Local Natives seem to inhabit a fair few shared spaces. Musically, their melodies have been likened to indie sensations Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes. While lead singer Kelcey Ayer is stoked to be compared to such prolific acts, he is wary of press touting Local Natives as ‘the next big thing.’
“We get scared about getting too much hype because I think that can turn some people off. If we don’t fuck up horribly we should be able to make a career out of it” he says. However, Local Native’s infectious three-part harmonies, frenetic layered arrangements and generally personable music has seen them reach surprisingly wide audiences.
From wowing crowds at 2009’s SXSW to their heartfelt single ‘Airplanes’ receiving airplay on US television, for the band touring and playing live has brought them the most joy. “We’ve met so many wonderful people on the road that have opened their home to us and given us their refrigerators and their blow up mattresses” Kelcey recalls. “Touring really showed me the goodness in people.”
Stories from the road begin to reveal themselves, from bonding with an elderly fan and delivering an impromptu acoustic performance on the driveway of her Vermont home to meeting Sufjan Stevens at a Brooklyn loft show and “getting our minds blown.”
Physically, the five band members also share close quarters. Their debut album Gorilla Manor was titled after the house they shared in California’s Orange County while writing the initial ten tracks that formed the band’s current incarnation. “If you had an idea you could just grab somebody and we’d jump on this old piano I bought at a thrift store for sixty bucks, horribly out of tune but it did the trick. It’s funny because a lot of bands are almost business associates with each other, but we’re fortunate enough to really like each other and be good friends.” Suffice to say that the five band members didn’t get their bond back by the end of it.
Gorilla Manor is out through Liberator Music/The Mushroom Group.