Interview with bassist David Beadle from NZ band, The Naked & Famous
For a quintet from New Zealand, The Naked & Famous are doing very well internationally, thank you very much. They’ve had they’re music feature on umpteen TV shows, on fashion runways, even in video games. Antonino Tati chats with bassists David Beadle about notions of selling out. (Or not).
The Naked & Famous have had two songs in the top 30 of Triple J’s Hot 100 in 2011. That’s pretty impressive for a fresh band on the scene. Is it difficult to live up to that sudden recognition?
It was something entirely unexpected. We didn’t really know what all these radio stations or publications were – outside of NZ – so it was never as shocking as it should have been. As time has gone on, and as our understanding and expectation of ourselves has grown, we’ve all felt excitement about that and subsequently Triple J has become one of my favourite stations! I was talking with a friend from Adelaide recently and she also streams Triple J online from the USA. Haha.
LA is a great town for us at this stage. It’s a very familiar feeling to what we’re used to in New Zealand. You kinda need to drive everywhere, the people are very kind and the weather is great. On top of that, there is a great music scene out here. A lot of bands we’ve toured with are located here such as The Chaingang Of 1974 and Grouplove, and they also have great studios and producers out here too. We were able to meet and work on two tracks with Justin Meldal Johnsen, which was a great experience for us.
Why do you think the US has taken to antipodean music so well today?
Excellent choice of words. I haven’t heard that word [antipodean] used since I was in university. I honestly can’t really answer that question. I’d say it’s not that the US is taken by music from Australia and New Zealand more-so than perhaps the music coming out of Australia and New Zealand is exciting people in other markets the way it never has before. That could be due to the music itself, or blog culture and platforms such as YoutTube where music becomes a lot more accessible.
Your songs have featured in plenty of ads to. Do you ever get criticism for supposedly ‘selling out’?
Never! I think the idea of “selling out” doesn’t really exist anymore. Being synced in advertisements and TV shows and video games (FIFA 12) is one of the only legitimate ways of artists to make money these days. Because of the amount of music people steal, having a sync in major market media is a great thing for bands. We also see it as a new avenue to share our music with new audiences that may not have had the opportunity to hear us through normal avenues of listening.
Indeed, your music has featured in stacks of TV shows including Girls, Skins, and Grey’s Anatomy. What is the trippiest scene you’ve heard your song as the soundtrack to? Anything really gore-y or gritty on True Blood?
Thom just yelled out the answer for me. Milla Jovovich strutting to Girls Like You for a fashion campaign. He said he’s had an infatuation with her since his mum took him to see The Fifth Element for not getting a D on his report card.
Great.What has been a music festival highlight for you, and what fest might we see you perform at next in Australia?
I think collectively Glastonbury in 2011 was a highlight for us all. Being so far away from home on such a big stage with people yelling the lyrics to our songs something we’d never been able to see. We stayed at the festival late that night and got to see Radiohead and Caribou while dancing around in the rain in our gumboots. I think we all have our own personal festival highlights, but as a group Glastonbury is something that was very exciting for us.As for Australia, we’ll be there for the entire Big Day Out 2014! Actually now that I think about it, being able to play the Big Day Out was one of my favourite memories as well.
If you weren’t musicians today, what would each of you be doing?
I’m just going to take wild guesses for these. I suspect they’re probably all true though
• Thom – Still trying to be a musician
• Alisa – Something within fashion and the arts
• Aaron – IT Professional
• Jesse – IT Semi-Professional
• David – Struggling post-graduate student
You took your band name from a Tricky song. I reckon he’d have been pretty flattered by that. Have you met the guy and what do you think of him?
None of us have met him but I think David Farrier told Tricky and the guy got really excited! He seemed really flattered; didn’t know who we were but wanted to get in touch with us. That was a pretty crazy experience. Ha ha.
How would you sum up your new album In Rolling Waves in 25 words or less?
In Rolling Waves is an album which reflects how we have grown as people and musicians. We took a ‘less is more’ approach and have just worked on and evolved our sound from Passive Me, Aggressive You. I think that’s under 25 words.
It’s not, naughty. Finally, what contemporary bands and artists are you liking right now?
M83, alt-J, White Sea, Frightened Rabbit and The 1975.
The Naked And Famous’ In Rolling Waves is out now through Universal Music.