The Local Natives, an American indie band from Silver Lake, Los Angeles, started out as two separate, rival Orange County bands — Cavil at Rest and Through the Heart. Often compared to Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, and Vampire Weekend, the band has also been described as “sort of a West Coast Grizzly Bear.” (If you know anything about Grizzly Bear or West Coast vibes, you’ll find this to be a perfect analogy.)
Clash describes Local Natives’ music as “psych folk,” or newly-fangled folk, and places them with the likes of Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective as being fellow exponents of modern worldly folk. Pitchfork has described the band’s sound as “afropop-influenced guitars with hyperactive drumming and hooky three-part harmonies.”
The Local Natives have opened for both Arcade Fire and the National, and most recently performed at Float Fest, an annual music festival in San Marcos, TX featuring live music, camping, and river floats. Critics have touted the Local Natives as being quite similar to the National — coincidentally, Aaron Dessner of the National was so taken with the band that he offered to produce Hummingbird, the band’s second full-length album. (Their debut album, Gorilla Manor, was released in 2010 and debuted on the Billboard 200 and ranked #3 on the New Artist Chart.)
Read on as Local Native’s frontman, Taylor Rice, talks fan art, David Bowie, and the joys of jamming with the guys (and recording their third album).
Lauren Kruczyk: Name the very first moment you thought, “This is it. This is why I worked we’ve worked so hard.”
Taylor Rice: Performing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with a full orchestra in 2011. It was the end of touring for our first record — all of our families and a lot of our closest friends were in the audience.
LK: Who are your biggest musical influences?
TR: I’ll choose two, one for record-making and one for touring. David Bowie for being in the studio (which we are right now). He was constantly changing up and reinventing. Making music is fun when you get to break your own idea of what you are as a band or musician.
The most incredible live show I watched last year was Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It’s clear they are having fun and in the moment — so much raw energy.
LK: What’s been the hardest part of your success? Is there anything you dread doing?
TR: The planes, buses and trains of travel. I get antsy when I have to sit still for so long.
LK: Do you have any favorite “fan moments” or is there anything especially unique a fan has done for the band?
TR: I love fan art. Paintings and drawings, or even covers of our songs. It always makes it feel that there is a connection between me and a person I don’t know.
LK: Name a happy moment you’ll never forget.
TR: I became an uncle last week. This is a pretty relatable experience a lot of people have gone through, but I’ve never been close to a baby for less than an hour old before. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced.
LK: What is something you struggle with as a musician? Is it something you’ve overcome?
TR: Being in a band is a constant juggling of delicate egos in very insensitive circumstances. I think as far as most bands go, we do better than most. We’re a family — I like to think that we’re always overcoming the struggles that come with so many lives enmeshed so tightly.
LK: What are you most excited for this year?
TR: Recording our third album. It’s been the most creative and fun time writing music in my life. I can’t wait to get it down.
LK: In what ways have you seen the band progress over the years?
TR: We’re more serious when we need to be taking care of ourselves and each other, and less serious when we need to let things roll off our backs. I think being in a band is a pretty playful existence.
LK: You get to kick back and have a beer with anyone in the world (past or present). Who is it and why?
TR: Abraham Lincoln. My all time favorite hero. He was a political genius and accomplished so much, but he was also just a sweet and funny guy.
LK: What are you most grateful for today?
TR: I’m taking a quick break from jamming with the guys to write this and they are working on a song I wrote. It sounds awesome, and I am grateful to have them.
Delight your ears and listen to Local Natives’ tracks on SoundCloud! The band’s debut album, Gorilla Manor, and sophomore album, Hummingbird, are available for purchase on iTunes! For more information on their third album, go here.
Many thanks to Taylor Rice, the Local Natives, Red Light Management, Frenchkiss Records, Infectious Records, and Float Fest for the opportunity!