JDB: Did you start out with similar aesthetics, or did the cohesiveness happen over time?
RR: I think we all definitely appreciated each other’s unique sound. We grew up around the same time, listening to a lot of the same bands and going to similar concerts. Anyone in their twenties right now was raised on the same kind of music.
JDB: Like who?
RR: But musically, we were all kind of different, which was sort of cool. We listened to each other’s past music, everyone introduced each other to their own sound, and about halfway through the residency we started playing with each other. It’s definitely something that evolved during that time we spent together in Greece.
JDB: I saw that you guys had an interview with the LA times, and that you’re hearing your songs on some movie and TV soundtracks. Does it feel like you’re “making it” now?
RR: [laughs] No. I mean, that sort of stuff is nice when you get approached about it, as long as it’s not something embarrassing like an Outback Steakhouse commercial. That’s just stuff to pay the rent. It’s not making it. It’s strictly survival technique.
JDB: What would “making it” be, do you think? What’s your dream gig?
RR: God, I don’t know, it’s hard to say. We try not to think like that, to look retrospectively, to think at what point we’ve done everything we wanted to. The discussion is usually more, “Ok, we did this, what can we do better next time?” I think leading up some shows we did opening for Florence and the Machine…those were our biggest shows, that was the big exciting thing for us. Having only been a band for half a year it was really humbling to have been at that point. But at the same time, once the show was over, the question was “How do we do that better in the future.” Obviously, headlining a venue like The Wiltern is better than opening, but we’re taking it a step at a time.
JDB: Can you describe Grouplove’s writing process?
RR: Every song is different. There’s no set method of how we do it, and we try to change it every time because we never want one song to be too similar sounding to another. Hopefully you hear that on the EP, and you hear a difference between the songs, not necessarily in genre but in overall vibe.
I can give you an example. “Naked Kids “was something that Hannah and Christian had just been messing around with, almost in a jokey vibe. It’s a very tongue-in-cheek song. And then from messing around with those fun lyrics, they brought it to the rest of us. When we were making the EP we were like, this is a really fun song, it’s super summer-y, let’s try to make it into a full song. So we took their original idea and as a group took it from there and developed it in the studio. A song like “Colours,” Christian wrote the base of that song quite a while ago and just had it in his back pocket. We heard that and we just said “Let’s build on that.” A lot of times it will be a song from someone’s past that gets brought to the band and evolves from there, and other times it will be just something we’re jamming on as a band in practice, just messing around with chords or a drum beat. Overall every song is a group effort, but where it comes from varies.
JDB: Who writes the lyrics to your songs?
RR: It depends what song it is. Again, Christian had the idea for “Colours” before he even met us so he had those lyrics written. Getaway Car, the song that Sean sings, is another song that he had written from before. On the album we’re doing right now… you know, everybody is a writer. The person who “quarterbacks” the song usually writes the lyrics, but when we’re in the studio we definitely sound things off each other. No one song is written the same as another.
JDB: Speaking of “Getaway Car,” that song seems to be the most unique you’ve got, not only because Sean sings it. It’s got a different vibe, it’s a little heavier…are you guys experimenting with these sorts of different sounds for your new album?
RR: Yeah. We like to try different things on every song. There are definitely songs that are a bit more electronic-based on this album, and there’s more traditional rock-based stuff. Hannah sings a few songs on the album, Andrew sings a song. So there’s definitely an eclectic mix of sounds on there. And that’s reflective of the fact that everybody in the band is a songwriter, so everybody brings a different style to the table.
JDB: When is that going to be released? Do you have a date yet?
RR: Not a set date, but we’re shooting for May or June, hopefully May.
JDB: I’m really looking forward to it.
RR: Us too. We’re super excited to get these songs out there.
Until that fateful day in May, you can join me in wearing out your speakers with Grouplove’s eponymous EP. To follow other crazy (but probably less Greek) adventures of Ryan and Co., check out their blog, “Group Livin'."