For Local Natives, food and productivity seem to have somewhat of an inverse relationship. “When we were recording the record we were just with ourselves, living very poorly and eating very little,” Kelcey Ayer, vocalist and keyboardist recalls. “Now we’re eating more… and recording very little.” The band have every reason to keep everything chill after this year’s meteoric rise, which saw a little-known Silver Lake, California five-piece become hot property in the fickle world of indie rock.
It all came from humble beginnings. Not only did they self-record and produce their debut album Gorilla Manor, but they paid for it all to happen in the house that it was named for, which the band shared in Orange County.
When it comes to making their second album, which they’ll start working on in the new year, Ayer tells me it will be difficult to give up that level of control the band have enjoyed. Particularly now that they have a whole team of industry types working for them, recruited since their standout performance at the South By Southwest music industry extravaganza in 2009.
“It’s hard to find the right people, but we’ve been really lucky,” Ayer explains. “We’ve got a really amazing manager, an amazing booking agent, an amazing label, and we’re very happy with who we’re working with right now,” he nods happily.
“We’re all VERY excited to start recording the next record, and everyone has a lot of ideas,” he continues, “but we have to figure out how to write on the road, because I think as a band we need a lot of time and space to flesh out ideas, flesh out parts, and flesh out whole songs.”
For a group still stuck on the touring cycle behind their debut album, Local Natives are looking forward to being back in a room together again, working hard to create something that inspires them as much as their debut album did.
“We want to see how much we’ve grown over the last year, two years, since we wrote those songs,” he says. “I know Gorilla Manor only came out early this year/late last year, but we’ve been playing these songs for a long time.”
It’s the story you hear from any band on the final leg of the touring cycle. Any new act that’s been touring incessantly since the release of their debut will get to this point and wonder… What’s next? With Local Natives struggling to write on the road during the process of touring Gorilla Manor, their sophomore set is very much in its formative stage.
“We don’t have ANY songs ready to go!” Ayer sighs theatrically. “But seeing as how everyone writes in the band, we all have ideas. Everyone has their own project ideas that they’re working on themselves, but everyone is very cautious… well, not cautious,” he clarifies, “but, I mean…” he trails off, uncertain how to express the goings on behind the creative process.
“I’ve learned early on that if I work on a song with this band and develop it too much, that it’s just going to go to the cutting board and get cut up into a million different pieces and be something completely different to whatever [I started with]. Something more, and something completely better than what I ever thought it could be, because of the people that I’m working with.
“So everyone has their pencilled-in ideas,” he concludes, “but we’re all excited to begin working on them… It’s a very exciting time for us.”
LOCAL NATIVES play LANEWAY FESTIVAL, at the Footscray Community Arts Centre on Saturday February 5 with !!!, Beach House, Holy Fuck, Les Savy Fav, Foals, The Antlers, Yeasayer, Cut Copy, Gotye, PVT, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Blonde Redhead, Violent Soho, Stornoway, Cloud Control, Warpaint and heaps more. Of course, it’s sold out, so if you don’t have a ticket, you missed out, badly. The good news, they also play The Corner Hotel on Tuesday February 8 with Leader Cheetah and The Paper Scissors – tickets from ticketek.com.au, 132 849 or The Corner box office, 9427 9198 or cornerhotel.com. Their album Gorilla Manor is out now through Infectious/Liberator.