Q&A with Sean Gadd of Grouplove
The bubbly quintet visits Columbia this Sunday.
When: Sunday, Nov. 11 Doors: 7 p.m., Show: 8 p.m. Tickets: $20
If you're itching for a beam of that California sunshine in this dreary Midwestern climate, look no further than Los Angeles-based band Grouplove. The indie-pop band's joyfully melodic summer tunes, especially the party pleasing No. 1 single "Tongue Tied," have enjoyed a fair amount of radio airplay and should be drilled into your brain to last long after the convertible top is closed (and the mercury has dropped). MOVE spent time with bassist Sean Gadd to find out what's on the minds of the fun-loving, hat-wearing musician and his band.
[MOVE]: So, you've been touring since September — how's your sanity?
[Sean Gadd]: We started the band in 2010 and have really been on the road nonstop. Some days, you don't know who you are … but no, it's good, we're very lucky for the fact that we like each other. We have a great time on the road, and I think when you're on the road so long, and you have those brief times off, you kind of don't know what to do with yourself when you don't have your tour manager around to tell you when to get up in the morning.
[M]: You guys have had a Billboard No. 1 single, been featured in video games and on Jimmy Kimmel. What would you count as your greatest achievement?
[SG]: All that stuff is nice you know — No. 1s, commercials and such — but I feel the band's reward is that we have people that like our music and understand our music and come for our live shows. We build our reputation as a live band, and every time we come around the country, we've paid our dues, and we move up to the next level in that scene.
[M]: Grouplove is well-known for lively performances. What's the secret behind that energy?
[SG]: You can be exhausted before a show, and as soon as you walk on stage, that can change because you have people there to see you. And you forget about everything. That energy comes from the positivity in the audience and it just … happens, you know? It's very natural.
[M]: Any particularly memorable moments from touring these past couple years?
[SG]: I feel like every night there are memorable moments. We've been very lucky for the fact that we've gotten to play a lot of festivals that we grew up going to, and been around other musicians that we've have so much respect for. I'm from England, so when we played Glastonbury a few years back, (it was a) rather big moment for me because I went to Glastonbury Festival as a kid and to me it was always the greatest festival out there. (Guitarist) Andrew (Wessen) and (drummer) Ryan (Rabin), who grew up in California, felt the same way about Coachella.
[M]: What music are you hooked on now?
[SG]: I have a big thing for Alt-J, who we've been very lucky to have open for us on the start of this tour, and they're great people — a great band with great music. There are a lot of bands we've played with that we really like their music. Apart from all the classic who we all listen to, like the obvious stuff — The Beatles, the Pixies, Nirvana — it's nice to be there with contemporary music. Music is really exciting, and there's a lot of positive stuff happening.
[M]: Ironically, your latest album is named Never Trust A Happy Song. Is there a meaning behind that?
[SG]: We were all hanging out late one night, and it was something I said. We had a book with a bunch of pictures in them and a few quotes, and one of the quotes read, "Never trust a happy song." And it kind of related to our sound. There's a way you can hear a beautiful love song that may be lying to you lyrically, but you don't know. I feel it kind of represents us in a way. When we first came out, we sounded like a happy California band, and it just kind of made sense. There's some darkness mixed with positivity on the album.
[M]: Can fans look forward to new material in the future?
[SG]: On this tour we've got three new songs in the setlist, which we're really excited and pumped up about. We're so lucky -- we have all these songs to work with. (Vocalist and keyboardist) Hannah (Hooper) and (vocalist and guitarist) Christian (Zucconi) are nonstop writing songs. Christian writes a song a day some days. With Never Trust A Happy Song, one of the hardest things was actually picking the songs to go on the album, and I think that's going to be our biggest difficulty again with album number two.
[M]: Last question for you, Sean. You're often seen wearing interesting hats on stage. What gives?
[SG]: I've always been a hat guy, and I like wearing hats. It's become partly that people expect it, but there's not much more reason than I just like wearing hats. I'm always telling Hannah, "I'm going to play a show without my hat on," and she's always telling me I look better without a hat and asks why do I wear them. And I say, "You don't get it, Hannah."