I love whenever those within the realm of the “popular” can take a turn for the quite “conceptual.” Los Angeles-based, Atlantic-signed GROUPLOVE would seem to be giving this a go on their current (in-progress) US tour. The highly-danceable five-piece electro indie pop outfit, who have achieved quite a bit of popular airplay and acclaim for their sounds that are as infectiously fun as they are artistically inspiring, are currently taking on a run of dates that have them playing two nights in every city they visit: The first night they go electric in one venue and the second they strip down to acoustic in a notably more intimate venue. They will find themselves in Eraserhood at Union Transfer on September 28th for their electric set and September 30th at Underground Arts for an acoustic set. I recently got a chance to chat with bassist/vocalist Sean Gadd about their current tour and upcoming album. He tells me of their live sets, “It’s very intimate and we’re very up-close with audiences. It’s like being able to have a gig in our own living room.” He also tells me that, having the tour underway, already having played Seattle and Portland and about to take on San Francisco, they’re really happy with the initial results.
“With the acoustic shows, we were curious how it would go, but it was great. It’s an interesting experience hearing the songs that way. I mean, that’s how they were written. It’s really special and we’ll be playing a lot of different songs.”
GROUPLOVE began with vocalist/keyboardist Hannah Hooper and vocalist/guitarist Christian Zucconi meeting in Manhattan. Their connection was instantaneous and the two, only days after meeting, embarked on an art residency in Greece that Hooper was invited to and promptly invited Zucconi to accompany her on. There they met London-born-and-bred Gadd, along with pro-surfer and musician Andrew Wessen and his friend Ryan Rabin, a drummer and producer… And GROUPLOVE was born. Of course, they briefly went their separate ways, but eventually reconvened in LA to record their debut album, 2011’s Never Trust A Happy Song (Not only quite the album itself, but possibly donning the greatest moniker of any collection of music this decade… sans Morrissey albums, of course.)
Next Tuesday, September 17th, GROUPLOVE’s sophomore LP, Spreading Rumours, drops and when I ask Gadd about the band’s current priorities, he tells me that that currently tops everything: “Just getting Spreading Rumours done has been our recent highlight. We started recording it in January and it comes out next Tuesday. That’s what’s on the forefront of our minds.” Gadd tells me that the most significant difference between Spreading Rumours and Never Trust a Happy Song was the recording process: “One of the key factors is we were able to record everything together, as a live band. We would’ve loved to have always recorded everything together, but on the first album we generally recorded our individual parts, which then came together in mixing.” And while their influences are largely similar, the ability to be in physically close proximity has just enhanced their impact on Spreading Rumours: “Just life in general is the biggest inspiration. A lot of influences don’t necessarily have to do with music. We just influence each other on a daily basis.”
Gadd tells me that this current, somewhat experimental, tour that they’re on isn’t the last of GROUPLOVE that you’ll see in the near future and that this year has been a new change-of-pace from their last several.
“In 2014 we’ll be doing what we started in 2013. We’ll continue touring the album. We’re going to spend a lot more time on the road in 2014. We’d gotten so used to being on the road these past few years, but we haven’t been that busy on the road this year because we were recording the album, so we’re really excited about being really busy on the road, promoting the album, because that’s what we love to do.”