The Naked and Famous
Wavves, Luna Shadows
Mon · May 1, 2017
Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm
$28.00 - $95.00
This event is all ageshttp://www.georgiatheatre.com/event/1432458/
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.”
Featuring the previously released "Way Too Much" and "Flamezesz", the 11-track LP was recorded in Los Angeles with the help of producer Woody Jackson (Daniel Johnston, Primal Scream, Tenacious D, Money Mark and Beck), who took the band's trademark distorted no-fi into crisper, even more visceral territory while still remaining true to their 90s influenced roots, which stem back to 2008 when Williams created two albums' worth of work using '80s Tascam cassette recorder and Garage Band software. The last seven years saw Wavves grow from bedroom experiment into Billboard Top 100 ranking four piece featuring Alex Gates (guitar, backing vocals), Stephen Pope (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Brian Hill (drums), all of whom contributed to the writing of V, which is set for an October 2nd release through Ghost Ramp/Warner Bros. V marks the high point in an exceptionally busy year for the band-2015 has seen an LP collaboration with Cloud Nothings' Dylan Baldi, a GZA collab with Williams' side project Sweet Valley called "Planetary Energy", and releases by Courtney Love and Spirit Club (his side project with brother Joel Williams and Jeans Wilder) on Williams' Ghost Ramp label.
The band's first solo album since 2013's Afraid of Heights, the songs on V were inspired by a dark and epic Waiting for Godot-esque idle stretch of around eight months that occurred in between the end of the Afraid of Heights tour and the recording of V. Caught in a creative and emotional stasis, the band had "way too much time on their hands", leading to the kind of bored, compulsive partying that was no longer about having fun, but about "just drinking, straight drinking," with 100 beers and two bottles of Jameson the per night band norm. Bassist Stephen Pope developed a mild agoraphobia, and became scared to leave his bedroom. "I would order pizza almost everyday and hide in my room and pee in a bottle like in 'The Aviator'".
Williams tried to cut back on his drug and alcohol consumption, but fewer beers per day resulted in night terrors, as he adjusted to not being drunk every night. "I get a two day hangover if I do drugs now, and you have to think 'is this worth it?' I feel like that romanticized druggie alcoholism lifestyle is a sham." Then came the paranoia about his health. "You can just ruin your own life by spending too much time on Web MD, convincing yourself you have cancer," he said.
On top of all that, he was going through a breakup-no surprise, failed relationships are a major theme on the record. The song Heart Attack, for instance, is about "doing anything for a girl, making decisions that you probably wouldn't normally make in an almost masochistic way. It's like putting yourself in harm's way, which I tend to do physically and emotionally. Sometimes that means I find it hard to think the best of people, although I am softening more over time." All The Same is about a loose series of negative events that occurred in Williams' life and acknowledging that sometimes "shit doesn't work out, but in the end the people that you love around you are what's the important part". Pony's chorus, "it gets better and better", reiterates the 'light at the end of the tunnel' narrative that emerges, perhaps for the first time in Wavves career, in V.
By the time they got into the studio, the band members had gone through so much personal upheaval that it was a relief to start working again. The energy of the sessions was "a lot lighter and not as drunk" as on prior records, as V became something of a conduit for the kinds of feels that they wouldn't usually feel comfortable talking about. The album artwork -- the five of cups, the Tarot card of greatest loss -- sums it up, the cloaked figure mourning the three spilled cups, while two are still full behind him. The message is clear: don't cry over spilled beer, because there are two more right behind you. "We've never talked about this stuff in front of each other, outside the music," admits Williams. "'Cause guys are afraid to talk. It's not like we say "Dude, I'm feeling sad today." You know? That's lame, dude."
V officially hits stores October 2 via Ghost Ramp/Warner Bros., and will be supported with a North American tour.
Even the brightest, most upbeat Luna Shadows song carries a hint of romantic melancholy. She describes her artistic ambitions as a lifelong dare that, “sounded pretty fun” and brought order to the emotional chaos of everyday life. The end product, made in garages and bedrooms under the palm trees of Echo Park, sounds a bit like Ellie Goulding took Lana del Rey to the beach.
Expect a set of new songs and debut live performances from Luna in 2016, including a collaboration with Kam of The Chain Gang of 1974.
215 N. Lumpkin St
Athens, GA, 30601