Interview The Naked And Famous: ‘I’m Prepared For Anything’

Making music while travelling the world: The Naked And Famous take it in their stride.

Just when a band has been gone enough to slip from memory, that’s when they should return with something mind-blowing. The Naked and Famous did exactly that with their comeback track ‘Hearts Like Ours’. An antipodean electro-pop gem, taken from the accompanying album ‘In Rolling Waves’.

‘A lot of the record was written while we were touring,’ vocalist Alisa Xayalith says of the new release. It’s the case for a lot of bands who are no longer pre-debut album, of course - touring and promotional cycles being what they are, it’s not always possible to have downtime between records. But it’s something few bands really take to.

‘It really depends what sort of band you are,’ she agrees, ‘and what sort of musicians you are, but for us it’s not very hard for us to write things on our laptops, or if we catch a day off here or there. It’s very easy for us all to go in to one room together and start hashing out things and record some bits.

‘I even use my iPhone when I have an idea, I use my voice memo on my iPhone and I record a vocal bit, and then when I get back to a bus I can plug my stuff in to my laptop and record something very basic. I think in that way it’s very easy, and we have lots of opportunities on the road where we’ve had like a week off, and we’ve had time to go in to a studio.’

It’s led to the record being worked on in a few less obvious locations. ‘After we played Glastonbury, we went to Wales and lived in a residential studio there for a week and hashed out some of the bits and pieces that we had written on the road. There’s been lots of magical things like that that have happened.’

Not that it’s all laughs and giggles in wet and windy parts of the UK, though. ‘It can be very difficult to write on the road as well,’ she sighs, ‘when you have a real desire to but just, you know, for whatever reason… You get so tired from playing shows, you’re so overwhelmed from travelling, and you get too busy. But it’s very important for us to be as actively creative as possible, so even if we’re on the road we still try to be as creative as we can. However we can.’

Despite the upheaval - travelling the world, spending half their lives in service stations and strange hotels - the way in which the record was put together didn’t really change that much. ‘We went about going to record the way we always write, where generally an idea of a demo would start on Thom [Power]’s laptop, and then we would go in to a live rehearsal space and play parts out live and then compare it to how it sounds in a live setting.

‘Then it would kinda get passed between me, Aaron [Short], and Thom, until we were satisfied with how the song was turning out. That part of how we work stayed, but I guess it was different, because we were writing in LA, and we had written bits on the road. A lot of the time we were writing on the fly, travelling. Where we were compared to the last record, that was very different, and I think that definitely had some kind of impact.’

‘In Rolling Waves’ is markedly different from its predecessor. Starting off quite euphoric, then calming down, it pans out a little like a party and aftermath. ‘I would consider an album to be a journey,’ Alisa confirms, ‘so there’s always gotta be peaks and dips along the way. I still listen to whole albums, and I generally do consider them a journey, and on this record it was very important to create that kind of vibe, I guess.’

Above all, being able to play it live was a must. ‘That’s something that is really important for us,’ she enthuses. ‘Especially being heavily an electronic-based band. I feel like I’ve seen so many bands play, who are electronic pop bands, they put a lot of it on track. The one thing that we were so proud of, is that we don’t do that.

‘We set in place this restriction, so we have to work within those parameters. Sometimes it’s a bit of a bummer, but then actually it’s good because we don’t get too carried away, and I think that’s really important for us, to be able to play everything. Even technology, the way it’s supposed to be used, you know? If you’re an electronic band, if you can play it live, you should be able to play it live.’

And play it live they will. The band may be barely back from touring the last album, but they’re setting off - once again - this month, and they may not be back home for quite some time… ‘Last time the tour was on and off for two years - but who knows how long this one is going to be! Hopefully not too long. I’m prepared for anything, really.’

The Naked and Famous’s new album ‘In Rolling Waves’ is out now via Polydor.

Read the full interview in the new edition of DIY Weekly, available from iTunes now.

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