The Naked and Famous

The Naked and Famous

Vacationer, Now, Now

Wed, April 4, 2012

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Terminal 5

New York, NY

$25

Sold Out

This event is all ages

The Naked and Famous
The Naked and Famous
In 2010, Auckland, New Zealand’s Thom Powers, Alisa Xayalith, Aaron Short, David Beadle, and Jesse Wood arrived at the forefront of the international indie pop scene with the sweltering The Naked and Famous debut, Passive Me, Aggressive You. Riding on the feverish heights reached by singles like Young Blood, Punching In A Dream and Girls Like You the album thrust the band into the limelight and onto the airwaves.

Touring incessantly, the band settled permanently in Los Angeles to create the follow-up, 2013’s In Rolling Waves. The sophomore effort cast a darker shadow over their sound, straying from the synch-heavy formula that had ripped up radio charts yet patiently showcasing their unique skill, talent, and scope as artists.

TNAF set off to tour In Rolling Waves but after just a few months on the road, there were storm clouds on the horizon. Alisa and Thom’s relationship was the foundation of the band. As they said, “We started writing songs for The Naked and Famous the moment we got together at age 18.” Eight years later, their relationship was in turmoil and soon so was the band.

“It was awful,” says David. “People were unraveling pretty fast. The shows were tight but no-one was in a good space. People were trying to get off the bus, dragging their suitcase down the road in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere! When the tour bus finally stopped, everyone made for the exit and didn’t look back.”

The tour ended, Thom and Alisa separated, and TNAF became a group in ambiguous and painful hiatus. For the next year they barely saw one other. Los Angeles is a big enough place to get lost in.

“We weren’t talking about whether we’d broken up the band because we were so broken as individuals,” says Aaron.

Every band has its leader and source creator. It’s no secret that Thom Powers drives this band.

“I have a constant fear of failure,” he says. “My childhood dream was to be a musician and I’m not about to take this for granted. I feel lucky to have fans. I wake up and feel like any moment that I’m not working is time wasted.”

So in early 2015, it was no real surprise to find a batch of new demos from Thom’s Echo Park home studio in the band dropbox and a first TNAF meet-up in many months was convened.

“The best thing you can learn as a producer and a writer is to stop being precious. To get a grip, to let go and to learn how to embrace other people’s opinions,” says Thom. “We all came to this place with a little more maturity and it felt – tentatively – like we had a new path to follow.”

It was eventually agreed that working on a new album would become a regular Monday through Friday gig, the proper turning point coming in August of 2015 when they secured a small studio in Downtown LA to work in.

Assistance on the album came from only a handful of individuals. Sombear (Brad Hale) has worked on other projects with Thom and contributes production to Higher and My Energy. Carlos de la Garza engineered and Ken Andrews (Paramore) mixed the record. Thom still produces with input only from the other band members.

“We’ve ended up with a bright and very vocal album,” explains Thom. “TNAF has always naturally straddled the line between pop and alternative. Like most acts today though, when we talk about pop we’re only referring to production, arrangement or mixing. The lyrical content comes from a personal place.”

“There’s pain and passion behind this art,” says Alisa, picking up this theme. “Pop techniques are all about maximum impact. And it’s not like this is an album of bangers but it’s the most immediate thing we’ve ever done.”

Thom reveals the album title came from a lyric in the first song that was finished. Within the song Falling, it’s a contradictory statement he says – “We’re made in simple forms.”

“Being a functioning human means living in a constant state of delusion about the simplicity and order of the world. I like summing up the album in this way. There is no singular message. No unity of emotion. The irony also being that an album is a brutally curated collection of ideas.”

And true to the complex and contradictory nature of being in a band, it is not a name they could all agree on. “Simple forms reminds me of the DMV,” says Jesse. “But I get what Thom’s saying.”

Being a band that can fight with and for each other is not so unusual but that doesn’t mean it is not a triumph to produce a record like Simple Forms at this point in TNAF’s career.

“We’re still incredibly self-sufficient,” says Alisa. “We’re lucky to have this. We’re lucky to still have one another.”
Vacationer
Vacationer
Vacationer’s Relief, the Philadelphia group’s second LP, is clear in both title and intention. If Gone, the sunny electronic-pop act’s 2012 debut, was about escape – whether through travel, photography or toasted sonic bliss – Relief unspools the strings of our wound-up existence with a cinematic wallop of positivity-oozing pop.

A collaboration between Kenny Vasoli and Body Language’s Matthew Young and Grant Wheeler, Vacationer returns tighter and more powerful after spending the last two years touring with groups like Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Naked And Famous, Tennis, and Niki And The Dove, as well as making numerous festival appearances.

“Playing so many shows is probably our biggest influence on this album,” says Vasoli. “Being out there every night with our wonderful fans and on the road everyday with Matt making beats next to me led to a deeper, more immediate energy in our music.”

Relief, which was primarily recorded at Body Language’s Landau Audio Design (LAD) studio in Brooklyn over the last year, is Vacationer gone widescreen. The kaleidoscopic, sampledelic world that intoxicated fans on original singles like “Trip” is still there, but the orchestration has become more muscular and expansive. Lead single “The Wild Life” mixes the influence of The Beach Boys, J. Dilla and LCD Soundsystem into a sonic mai tai. Animal Collective meets Hollywood’s golden age on “Heavenly,” while “Paradise Waiting” catapults the soulful chop of De La Soul into a club-ready summer anthem.

“Whether through love, exploration or relaxing, we all strive for relief,” says Vasoli. “It’s just a quick flip-of-the-switch away, and think it’s good to be reminded of that.”
Now, Now
Now, Now
With the release of “SGL”, Now, Now emerge from a transformative and transitional few years since their last shows played in support of Threads. Much has changed, with the mutual and amicable departure of guitarist Jess Abbott to pursue a different creative direction through her work as Tancred being the most visibly apparent difference. That parting of ways is only a fraction of the story however. Below the surface lay challenges, struggle, and a lot of growth for KC Dalager and Brad Hale as people, musicians, and songwriters. And while as a duo they find themselves back to the same binary dynamic they started with over a decade ago, they couldn’t be further from who they were when two friends who met at marching band practice and started making music together in a basement.

As they wrapped up nearly three years of writing, recording, and then touring in support of Threads, KC and Brad were mentally and emotionally worn out. “We couldn’t find a way to recharge ourselves creatively,” recalls KC, and that lead to a feedback loop of writer's block and self-doubt. And so they took a step back, focusing their energy on songwriting and producing outside of Now, Now, or with different artistic mediums like Brad’s work in visual art for bands including Sylvan Esso, The National, Minus the Bear and War On Drugs. The break allowed them space to work on figuring out the bigger picture of who they were as artists and musicians, rather than staying trapped in tunnel vision, focused on a next album. “I worked a lot on my craft as a writer,” explains KC, “on learning who I am and what my strengths and weaknesses are in that sense.” She also started tackling longstanding insecurities she’d been battling all her life, clearing barriers to creativity at their root.

When all was said and done Now, Now’s new songs have come out all the better on account of that soul searching experience. Brad learned a lot about production and his own aesthetic while experimenting and exploring behind the boards on other projects, including his solo endeavor Sombear. KC meanwhile now feels a freedom in her songwriting she’d never experienced before, and discovered how to use her singing voice in a way that made her feel good about herself instead of overly self aware. “I feel more confident and more like myself than I ever have,” she relates. Having lived through the fits and starts together, Brad and KC describe their working relationship as more in sync than they’ve ever been before. “Our new songs happened so naturally after we stopped overthinking and started going with our instincts,” says KC. “We learned a lot about each other. More than anything we have learned to trust in ourselves.”
Venue Information:
Terminal 5
610 W 56th St
New York, NY, 10019
http://www.terminal5nyc.com/