Local Natives are a Los Angeles area indie rock band.

Can you give us a background on the band? How did you guys come to be?

Ryan Hahn: Taylor and I met back in junior high school and pretty much learned to play guitar together. Pretty soon thereafter we met Kelcey who was playing drums in another band. Around four and five years ago respectively we found Matt and Andy. We’d recorded some EPs under another name and though the music definitely had aspects of what we sound like now – harmonies, extra percussion, etc – I wouldn’t say it was very focused. So we decided to move in together to write the album and while we were recording we began to feel that the new music deserved a fresh start altogether with a new band name. That was a little more than a year and a half ago and that’s when we changed our name to Local Natives.

Local Natives were one of the hardest working bands at this past years SXSW, can you tell us about that experience, and how it led to Local Natives hooking up with NME?

We had booked seven shows just through reaching out to blogs and friends. About two weeks beforehand we got an official showcase because someone dropped out I think. And while we were there my uncle found us a last minute show – so that made nine shows total. We just figured we’d just play as many shows as we could. None of us anticipated the reaction, much less the presence of so many people with British accents. I think the week after, NME ran a feature about the 10 Best Bands of SXSW and they said we were one of them.

The NME break has lead to a lot of press in the UK compared to the US, how do you feel about that? Is it strange to be breaking through initially in the UK?

You always imagine yourself finding success at home first and then someday traveling to those far off places. We’re all thrilled by the way the UK has embraced us. It’s incredible really and I honestly can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by the situation we’re in. The US is a big place and I would imagine it takes longer to make a noticeable impression here. I guess to answer your question, we’re surprised by it all but we couldn’t be happier.

You are about to hit the road on a tour of Europe, is this your first time touring over there?

We were fortunate enough to tack on some European shows after the NME tour back in October. We played Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin and I can honestly say they were some of my favorite shows ever.

Parts of "Gorilla Manor" has been out for almost a year, and has been very well received, does that put more pressure on your sophomore effort?

I guess some songs have been floating around for that long – “Sun Hands” is three years old - but the album itself wasn’t even finished until August. I’ve read some discussions that aren’t even about the actual version of the album, which is strange.

Of course it’s great to have people respond so positively but for the most part, we try not to get too caught up in the critical aspect of it. We’re always writing new songs but I’m not sure we’ve starting seriously thinking about the 2nd album yet.

What are your plans for 2010? I hear there will be a US tour coming up sometime soon.

We’re stoked that the album is finally coming out in the states. That’ll be February 16th and Frenchkiss Records is releasing it. We’ll come back from Europe in time for SXSW and will most likely do a full US tour off of that. We’re hoping to play as many festivals as possible this summer, especially because we’ve only played one ever. Basically a few of us are planning on moving out because paying rent will be somewhat pointless with how little we’ll be home next year.

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© 2009

Local Natives Interview

Marshall Rake