Sunday, July 10, 2011


Normally when you read the headline of "Naked and Famous" you immediately begin to the think the socialites of Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and anyone else with a track record or sex tape. However, these days in the music world that headline means much more now as it appeals to one of 2011's most talked about bands and a band that has been a gem in their native New Zealand, The Naked and Famous have taken themselves from Oceania to the rest of the world and are becoming more and more a buzz band than they imagined thanks to the international release of their debut, Passive Me, Aggressive You earlier this year. From sold out tours around the world to supporting heavy hitters like Nine Inch Nails, Florence and the Machine, Foals and more, the band's 80's synth meets modern indie style of dance rock (think New Order meets Phoenix) have them gaining new fans with each listen. I caught up with drummer Jesse Wood as we discussed the bands break out year, style and formation. Take a look at my interview with Jesse below.

You take your name from a Tricky track from back in the day, did he have a major influence on you or you just thought the name was cool?

We're all Tricky fans and the lyric appealed to us as it's a very
tongue and cheek reference to celebrity culture.

How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard of you before?

This is always a tough question. In the broadest sense I'd say its Alternative Pop music as there are lots of Pop elements but we mostly all grew up on Alternative music etc

There is such a tremendous buzz here in the US. Do you feel major pressure to live up to the hype and buzz?

It's very exciting and flattering to have the hype and buzz. I suppose the pressure is there but we're just doing what we've always wanted to do so it makes the pressure seem less significant.

I dig the clever album title, “Passive Me, Aggressive You,” who came up with it?

Passive Me, Aggressive You is a lyric from the opening track All Of This. It was a mutual decision since as it seemed very fitting for the album. There's a running theme through the album with polarities. Male and Female vocals, analog and digital elements and even the art work has natural landscapes juxtaposed with digital art.

What was it like recording your debut?

Recording the album was a very fulfilling experience. A lot of work had been put in to getting the songs where they needed to be and it was very gratifying to have it finished. We did most of the tricky things in a larger studio but most of the time was spent in bedroom studios.

You have played with some heavy hitters – Nine Inch Nails, Florence and the Machine and The Temper Trap. What do you learn from those acts being a young band?

It's always very motivating and inspiring to play with big acts. I think we're all quite analytical and personally I love looking at stage setups and how they replicate sounds live.

You are having a pretty amazing 2011, have you thought about how you are going to top it or are you just taking it a day at a time?

We are doing both. We have put a lot of work into our live shows to get them where the are but at the same time we are keeping level headed and making sure we do the best we can. There's plenty of shows lined up in different cities so as long as we can hold it together and not drive each other nuts it's going to be an amazing year.