The wait is finally over for The Naked and Famous fans. After a full year off the road, the acclaimed group will be performing their first and only show for 2015 at Bliss Out, Singapore’s first boutique yoga and music event.
New Zealand quintet The Naked and Famous released their debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You in 2010 and set the indie charts on fire. The synth drenched piece of alt rock perfection was an ambitious album, a thunderous first release both in terms of sound and production, especially considering the entire project was self produced and financed when the band members were just 19 years old.
In late 2013 they dropped In Rolling Waves, a more dynamic release, rich with nuance and emotion. Less boisterous, it was the type of album that showed the group’s development and represented a huge step forward for the band with more layers and sincerity than their first album. The album was met with similar critical acclaim to their first release but failed to generate the same dizzying heights as Passive Me, Aggressive You managed.
Throughout all this the band maintained a ferocious touring schedule that, between 2010 – 2012, saw The Naked and Famous play 200 shows across 24 countries. 2013 and 2014 were no less busy with the acclaimed group played huge festivals like The Governors Ball, Bonnaroo and Coachella so when 2015 rolled around it was time for a well earned break.
We spoke to keyboardist and vocalist Alisa Xayalith in a phone interview that commenced in tandem with industrial works directly outside my building (and, like magic, concluded exactly when the phone call ended… thanks universe!). A muffled phone line didn’t help matters either but Xayalith persevered in her characteristic laid-back manner. We asked how it’s been not being on the road so much this year “It’s been great,” she replied, ”we had a number of great years touring a lot but it’s nice to have some time to collect ourselves and settle a bit.”
Speaking from New Zealand, Xayalith is spending some away from the band’s relocated home of Los Angeles, taking some time to see family and friends. The rest of her bandmates are returning to Auckland for Christmas but with her family being elsewhere over the same period, it made sense to cross the Pacific early. “I’m home for just 5 days in New Zealand,” she said, adding, “it’s the first time back in New Zealand in two years. I’m an aunt to a three and five year old so it’s nice to remind them that they have an aunt.
“It’s probably not the best time to be leaving, but they understand” she admits, referring to her bandmates and the recording schedule for the band’s impending third album. The Naked and Famous first announced they were working on a new album in November last year but, after the rigors of their touring schedule, it was important to have a break. “To make sure we didn’t get burnt out,” she said.
Discussing the process of recording a new album Xayalith said. “We’d finish up a huge tour and then isolate ourselves and just work on new material but I think we’ve been doing it long enough now we’re able to multitask. We’re getting better at it.” She explains that the band have spent the last 6 – 9 months working on new material for the album and it’s “taking shape” but it was too early to commit to a timeline on the date for release.
In between their studio albums The Naked and Famous have collaborated with a range of other artists in producing remixes or having their own tracks edited. Released in June, 2013 their album Passive Me, Aggressive You (Remixes & B-Sides) featured artists like Felix Da Housecat and Does It Offend You, Yeah? remix their tracks whilst Young Hearts was given the remix treatment by EDM juggernauts Tiesto and Hardwell. Earlier this year Bassnectar released a thunderous edit of “No Way” and their friends The 1975 delivered their own take on “The Mess”. Xayalith shared her thoughts on this remix culture, saying, “It’s amazing when an artist that you love manipulates your song, changes the pitch and tempo and transforms the sound into something completely different.”
No slouch to reworking other artists work, The Naked and Famous have been invited to put their own spin on other artists like their haunting reimagining of M83’s “Reunion” or The Joy Formidable’s “Austere.” Asked if there was any artist they’d love to have rework one of their songs, the answer is delivered immediately. “I Would love Trent Reznor (from Nine Inch Nails) to remix one of our tracks” she replies, reaffirming the variety of influences and musical heroes of the group.
As much as having some time away from the spotlight is good, the Naked and Famous are keen to perform in front of a crowd again. They last performed in Singapore in 2012 and are excited be performing in the Lion City. “We’re looking forward to playing in Singapore. It will be good to be back on stage again.”
Catch The Naked and Famous performing live on December 12 at Bliss-Out
Music Weekly Asia is offering readers a special discount on tickets for our readers. Use the code below at checkout and save 10% off the price of Bliss Out tickets.
12 December 2015
The Meadows – Gardens By The Bay
Yoga: 5:00pm – 7:30pm | Concert: 8pm – late
Tickets: 110 SGD (Yoga and Concert) or 90 SGD (Concert Only)