to bring a more raw energy to the songs live than they are on the record. They really translate quite joyously for us to play them”.
Live, Local Natives are all whirlwind energy - buzzing around the stage, fuelled by a rare energy. The American four piece are showing no signs of slowing down, as witnesses to their recent European tour can attest to. “We’re very collaborative as a band” Rice explains, “and I just think that kind of live energy, us playing a lot in one room, that’s one of the places I think we’re most comfortable. It’s the energy of a new crowd, the crowd every night and us on a stage that’s a place where we’re very comfortable. Some bands really kind of get burned out by touring or can feel tired but it’s quite kind of feeding, I think. To us, we’ve really missed it so we’re excited to be back playing shows”.
Currently on tour across the continent, Local Natives will return to London tomorrow night (December 6th). Also due to play the latest instalment of All Tomorrows Parties, the Camber Sands slot will see the band re-united with ‘Hummingbird’ producer Aaron Dessnor – also of The National. “We definitely respect their career and how it came about” the guitarist insists, “it’s been nice to have a kind of older brother mentor, type of guy around”.
Finishing, Tayor Rice refuses to be daunted by the extent of Local Natives schedule over the next 12 months. “Oh man I think 2013 has like three weeks off or something” jokes the guitarist. “It’s sort of like the endless horizon of touring. Like I said we haven’t toured in so long and we’re just excited to be back at it. It’ll be intense but we’re happy and ready for intense.”
- - -
Local Natives are set to play Hoxton Bar & Kitchen tomorrow night (December 6th). 'Hummingbird' is set to be released on January 28th.