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Interview: Grouplove @ Mountain Sounds Festival

While Californian five-piece Grouplove were in Australia playing a handful of shows, I spent some time chatting to them at Mountain Sounds Festival about their favourite places down under, forging a lifeguard certification at 6 in the morning and what we can expect from their new music that they’re currently working on.

How have you guys found Australia so far?

Hannah: It’s the best place in the world.

Christian: It’s our favourite place to tour. The shows are always so good and everyone here is so awesome.

Hannah: We also each drank, like, eight martinis last night, just to celebrate how much we love Australia.

Daniel: And your museums have free entry, which we don’t have back in the States so we’ve been taking advantage of that.

What museums did you go to?

Daniel: We did the National Gallery in Melbourne, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, and then we went and hung out at the Brett Whitely Studio as well.

Have you had much time to do anything else while you’ve been here?

Hannah: There’s been a lot of eating.

Christian: We kind of fucked up our day off, though, because we were hungover. After our show in Sydney, we stayed up until 6.30 in the morning. We got back to our hotel around 5, and Andrew’s room is next to the pool, and we wanted to go in but it was all locked, so The Ruminaters manager, Marcus, went down to the front desk and disappeared for a while. He was trying to convince them to open up the pool for us, and the dude on the front desk was like hell no, but Marcus somehow got it out of him that the only way we could go in was if we had a lifeguard with us. So he came back upstairs, and Pencil, the singer in The Ruminaters, is really good with Photoshop, so he took Andrew’s licence photo and somehow put it onto an American lifeguard card.

So Marcus and Andrew went back downstairs, and the guy working was like, “Okay, you can go in but you can’t act drunk and you can’t make much noise.” We were absolutely hammered, though. We were all still in our trench coats, but Andrew showed him the fake lifeguard card and he took us and opened the pool up for us. It was such a fun night. 

Daniel: We love going to Frankie’s too.

Have you been there before?

Hannah: Yeah we have. When we played Big Day Out, Frankie’s was like the headquarters. And we went to a place last night, Shady Pines. Have you ever been there?

I don’t think I have.

Hannah: There’s no number on the door, no sign or anything and as soon as you walk in it’s like you’re in the South. You should definitely check it out, it’s so much fun. And it has unlimited peanuts and I seriously think we ate 12 bowls of them last night.

Daniel: We’ve just had so much fun here. Tasmania was amazing. That was my favourite part so far.

Hannah: Yeah it’s so beautiful down there, and it feels like it’s the ’70s there

You guys are working on new music too, aren’t you?

Hannah: Yeah we are. We’ve actually been playing one of the songs, it’s still not recorded yet but it’s been super cool to play it. I think this new album is going to be badass, it’s going to be the one. If people are familiar with our live sound, then they’ll like this album, it’s going to sound very much like our live sound.

Ben: It’s going to be more raw and more energetic.

Hannah: Yeah exactly. It’s still got those big hooks that we love; can’t do anything without the hooks.

Do you write collaboratively or do you work on things separately and bring them together later?

Hannah: We’ve been writing together. I think we all bring out the best in each other, but we’ve been having a real good time; and we’ve been getting to know each other even more now through music.

That’s so cool that you all work together like that. I’ve spoken to so many bands where everyone just works on their own separate pieces. 

Hannah: Honestly, we have done that a lot and I think you can only do so much without each other and pushing and changing the songs as you go, and I think that’s going to be really reflected throughout this album. I feel like we’re taking the songs to a whole new level now.

Are you going to start back writing after Australia?

Hannah: Absolutely. We land back home next week and start writing again.

Andrew: We’re going to try and record the album this summer.

Christian: Yeah, and that’s coming around really fast so we’ve got to line up a producer and all that.

Yeah, that will come around very quickly. Little bit of pressure to finish it then I guess.

Christian: Yeah, that’s good, though! What else do we have to?

Hannah: That’s true; this is all we do so we don’t have any excuse not to be writing. It’s kind of crazy that’s actually what we do, still kind of freaks me out when I say that.

Daniel: It’s better to stay busy though.

Yeah, I agree. I hate having nothing to do. That’s when you start getting weird and doing weird things.

Daniel: And you start doing dumb shit and getting into trouble.

I noticed you said this the other night at your show at The Metro and wanted to ask about it; was Australia one of the first places in the world to start playing your music?

Christian: Yeah, so I’m not sure if they’re around anymore, but this label called Dew Process put out our EP before anyone else did in the world. They were the first label to sign us.

Hannah: And then triple j picked us up, then the rest is kind of history. I don’t know why, but we were really embraced here, and it’s always felt that way. Whenever we come back to Australia it’s always so good.

Christian: The first time we played here was Falls Festival, and we were so shocked because everyone was going apeshit.

Hannah: They knew all our songs, not just one or two; they knew every word to every song

Christian: There’s just always been a great connection here.

How long ago was that?

Christian: 2011

Hannah: It feels like about 40 years ago. Actually, the way I think about it, it was probably like 20 hairstyles ago

Yeah, I have noticed you go through them pretty quickly.

Hannah: Yeah, we’ve been through so many colour changes and styles.

Especially Christian with your shaved head now.

Hannah: That was done literally two days ago. Now he has just nothing to stop the sweat pouring down his face.

Does it feel weird now with it all gone?

Christian: Yeah it’s a little weird. I might wear a headband because the sweat just fucking comes straight down my face and blinds me. I bought sweatbands in some second hand store earlier today so I think I might need them.

Hannah: The vintage shopping here is so good.

It is really good. Did you guys get to Newtown while you were in Sydney?

Hannah: Yeah, we got to do King Street. I actually got overwhelmed because I bought a pair of Levi’s, then we went into another store and there were like 3,000 more pairs.

Andrew: We only had an hour too, so it was really overwhelming.

Hannah: I grew up in San Francisco on Haight Street which used to have the best vintage shopping; it’s not like that at all anymore, but King Street really reminded me of that. It was so awesome; it really was everything.

What else have you guys got planned for the rest of the year?

Hannah: We’re going to write a lot.

Christian: We’re doing a small tour with Head and the Heart and we’ve got some random festivals here and there.

Hannah: We really want to attach ourselves to this album, and really think about how we want to put it out there in a much more detailed way than we normally would. We were thinking something like doing a music video for every song or something like that.

Christian: We wanted to do these shows too; we haven’t organised anything yet, but those ones where you can’t take your phone in and play a bunch of the new songs before we actually go into the studio so we can get to know them a bit better. And that way with no phones nobody will be able to leak or share them before we’ve released them.

That’s such a cool idea. And that way you’ll actually have everyone’s full attention instead of fucking around with their phones.

Hannah: The craziest thing about that is when you actually jump into the audience, a lot of people aren’t ready for you because they’re on their phone trying to video it.

Daniel: Or you’re in the crowd going past them and they miss it because they’re too busy trying to pull their phone out to video it.

Hannah: Or when you see an iPad go up and it’s just like, “are you fucking kidding me?

Yeah I have seen the iPad’s go up a couple times, it’s strange. But even at your show the other night a couple girls I know videoed pretty much the whole show and watched it like that… I don’t get it.

Hannah: Well that’s the thing, I don’t want to be one of those people that gets on stage and becomes preachy and nags about people putting their phones down, but damn it’s hard sometimes not to do that.

Written by Emily Mathison

Photos by Emily Mathison