GROUPLOVE Discusses New Record and Waxes Nostalgic About the LES [INTERVIEW]

Posted on: June 26th, 2013 at 11:32 am by
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We’re sitting in the lobby of Atlantic Records in midtown, pounding a Dixie Cup of H2O and a bag of greasy potato chips, fidgeting about what to ask. After all, interviewing a band you really dig, in person no less, can be rather intimidating. Then, just like that, it’s off to a corporate conference room on the 27th floor, chillin’ with LA-based indie outfit GROUPLOVE.

The band is finalizing the artwork for its forthcoming sophomore record – Spreading Rumours – when we enter and take a seat. The ice is quickly shattered with a quick personal tale about the propensity of record label talent to bake out conference rooms when visiting. A story especially fitting since there was nothing of the kind in the room. Instead, we hear about the recent Prospect Park show during the monsoon of June 13, and how the encore was cut short for safety concerns.

Returning to New York City is certainly a highlight for this five-piece. Keyboardist Hannah Hooper discusses her previous life at Ludlow and Canal some five years ago, long before the musical success. She tells us about hangin’ at Bacaro and how she met guitarist Christian Zucconi, another downtowner, who worked as a bartender for three years at Fat Baby.

The lovebirds, shortly after first meeting, hauled ass to Crete for an artist residency program that eventually led to the formation of GROUPLOVE. There in the Mediterranean, they would cross paths with bassist (and Londoner) Sean Gadd, drummer Ryan Rabin, and surfer/guitarist Andrew Wessen. Yet like many successful relationships, the band began as friends first before committing to the intimacy of making music. However, the pieces were finally assembled a year later in Los Angeles, whence the band now hails.

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Bottom line is, these guys still miss the Lower East Side and sometimes consider relocating. “We were broke in New York for ten years,” says Hannah, “so [if we make some money] it would be nice to come back.” On that note, the crew still maintains that their best local gig was the album release show at the Bowery Ballroom for Never Trust a Happy Song. Not a huge surprise considering it’s the best venue in the city to see live music.

The conversation then takes a turn for the nostalgic when the topic of favorite city hangouts is floated. 169 Bar, ABC No Rio, and The Smile all make an appearance on their short list of haunts. But it was Ray’s Candy Store and his delicious egg creams that got the biggest shout. “Yeah, we get egg creams … it’s really old school,” Hannah endorses.

Now GROUPLOVE is in full PR mode, focused on plugging Spreading Rumours, which is presently pegged for a September 17 release. They say fan response at shows has been supportive, and not just another excuse to hit the head. At the moment, the leadoff single, “Ways to Go,” is the band’s favorite song to perform live. “Cuz we’re all kinda switching up [the instruments],” Christian quips. “Like Andrew plays drums and Ryan gets on the keys.” Not to mention, the music video is also pretty hilarious. While seemingly Kim Jong Un-related, Ryan maintains the comparisons weren’t intentional. The goal was to portray the theme of “Utopian dictator becomes good in a day because of the music.” Draw your own conclusions.

The bowl of Tootsie Rolls and Red Hots that finds its way into the room signals the end of our interview session. Upon departing, we remind them to hit up Motor City Bar and bid farewell before hopping a jet to the west coast.

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