Safe to say Vancouver’s newest live music venue, the Electric Owl, has been properly broken in thanks to GROUPLOVE and their quirky, but oh so entertaining performance recently.
Before hitting the stage and in dire need of coffee, keyboardist Hannah Hooper and bassist Sean Gadd shared with us some of their adventures in songwriting, music making and why you should never trust a happy song.
Is there any material on the album that spans back to your days in the art residency in Greece?
Hannah Hooper: I think it’s just kind of that friendship that’s what lasted. The songs that were written there were on the EP. Naked Kids was written pretty close to Greece, but definitely wasn’t written in Greece.
Sean Gadd: It was written in Brooklyn in the wintertime.
HH: It was so cold out and I was all alone in upstate New York trying to paint. Christian came and visited me and we just wrote “Naked Kids”.
The cinematography for all of your music videos is pretty amazing. Where does the initial vision for your videos come from?
SG: We’re lucky we work with a good friend, who’s an old friend of Ryan [Rabin]’s. We’ve used him for every video we’ve made and he gets the vision of the band very much so. When we make the videos with him, it feels like he’s an extra member of the band. He’ll come up with an idea and we’ll bring stuff to the table. Hannah will do costumes. We all get involved.
HH: The cool thing about working with Jordan [Bahat] on what will be our fourth music video is that we all kind of got to develop together. So it’s not like new director, new cinematographer. It’s like same team so there’s a comfort level, which is also happening for us on live shows. It’s kind of us as friends.
On the song “Colours”, what first inspired the idea for that song?
HH: Christian [Zucconi] wrote that song and he wrote it before our band even formed… I don’t want to speak for him, but when he writes music, it comes from an unconscious place. He doesn’t really like to explain songs. He wants every individual to. It’s almost like someone’s talking through him sometimes, when he’s writing songs. So that’s what “Colours” is about. “Black, black, green, brown, brown, brown, blue, yellow, violets, red.”
Have you guys narrowed down the characteristics of your music that makes it so TV commercial and video game-friendly?
HH: I think the fact that we are a bunch of friends making music that, at first listen feels like or considered really happy – something that will sell something, more than “we hate ourselves.”
SG: I think there’s a freedom in the writing of this band where we’re not afraid to go down certain avenues. Sometimes people may say, “That’s not cool.” But we make it cool just by having fun. A lot of the lyrics may seem just silly, but they’re meant to be that way because they’re tongue-in-cheek.
HH: I wish there was a way that people can see us live and then buy our albums. For me it almost makes more sense because you get to know us – we are really each individually unique, from different places. You can feel it in our music.
Do you guys remember when you picked up your first instruments?
SG: Yeah. My brother was playing guitar and I wanted to play bass because I wanted to play something different.
HH: I honestly think the first time I consciously chose to pick up an instrument was when I wrote “Love Will Save Your Soul”. Music is super new for me.
SG: It’s crazy; when I met Hannah in Greece she wasn’t a musician. She was an artist. It’s crazy in a few short years, now [she] plays like ten instruments.
HH: I’m surrounded by the real deal.
Prior to being in the band, were you big bloggers or social media users?
HH: I feel like the band has caught me up to our generation in a lot of ways. I remember when we first started the band, I started really checking MySpace, which now is almost old news…It’s so amazing how one sixteen-year-old girl from let’s say, Minneapolis, runs a blog and writes a review that’s capable of anyone reading it from anywhere. That’s just incredible.
Can you finish this sentence for me? Never trust a happy song because it always…
HH: Never trust a happy song because it always has another dimension.