Grouplove, that’s the name, that’s what you get! We met the lovely band for a sweet little chat at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. Hannah Hooper, Christian Zucconi, Sean Gadd, Andrew Wessen and Ryan Rabin have just released their third album and are now back touring the world.
We were really happy to meet them and talk about their new record, how it all started and find out why onesies are the perfect stage outfit.
Hi guys, it’s lovely to have you around. Maybe we can start with you introducing yourselves and telling us how you met and became a band?
Christian: Alright, well we all met in a very fateful summer back in 2008, we all met in a greek artist communion in the island of Crete, we were all there for various reasons and Hannah had brought me from New York, we found love and were out there and we met everyone else in the band never thinking we’d become a band. We were all just friends, we appreciated each others music, then we kind of stayed in touch and a year later we all went on to California to visit everyone again, like the bass player at that time was from London, we were in New York, Ryan and Andrew lived in California we decided to all get back together.
Hannah: We had no job, we had no money, we had no income, so we were like, let’s stay with them! And we moved in with his parents.
Ryan: Yeah basically like they said, we stayed in touch, they cam to L.A. and we just decided to play music and record for fun one day, because like Christian said, we all appreciated our songs that we heard each other playing, but we never played them together, so we just played them together for fun and we just used some borrowed recording equipment and that was kind of it. We listened to it and slowly realized that had found something special with each other that we weren’t expecting to find. And then, you know, slowly but surely it became our job.
And this story is the reason why you named the band Grouplove?
Hannah: We actually originally named the band ‘Group’, but you can’t google that, it sounds like a disease. So we were just like, there’s so much love in this band, and now we’re ‘Grouplove’.
You released a new record, was there any certain concept or special idea behind the new album?
Christian: Well it’s called Big Mess and it kind of isolates the last two years in our lives, when we were on the road. We were in a chaotic place I think everyone coming home from touring so many years, we didn’t really know who we were anymore off the road. So it’s a self-discovery and using all that chaos in your brain in a productive way, we got to sit and focus on writing songs and documenting this time we had off.
Hannah: I think we realized that we personally can’t control our lives and the world also has so much sadness and crazy shit happening that we just felt like on so many levels things were a big mess, so it was a true inspiration from that. And so instead of finding a way to deal with it we just made a bunch of art.
Ryan: I feel better and hopefully people listen to it and feel better to, living in this crazy world right now.
Did you also do the artwork for the album cover?
Hannah: Yeah, I did it.
Hannah: Thank you.
Christian: Hannah does all our artwork and everything. Any visualizing.
So you’re a painter as well?
Hannah: Yeah, that’s actually why I went to Greece, to be a painter. Well I was a painter, but I went to Greece to paint.
Christian: This is Hannah’s first band, she never thought she’d be in a band before.
Hannah: I truely belive that anything you do, that you’re just doing genuinely for fun, because we’re not trying to make something, it’s much more natural working.
Ryan: There wasn’t an ending in mind, there wasn’t like ‘we should do this, because this would get us a record deal’, we just genuinely did it. And I think that it’s the first time like that for the rest of us besides Hannah, that we’ve not been trying, we have been in different bands and trying to have careers in music and basically failed over and over again and this was the one time we weren’t serious about making a band, I don’t think any of us wanted to be in another band, we’ve been trying to do it for so long and it wasn’t working and finally when we didn’t actually care what happened, was when it worked out.
Hannah: Yeah, people were like ‘we love it!’ and we were like ‘WHAT? Awesome!’.
So it’s more like a matter to your hearts than the mission to make money of it?
Christian: Yeah definitely, exactly.
Hannah: Yeah, you just said it. I wish we said it that way!
What was the latest record that you bought for yourselves?
Hannah: I think I just got Grimes’ Art Angels. I think that’s the last one I bought.
Ryan: Mines really nerdy, it’s like a film score. I bought a vinyl of the Laurence of Arabia music. But it was a french pressing, we played a show at a record store and I saw that one and I just thought ‘hey, this is a very nerdy hip cool vinyl’, and I love that music for the movie. But it was just so funny that it was a french version.
Christian: I just got the last Radiohead album on vinyl. Moonshaped Pool.
Ah, we saw them at the Lollapalooza in Berlin!
Christian: Oh, so we saw the same kind of show, I saw them about a month or so ago. Amazing.
So you said that you have been very tired from touring as you do tour a lot, is there any absolutely essential items that you put in your suitcase when you’re on tour?
Ryan: Tiger Rub, some muscle soothing stuff.
Hannah: We just had a baby, so we pack diapers. For Ryan. And the baby. What else, a little bit of Marijuana.
Christian: A good attitude.
Hannah: Yeah we pack a good attitude, you’re my grandmother’s child.
Christian: I got too stoned yesterday, so I got the spins.
Hannah: He got so stoned, he layed by the river for like two hours.
Ryan: I pack as little as I possibly can.
No matter how long you’re touring, same size of suitcase?
Ryan: Yeah, same size. I’m trying to set a record, smallest suitcase for biggest tour.
So your outfits and dressing don’t really play a big role in your concept?
Hannah: Oh no, it does. I would say one plays into the other, like when the music is made, you kind of know subconscious you know what to wear. He wears these enormous shirts, Ryan wears absolutely nothing, except for those tiny little pants. I wear Onesies because I can move in them and like nothing pops out. Onesies and PJ’s.
Do you have any indispensable pieces in your wardrobe?
Christian: Yeah we have a lot of clothes that we retired from wearing, but we will always have them because they remind us of years of our tour.
Hannah: Yeah, like each tour has that item. I would say last tour I wore like a black lace. Christian has a white t-shirt, that is like so big, it’s below his knees and he wears it inside out, on the other side there’s a bunny.
Christian: Are you coming to the show tonight? I’m probably gonna wear that shirt.
Yeah sure we are!
Christian: I think it’s good to look good in your own clothes on stage, to be original. Not forced.
Hannah: I think people are so concerned about style, but thats what you identify with, it’s not what’s on the runway, I think we make things that aren’t cool cool. You know?
Is there any record that you’d take on a desert island?
Hannah: I think I’d want something hopeful and kind of badass to keep me going so I think I’d take Rihanna- Desperado. I’d just have that on repeat all day.
Christian: I’d take something that makes me feel sad and lonely so I’d probably take Kid A.
Hannah: I’d probably kill myself on that island if there was Radiohead on repeat. I’d be having a good time listening to Rihanna.
Ryan: I can’t. I don’t know. Maybe something classic.
Last question is an off topic question that we like to ask, do you have any childhood heroes?
Ryan: Michael Jackson.
Hannah: Let me see. Have you heard of the Last Unicorn? The saddest cartoon in the world. But I love it.
Christian: Maybe Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford.
That’s a good childhood hero! Thank you so much guys! We really enjoyed the little chat and had a great time at your gig. We’re looking forward to see you again soon.
Meanwhile everybody else should check Grouplove’s new album ‘Big Mess’ and try to catch them while they are touring.
xx smoke and echoes
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