For an Australian audience, it would be easy to think The Naked And Famous are yet another hurriedly packaged product of the internet age. The Auckland-based quintet have seemingly come out of nowhere to conquer the airwaves with their ridiculously addictive album, â€˜Passive Me, Aggressive Youâ€™.
But The Nakeds have taken a deceptively long road to success. Over the last two years theyâ€™ve drip-fed an eager Kiwi listenership with a trio of well-received EPs, and it was always the plan to build slowly rather than bum rush the charts.
â€œI think so,â€ says a bubbly Alisa Xayalith from her home on Aucklandâ€™s North Shore. â€œI think it was really important that we got to live with what weâ€™d written for a while, and then go back to it and cut things out. Itâ€™s almost like a painting, you know? Youâ€™re just gradually building up your layers, and however long it takes you to get to your finished product. I think we were a lot more fussy and more perfectionist about the record than we were about the EPs. Because with the EPs we were just settling for what weâ€™d done: â€˜Yeah, that takeâ€™s good enoughâ€™. This time around we were quite frantic about each little part.â€
This was a learning process too; Alisa and her bandmates taking their time to figure out the intimidating task of writing songs and dealing with a studio.
â€œWhen we were making the EPs it was quite a big learning curve for us and we were just figuring out our way around the studio and really nutting out songs and focussing on songwriting, so it was a big period of learning how to record and write songs and all that kind of stuff. And two years down the track weâ€™ve grown up and weâ€™re all better at our craft and the productionâ€™s gone from a lo-fi four-piece band up to a five-piece band, and weâ€™ve kinda transformed into a bigger, better, louder style of music to what we did on the EPs.â€
The albumâ€™s been a huge hit in New Zealand, going straight to the top of the charts after its early September release and still sitting just outside the top 20.
â€œItâ€™s been great. We just did a tour of the main centres in the south island â€“ Dunedin, Christchurch â€“ and then onto Wellington,â€ Alisa explains. â€œThe last time we played down there was not as receptive, but the people that came this time â€“ there were so many people! We were overwhelmed. It was just so inspiring to play to all these people that have bought our record and know the songs, and they sing the words back to you. I just feel like Iâ€™ve really inspired some people, and I canâ€™t describe or explain how it makes me feel. Iâ€™m just really elated, I suppose.
â€œIt has been a very long labour of love and Iâ€™m just so glad that itâ€™s finally out there, you know? And itâ€™s out in Australia any day now. Iâ€™m so excited â€“ itâ€™s going to be out in Australia soon!â€
The album is indeed now out in Australian stores and has been selling well. But regional success isnâ€™t the only thing on the menu for The Nakeds: New York-based imprint Neon Gold have allowed the band to make their international bow with a limited edition 7â€ of the massive single, â€˜Young Bloodâ€™.
â€œThey actually reached out to us,â€ Alisa says, as if she still can hardly believe it happened. â€œAnd I donâ€™t even know how it came about. I think somebody posted it on their Facebook and somebody from Neon Gold saw it and they just got in touch with us straight away. It was a happy accident, I guess. Just a random, random thing!â€
Now in support of the Australian release, The Naked And Famous are bringing their dynamite-packed live show to the east coast.
â€œItâ€™s just so hard to describe our shows. I guess weâ€™re high energy and I think Iâ€™d consider us a band that likes to play their songs really well. Itâ€™s so hard to describe. But we love coming to Brisbane because itâ€™s so nice and sunny. Itâ€™s just going to get very busy and weâ€™re really looking forward to it.â€
The Naked And Famous play The Clubhouse, Saturday November 6. â€˜Passive Me, Aggressive Youâ€™ is out no