There’s something about the chemistry of certain bands that evades a precise explanation―it rests on the tip of your tongue, but can’t be quite pinpointed. It’s a serendipitous force that brings musicians together to create art that’s greater than the sum of its creators. This idea rings true with the aptly named band, Grouplove, an outfit where each of the five members feed off one another. The magnetic draw between them molded their lives together without regard for distance or time. We sat down with them to talk about their success, their contagious energy, and the strange power that binds them together.
Grouplove Chat About Their Origins and Contagious Energy
Grouplove is made up of five artists that, by way of sheer chance, intersected paths. The Los Angeles-based outfit officially came together in 2009, yet the formation dates back years prior. Two founding members, Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi, met in New York City and were immediately inspired by one another. Soon after, they traveled together to the Greek island of Crete for an art residency where this same indefinable chemistry led them to three other artists in Sean Gadd, Ryan Rabin and Andrew Wessen. The five began their symbiotic relationship of creating music together as if guided by natural intuition.
To get an idea of their unity, consider that when we asked Grouplove to describe their band in five words, they simply repeated the first names of each member: “Christian, Hannah, Sean, Andrew, Ryan.” It appears the magic they captured in Greece remains with them; it lives in their music. The scope of their project has expanded well beyond what they could have imagined that one summer together, though. Once the group gathered up funds to reconvene and record in Rabin’s Los Angeles studio, the rest, as they say, was history. Success came in a relatively short time once they released their first EP in 2010. Grouplove’s appeal was instant.
Their song “Colours” broke out, before eventually being topped by their debut LP’s single, “Tongue Tied,” a track that’s since reached ubiquity on the airwaves. Naturally, their music is communal―it inspires interaction, singing along, and the transferal of energy. As a result, Grouplove has gone from playing bars to clubs to sprawling theaters and festivals, and the crowds keeps getting bigger. The band seems unfazed, though: “Once we get onstage we always bring it, no matter what. The size of the room and the scale of an audience just makes everything feel bigger. Wherever we’re playing we always feel humbled.”
In a twist of fate, it seems the audience has joined in on the creative energy flowing between Grouplove, effectively become the 6th member of the group. We caught them in Columbus, Ohio last month, and the deep bond between the crowd and the band was palpable. “Every time we play Columbus, it’s a highlight. The audience always brings the best energy you could ever ask for,” Andrew Wessen added. Evidently, the response of the crowd matters more than the size of the stage or the brightness of the spotlight ever could.
“The truth is, once we’re onstage, it doesn’t matter where we are, it’s all about the energy we share with our audience.” – Grouplove
With their latest release, September’s Spreading Rumours, the band continues to build on their indie pop sound with earworm songs that get in your head and stay there for days. Just yesterday, they released their music video for their single “Shark Attack” (above), which captures a snapshot of the energy they bring to their live shows. Coincidentally, Grouplove’s 2014 U.S. tour dates were released as well, setting a concrete route as the band hops along the music hubs of North America.
Many view bands as simply a leader backed by a supporting cast, but Grouplove exemplify the fault in that logic. There’s so much power in their unanimous vision―it’s a contagious entity that all five members have extended to their fans. The origins of this energy may never be clear, but if you’re looking, start by wandering the backstreets of lower Manhattan at night, or scouring the aquamarine waters of Greece.
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