World News // Local Natives

“It’s just wild to see how people have been reacting. Everywhere we’ve gone people seem to know all the words and have been getting really into it. It’s been a trip.” says Kelcey Ayer, the singer-keyboardist for Local Natives. After a European tour and two infectious runs at SXSW ‘09 and ‘10, Local Natives have been catapulted into the spotlight. We caught up with the California band somewhere between Iowa City and Columbia, MO, during their four-month tour.

Naming their debut album Gorilla Manor, after the house that all five members shared together in 2008,  Kelcey told us that living as a band “will either help us or be the death of us. When you start living with your friends, its like anything; if you move in with a best friend, you get to really know all the good and the bad.” Ultimately, though, “it was really nice. It helped out with the creative process, in that it was so beneficial to be able to indulge in ideas and create something on the spot.” At any given moment he could say “‘Andy, want to help me with this bass line? I need to figure out a melody.’ It was literally like that all the time for most of 2008.” Looking back on that year, Kelcey says that “if we hadn’t have lived together, the record would have definitely come out differently, and, I really think not as good.”

For a band of friends and roommates, “World News” could not have been a more appropriate video for Local Natives. “It was the five of us, plus two girlfriends and a roommate, so everyone knew each other and it was just really relaxed and comfortable. We were able to just hang out and do all of the fun things that we wanted to do,” says Kelcey of the Malibu shoot. “We did the video with [director] Matthew Lessner, who’s work we really dug.” The group met on the beach and spent the day having a picnic while Lessner captured “the subtleties that went on in the shoot and made something happen from that. We were all just having a lot of fun.”

Local Natives are touring through August. They’re currently out west, with dates this week in Denver and Spokane.

—Annick Mayer