Lollapalooza 2013: Local Natives Talk Touring, the Merits of Summer Festivals
Earlier this year, the harmony-loving art-rock collective Local Natives followed up their breakthrough LP 'Gorilla Manor' with the darker 'Hummingbird,' which saw the band drawing from experiences such as the departure of bassist Andy Hamm and the death of vocalist and keyboardist Kelcey Ayer's mother.
After months of headlining shows and playing festival main stages, the Silver Lake-based group are in the midst of an international tour scheduled through November. Last weekend, the Natives' travels took them to Chicago for Lollapalooza 2013, where Diffuser.fm chatted with singer-guitarist Taylor Rice and drummer Matt Frazier about summer festivals and life on the road.
How are you guys enjoying Lollapalooza 2013?
MF: It's been brief. We got in a couple of days ago, and we didn't come to the festival yesterday, so we've only been here a couple of hours. So far, so good.
You're playing these main stages at festivals now. What does it feel like to come out and see these big huge crowds?
TR: It feels terrible; it's the worst. No, it is so awesome! It's so fun. It's such a different vibe from the club show, which is what we're definitely more used to. But now we're about two months into the festival season, and you see this sea of people. It's a really different energy. It's a little hard to explain. It feels more unified. It's a little bit less intimate but somehow more congealed. Plus, it's a festival, so it's now all your fans, too.
Normally when you play your own show, people know the words, and they're singing along. But at a festival, there's this thing of having to win over the crowd, and I think it gives the shows a different edge. Like you have to win over that drunk guy in the back. And it's interesting how each of these festivals has it's unique feel.
MF: Yeah, especially in all of these different countries, but every one is just very different in its own way.
How has the audience response been towards the new 'Hummingbird' material?
TR: It's been really great. It was a slightly different direction from us and 'Gorilla Mano,' which was sort of plug-and-play, really direct. Constantly, like this intense, dynamic thing. I think 'Hummingbird' is a little bit more spacious and thought out, so in a festival setting, we didn't really know how it would go over. So far, it's been really awesome.
With the rise and spread of all of these large-scale music festivals, do you see them as a good way for bands to get their break and possibly support themselves financially?
TR: The festival experience is becoming something almost more than just seeing a bunch of bands. They're curating these insane experiences, and I think of Glastonbury. Obviously, Europe is more advanced with festivals They have all these boutique festivals popping up, and they have amazing art installations and dance tents. And some of them are food festivals as well, so I think it's becoming more than, "Oh there's 10 bands I want to see." But the cool thing is, yeah, these shows help artists economically.
Because it's definitely true, that it's hard making a living as a musician these days, but I think the festival thing is positive. It can help pay for the expenses of a tour, which is really great for bands at any level.
The band's been on tour already for months, any plans for the fall?
MF: We're pretty much on tour for the rest of the year. We're about to do two weeks in Europe, and in the fall, we're doing a big U.S. tour, which we're really excited about.
TR: We're playing at Terminal 5 in New York for two nights, which is just sort of crazy for us. We're really, really excited about that.