In the winter of 2012, GROUPLOVE played Old National Centre’s Deluxe room, that smaller stage in the venue’s lower level that showcases acts on the rise. That testament has held true for the critically acclaimed five-piece from Los Angeles, as they’ll move upstairs this Friday, March 21, to play the significantly more spacious Egyptian Room.
One reason for GROUPLOVE’s rise in popularity is its No. 1 single, “Tongue Tied.” Last year it was certified platinum, and before that, it got comfortable on television—season three of Glee covered the track, and Apple used it earlier for an iPod Touch commercial. But a lot of the band’s success stems from non-stop touring and a highly energetic live show. The formula is working: GROUPLOVE’s first U.S. tour of 2014 kicks off tonight in Cincy, with nine dates already sold out. The band will then join the fray at powerhouse festivals Coachella and Bonnaroo as a main act.
Before their show in Indy this Friday, and another long summer music season ensues, IM caught up with Hannah Hooper (vocals & keys) about playing Indy, city rivalries, and keeping an authentic sound.
I know you guys are based out of Los Angeles, but are there any connections to Indy?
Yeah. We all know Elvis performed his last concert in downtown Indianapolis in ’77, and we all feel a connection to Elvis.
The King is just the king. His style of singing and pelvis shaking can do no wrong.
In 2012 the band played the Deluxe room at Old National and covered Whitney Houston. Can we expect another eccentric cover on March 21?
We know a handful of covers and bring ‘em out randomly. Christian [Zucchoni, vocalist/guitarist] is pretty spontaneous when it comes to adding them to the set, so who knows? I don’t even know.
Anything memorable you guys took away from playing our city?
It was the first night we started discussing doing a collaboration with our dear friends Manchester Orchestra. Right after our show, Andy [Hull, MO’s singer] called us up to discuss the ins and outs of writing a song together without being in the same room. Abstract awesomeness.
Was there any intent to stop in Indy over Chicago? Typically, it’s the other way around for indie bands.
Ah, nah, we don’t do city rivalries except for San Francisco and Los Angeles. We are playing Indy because we love playing there.
What’s the beef with San Fran and L.A.?
[Laughs] Yeah, well, I am from S.F. and there is a very deep-rooted S.F. vs. L.A. rivalry. Growing up there, I was raised to believe L.A. was a plastic city of waste. But I live there now and know this is all a bunch of horse poopie!
Being one of the first dates, what can Indy expect from your first U.S. headlining tour of 2014?
Expect to hear an array of songs from our EP, from Never Trust a Happy Song, and from Spreading Rumours. There will definitely be some thrashing and head banging and good ol’ spontaneous banter—just a heavy non-stop night of GROUPLOVE. If you are there, you are a part of it.
What’s your reaction to a handful of dates selling out months before the kickoff?
Awesome. Inspiring. Humbling.
This tour is supporting your recent sophomore release, Spread Rumours, an album on par with the unique indie-pop style shown in the band’s breakthrough album, Never Trust a Happy Song. SR feels sonically cleaner and lyrically freer; was that a focal point for this new record?
We toured and played Never Trust a Happy Song for so long that we became such a strong live unit. That is probably the clarity and freedom you are feeling with Spreading Rumours. We have definitely become better musicians together, which has given us the ability to write more honest music with a clearer voice.
Speaking of honesty, “Hippy Hill” on SR has the prominent line, “I’d rather be a hippie than a hipster.”
Hippy Hill is a beautiful grassy hill in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park where people have gathered from all over the world since the ’60s to play music, dance, make out, make art. …There is a very personal, gentle, and open interaction people have with one another there. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, downloads and uploads, and e-mails and everything like that are not a part of our hippy hill.
Yeah, ever-changing social media can confuse a band’s identity. How have you kept your authenticity?
Social media is just an endless keyhole of information. When we are making art, we are totally consumed by the project at hand, and social media, daylight, obligations, and everything else gets tossed by the wayside.
I read you all have a GROUPLOVE tattoo?
We all have “GROUP” tattooed on our forearm—bands fall apart but groups stay together.