ICON: We are living in such bizarre, uncertain times. How are you feeling in the lead up to the album release?
Alisa Xayalith: “I feel like so many plans of album releases and tours have been pushed back because of all the craziness. I guess that’s its poignant that our album is called Recover and it’s being released at this specific time.
Following the departure of three band members, David, Jesse and Aaron, did you think you would make music as The Naked And Famous ever again?
AX: “To be quite honest with you Thom and I started this band at the very beginning. The DNA of The Naked And Famous has always been the same because Thom and I are the song writers and Aaron, Jesse and David joined the band afterwards, after we had written all the material.
So, I feel like, yes while it is super sad that we had to say goodbye to three brothers essentially, three family members that have travelled the world with us and shared some of the biggest stages and performed in front of some of the biggest crowds we’ve ever played in our lives. I will cherish those memories forever. I wish them all the best in what they are doing know, because I know that because they were as invested creatively, just because Thom and I write everything, they probably felt like they needed a bit of ownership over doing something that was theirs and only theirs.”
What was your frame of mind like going into this new album? How long was the process?
AX: “The band members left and then Thom and I made the acoustic record in 2018 and I guess we kind of made that record as a distraction from them leaving. That was a good way for Thom and I to reconnect with these songs and the rehashing and it was a good exercise for us to do and to feel like we had a sense of purpose at that time. Once we had finished that, we had to start writing for the fourth LP.
Thom and I started writing, we wrote a good batch of songs and it was really hard stuff to get on the same page with where we wanted to go and where we wanted to lead the band and I was really adamant that we needed to have some kind evolution musically on the next record. Everything we were writing, I probably drove Thom up the wall when I was like, ‘Yeah this is good, but this isn’t the sound. This needs to be different. We need to try harder; we need to try and find something else.’
You know, I posed the question to him: what do you want to hear? What do people want to hear from The Naked And Famous in 2020?
And what do we want for The Naked And Famous in 2020? Is this how you really want to continue? We just didn’t get on the same page to the point where we didn’t speak to each other for about three months. It was ridiculous but that’s the trouble when you have two strong minded people in a band, and we used to have a committee of three people we could hash ideas and things out with. But we don’t have them anymore, it’s just the two of us so that’s really tough.”
You’ve been in the industry for well over a decade. How have you had to adjusted to the boom of social media?
AX: “I think about technology [as] you either want to be a part of it or you don’t. We’ve been really good with wanting to be a part of technology and wanting to go where the times are shifting. We both worked in music retail, we worked at a record store and the music revenue was 80 percent physical sales and 20 percent digital sales and now it’s like completely flipped. Like, 2 percent physical and the rest digital…
When you go from the Myspace era to now, we’re in the days of Instagram and Twitter and I feel like if anything the social media technology of today has allowed us to connect with people that are following our band and that have followed our band and [we] are hoping we can get new people introduced to the band this way.”
Even when you’re speaking about heavy or sad or difficult topics, you still manage to make it sound so uplifting. Why is that important to you?
AX: “I think that’s something that has always been very natural to us because you know a sad song can still feel good. You can write a sad song and it can still feel good. I feel like that’s something we’ve always done. We can cloud really miserable content in quite upbeat productions and chord progressions. I guess it’s something we don’t even think about.”
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
AX: “Living or dead. Oh my God. I’d love to collaborate with Lana Del Ray, to collaborate with someone like, [there are] so many awesome bands out there that I absolutely love. The latest, an artist that I’ve recently come across that I’m super into his name is Timmy Trumpet he is an awesome artist and I recommend you check him out.”
How do you think your music has evolved since the very beginning?
AX: “I feel like we had no idea what we were doing in the beginning. Absolutely no idea. We were recording out of a bedroom, The Naked And Famous were my first band you know.
I feel like our songs have evolved over time just like our music tastes ebbs and flows and changes as we grow older. It’s definitely more electronic and less live than it has been on previous records. I just feel like perhaps the record after this we might reintroduce a lot of those live elements, but I think a lot of the stuff in the cover is very, very electronic, which is different for us because we hadn’t developed electronically before on any of our records.”
What do you hope people take from this new release?
“I hope people feel good. Feel a sense of warmth and positivity from this record I want to make people feel good.”
AX: “We’ve written so many serious, brooding, heart breaking, devastating songs and I feel there is so much on here that is really warm and colourful and I hope it makes people feel happy. ”
The Naked And Famous’s newest album, Recover is out now. For more from the band, visit here.