Autumn de Wilde Grouplove are ready to give you a terrifying trip. The L.A.…
- Posted on May 18th 2011 3:30PM by Theo Spielberg
Ethan J Edwin Scott
While Grouple is traversing the UK on the NME Radar Tour, Spinner caught up the band while they were in the middle of an English soccer field, taking penalty shots and stretching their legs. The band has just completed its first, as-yet-untitled album, which is due in September, and is readying their second music video, 'Itchin on a Photograph,' for release in Britain. Spinner spoke with an out-of-breath Rabin to talk about the new record, the band's name and their matching tattoos.
Where are you guys now?
Beautiful Hull. Actually, it's incredible because we finally have had some grass to run around on so we're trying to play soccer really badly. It's not really working for me. I think I was meant for volleyball.
Did you guys play a full soccer game?
I wanted to but our tour manager said he didn't want to run around that much, so we just took penalty kicks.
Who has the best penalty kick on the team?
Andrew's got quite the boot on him. I thought I would be the best because I'm the best soccer fan in the group. Excuse me "football fan," but Andrew's got a boot. And Ben [Berger, the band's manager] is just horrible. He's looking at me now like "What did you say?!" Make sure you put that in.
How is the NME tour going?
It's very cool. I guess it would be considered hip here. To me, coming from L.A., I love the NME, so for us it's pretty cool to be on the tour. The turnouts are great, all the venues are pretty cool. The other bands are really good. Touring here is always a little bit easier than the States just because everything is so much closer together. I think the longest drive is four hours, and that takes us to Scotland. I always find a lot of good new bands in NME.
Hannah did the artwork for your EP as well as the Morning Benders' 'Big Echo.' Will she be doing the artwork for the new full-length?
Yeah, she's kind of playing around with a few paintings right now. We have a little time to make those decisions but she's been working on a bunch of different stuff with her canvases whenever she gets the time to be home, which is not a lot.
Have you had any hard times on the road?
Regardless of whether it's a band or not, anybody who spends enough time with another person is going to get a little cranky every now and then. It's down to no matter what kind of day it's been: if none of us have gotten any sleep or everybody is a little cranky in the van and we haven't been able to have any decent food for a couple days. Usually once the show starts, it sort of all disappears. A lot of people like to ask, especially in the UK, "Are you really having that much fun on stage?" and I say "Yeah!" Then they say, "Well how do you enjoy it so much?" and I say, "Well, it's fun to play music to people!" We take our music but we don't try to take ourselves seriously. That's probably the most important thing in terms of having fun and being cool with each other, is that we're actually enjoying ourselves.
Where did the name Grouplove come from?
Originally it was Group. The funny thing is it was originally Group but Grouplove was sort of something that had been with everybody since we met in Crete. After the trip, whenever we would send an e-mail, we'd sign it -- instead of "Love, Ryan," it would be "Group love all around!" We always just called each other the Group. We'd run into each other and be like, "GROUP!" It was just a stupid inside call sign. And then Grouplove is how we would sign the emails, like "Group love all around, yo!"
You guys all have "Group" tattooed on your arms. What's the story behind that?
When Shaun got his visa approved and he flew back from London, everybody went straight to the tattoo parlor and got "GROUP" tattooed as a sort of fun group activity. I actually wasn't there at the time. I might've been finishing school or something. Hannah's brother designed the logo, if you can call it that. We took that image to the tattoo parlor and used that. It was kind of cool keeping it all in the family.
We were still Group at the time, but eventually when we started getting ready to self-release the EP we had to go through a couple random legal things to get it on iTunes. We realized Group is a cool name but its un-Googleable. We wouldn't be able to copyright it, trademark it or have any sort of ownership over it.
Do you guys ever plan on adding "love" to these tattoos?
It's possible, maybe on the other arm. I personally hate tattoos. I think everybody tries to act like it doesn't hurt as much as it does.
Your video for 'Itchin on a Photograph' features a garden gnome riding a frog. Can you elaborate on that?
That particular character I believe is the token "meth addict in a motel with a garden gnome frog and a bunch of hard-boiled eggs." That character was Jordan's idea, the director. We wanted the whole video to be performance based and kind of capture what we do live. Jordan came and documented our SXSW s---, and that was a really grungy tour. You know, we were going from motel to motel and there was sort of that cool grittiness that we liked about it. There's always sort of strange characters associated with being in motels and so that was one of the characters that came to mind, the meth-head with a garden gnome. You have the token star-crossed young teenage couple and then the sexually ambiguous elderly couple.
And the band.
The weirdest characters of all.
[There's one thing] about the video that's cool: The two teenagers in the video are actually fans that live in Texas. When we were in SXSW, they drove from Houston to come see us in Austin and made us a bunch of T-shirts and stuff. The director filmed them and interviewed them about the band and there's this sort of beautiful story that unfolded about how they met and fell in love and came to the show. He made her a Grouplove T-shirt and that's why they started making us the t-shirts. So all these really cool things about their story started to develop so when we realized we wanted a couple in the video we said to Jordan, "Look, we don't have a big budget but we should fly these two out and put them in the video." He said he was cool with it and we pretty much spent all our money to fly them out. The guy had actually never been on a plane before.
Hannah sometimes wears a mask during your shows. What's that about?
It's her alter-ego rapping mask. It's her hip-hop mask that she likes to put on whenever she does the hip-hop part in 'Naked Kids.' I think maybe she wears it in 'Colours' for a little bit. I always like to think that when she mentions Oprah Winfrey in the song, she doesn't want her face to be showing so Oprah can't call her and get mad at her.
So she maintains a degree of anonymity?
Exactly. At least with Oprah. She's always calling like, "You guys, what are you doing? Can I come over?"
Maybe you should just hang out with her and get it over with.
I don't know. She kind of creeps me out.
What was your writing process on this album?
Everything is pretty much collaborative from the get-go. Most of the time, every song will sort of start with one person's initial idea, or even what was a completed song from someone's past. Sometimes it'll start in the rehearsal space playing around with it or it will literally start in the studio while we're recording it. Each song was kind of made in a different way but ultimately, after that initial stage, everybody pretty much helps to craft it and finish it up.
Where did you guys record?
At my downtown apartment. I did it again pretty much like how I did the EP except just not in my parents' garage this time. I didn't have a bedtime, so we could work later.