Givers are happier than a litter of tabbies hopped up on catnip. Bred in Lafayette, La., the band pays homage to their jazz roots while sampling from a variety of world genres. Recently signed to Glassroot Records and currently on tour with Ra Ra Riot, the band features Tiffany Lamson (vocals, percussion, ukulele), Taylor Guarisco (vocals, guitar), Kirby Campbell (drums, programming, vocals), Josh LeBlanc (bass, guitar), William Henderson (synths, samples, vocals), and Christine Peirce (synths, percussion, vocals).
Out chatted with Givers in preparation for their SXSW 2011 showcase and had the unique opportunity to shoot a voyeuristic music video (see below) with the help of Austin blogging sensation Chris Apollo Lynn from RepublicOfAustin.com.
Out: I want to chat about SXSW. In 2010 you were the band to watch. In 2009 it was Local Natives, who have recently climbed straight to the top. How does that feel?
Josh LeBlanc: [Last year] SXSW for all of us, but maybe just me, was really fast and exciting. It's a lot of shows. We've played Austin a couple times but the crowd's energy is really cool. We are just so smiley every time we come to Austin.
Taylor Guarisco: Talk about Local Natives! We had an amazing time at their show in Austin!
Josh LeBlanc: My aunt might read this, so next time I'll tell you.
Do you think your happy disposition is what attracts such a wide and loyal following?
Josh LeBlanc: There are a lot of super cool serious bands. We often think that maybe we are supplying nutrients for people's diets. It feels awesome. We've been in bands that are punk and jazz and instrumental. We have hip music to try out. We have a sound in our music I think that a lot of people connect with. We take our time with arrangements so they have a certain pop sensibility.
But you guys have a jam background, right?
Kirby Campbell: We jam off-stage.
Tiff Lamson: We get together and just do what feels right.
Do you think that's rare in your genre of music?
Kirby Campbell: We get together, jam some songs, and decide what would work best on stage.
How do you all know each other?
Taylor Guarisco: We all lived in the same town in Louisiana. In this town, you either know each other through high school or college. We were in college, right out of high school, when we decided to start playing together.
Josh LeBlanc: We started playing in different bands and then we decided to start playing together. We played what we like, which is mostly Afropop-inspired.
Where did you all learn these genres?
Josh LeBlanc: We all bring different libraries of music. The one thing we have in common is that Lafayette, Louisiana, has a lot of different sounds.
Is there any band you'd love to cover?
Taylor Guarisco: Talking Heads of course.
Tiff Lamson: I wouldn't mind a Michael Jackson medley!
What's your favorite Michael Jackson track?
Christine Peirce: I'm a "Billie Jean" lover myself.
Josh LeBlanc: It's like naming your favorite child. It's so hard.
I noticed that when you set up, you play with three on one side of the stage and three on the other --
Tiff Lamson: Totally. We like the push-and-pull. The let-me-watch-you thing. Kind of a battle.
Any favorite act you've opened for?
Tiff Lamson: Dirty Projectors. Definitely.
And who would you like to open for?
Taylor Guarisco: We are big fans of Caap. They are from Lafayette. We want to give a band shout out.
So there is a huge music scene in Lafayette?
Tiff Lamson: It's a tight knit group but I think it's growing.
For more on Givers, including upcoming tour dates, visit their official website.