interview: local natives

Waterfront’s Harry Ballmann caught up with Local Native’s lead singer Taylor Rice, talking about coming of age and what it is to make music.

Do you have any musical influences that have stuck with you?

I actually have to say the one artist which has stuck with me, the first to properly influence me was Bjork, it was completely interesting, unique, absolutely everything about it was mesmerising. It’s always going to be ingrained in my musical fibre.

Does that often show in the music making process?

I suppose it crops up now and then, though mainly it’s what I’ve been listening to around the time of making the album which influences me. Lately it’s been a lot of Jamie XX.

Your albums show an interesting transition: Gorilla Manor was very youthy and upbeat, you seemed to go darker with Hummingbird, and then Sunlit Youth is a real coming of age album. Was that a deliberate transition?

Yeah I guess so, because all of our albums we’ve made are from the times. It’s not thought out at all, Gorilla Manor was extremely wild, maybe even a little naïve, we moved into a house together so, that says a lot! Then Hummingbird was definitely a little darker, talking about loss, love and death. We recorded Sunlit Youth back home in L.A so it’s got that nostalgic feel to it, it’s another point in our lives I guess?

Okay, so can I be bold and ask what Psycho Lovers is about, it’s my favourite song on the Sunlit Youth album…

Yeah of course, I’m glad you like it as it doesn’t get too much reception at the back end of the album, but it’s a song close to my heart. In short I guess it reflects a triumphant breakup, you’re both all good about it etc etc. But with Psycho lovers, L.A is definitely a character, a big part to play, I guess it’s like that with all of our music.

So moving on to your tour, you’re approaching the European leg now, how is it playing in so many different cultures?

Really cool actually, you definitely notice the nuances in the crowd depending on where you are, though nothing beats the homecoming feeling, especially at Greek Theatre, you’re surrounded by trees, it’s amazing.

You talk about L.A. a lot, I can’t help but ask, what does it mean to Local Natives?

I suppose we started there and we’ve ended there. Sunlit Youth is the last chapter in this seven year album trilogy. It’s been seven years of Local Natives, we’ve grown up somewhere where it was easy to become so cynical, both politically and socially, and that of course reflected in our albums. But we’re out of that, and we feel happy to be back where we started, in a good place and in L.A.

And finally, do you have any advice for up and coming artists?

You’ve got to take control. We’ve been a band to always do that, be active with your producer, record label, manager. Don’t sit back and let them take you, you won’t be happy.


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