Need To Know: Local Natives
By Max Berlinger
Do you have a favorite song on the album?
I don’t know. I don’t think I do. It’s like asking if you have a favorite child to a father. It’s just too hard. All my children are just so different.
What about to perform? Do you have a particular track that your audiences respond well to?
"Airplanes" is definitely a big one. Everyone in the band helps to write so someone might head up the idea and then everyone runs in and folds it and makes it a song. “Airplanes” is one I had written about my grandfather who had passed away before I had gotten to know him and about learning about him from what my father had told me. It's a Big Fish sort of thing. It’s so great to have all these strangers and fans come up and say how much the song relates to them and things they are dealing with. That song gets a great response live. It’s touched people on a really cool level. I always love when people tell me how they relate to it themselves. It’s not my favorite but it’s a really special one.
When I was watching the music video for it and now having heard your story, the images and the song really coincide. Did you have creative input on the video?
That was kind of our first legit video and Andy had an idea that we wanted to go with. The video was different than the idea but the director [Mark Waring] did a good job with the tone and where he went with it. We had some notes and direction. We worked with him a little bit but he mostly did it on his own.
Since you're from LA, does the city influence your music at all or were you guys at all influenced by other local bands?
Not really. We were mostly into music outside of Los Angeles and even outside California. It’s all over the board as far as musical influences go because everyone writes in the band and everyone has different musical tastes. It’s kind of all over the place. I wouldn’t say local bands really influenced us that much but our surrounding definitely did. Most of us grew up in Southern California minus one person who grew up in Colorado. It has definitely had an influence on the kind of music that we write.
How did you get set up at Raymond Richard's studio, Red Rockets Glare, in West Los Angeles?
I think that was 2008 and we were in the middle of writing a bunch of songs, kind of like pre-production. We had eight or nine songs that we recorded in our practice space in Orange and we were just trying to contact different bands that we knew or we thought had good recordings to ask where they did this or how they did this. We had talked to a bunch of bands that had worked with Raymond Richards in LA. We contacted him and he had a really great vibe to him and he was really easy going and easy to work with. We clicked right away. We did everything you heard on Gorilla Manor with him.
I know that the album, Gorilla Manor, is named after a house where many of you grew up in Southern California. But how did the name come to be?
It’s actually an homage to the house we all lived in Orange as well as the house we all lived at in Silverlake where we wrote the album. I think it was a playful juxtaposition of words of these animals in a nice house that tried to be refined but are wild at heart and mess the place up. There wasn’t like a plaque on the wall anywhere. It was a likening of an idea that we thought was a good name for the album because it was so specific to those two places.
Check out Local Native’s tour dates at: thelocalnatives.com
-- COURTNEY NICHOLS