The Naked and Famous is one of New Zealand’s greatest gifts to alt pop, and their upcoming album, ‘Simple Forms’, features some of their most addictive material yet. We picked frontpersons Alisa Xayalith and Thom Powers’ brains about the record, what they think about Taylor Swift and why it’s hard to do push-ups at the gym when your new single comes on.
Los Angeles-based indie electronic band The Naked and Famous have been on a bit of a break — their last record, In Rolling Waves, came out in 2013 — but they weren’t twiddling their thumbs. They’re finally back on Oct. 14 with their third studio album Simple Forms, and have already teased fans with the explosive singles “Higher”, “Laid Low” and “The Runners”. Alisa Xayalith and Thom Powers paid a visit to the HollywoodLife.com offices in August ahead of their headlining North American tour, and shenanigans ensured. Watch two video interviews right here and check out more Qs below!
How the hell do you come up with a band name like The Naked and Famous?
Thom Powers: I was avoiding work one day at my record store job and was going through lyrics of artists that I liked, looking for band names. There’s a line in a Tricky song that really popped out, “Everybody wants to be just like me, I’m naked and famous.”
What did you do over the hiatus?
Thom: We needed a break. We took some real time away from the group, but then we don’t know what to do with ourselves, so here we are, back at it!
How did your breakup influence this record?
Alisa Xayalith: Naturally, without even thinking about it, all of our music has some foothold and origin in a personal thought or moment. That’s always going to occur in the music. This is one of the most important records for us — it was a real “do or die” moment and we came out the other side, stronger, better.
It’s cool for people to see, because no matter what situation you find yourself in, you know you can get through that kind of stuff and make something beautiful out of the chaos.
What’s it like to hear one of your songs in the wild?
Alisa: We freak out and we try not to smile. We try to be cool.
Any insane fan encounters?
Thom: No, we don’t have crazy fans! Which is nice. We have nice fans that we’ll meet and talk to and happily hang out with. Our fans are creative types and peaceful people. We don’t have nutbags at gigs.
Alisa: So far.
Any style phases you regret?
Alisa: Oh. Yeah. Oh, yeah. [Laughs]
Thom: If anyone wants to Google “Naked and Famous, 2008”. Full emo fringe.
Alisa: He had the emo fringe. I didn’t know what my style was so there were some really questionable combinations.
What’s a splurge you made recently?
Thom: Boring stuff. We’re getting old. I spent a lot of money fixing a wall in my bedroom. Plumbing and crap like that.
Alisa: When we had our first #1 in New Zealand off of “Young Blood”, I bought a pair of Acne boots. I almost had an anxiety attack because I spent so much money. That was a very symbolic moment. I still have them.
Favorite New York memory?
Alisa: Playing two nights at Terminal 5 — that was a huge moment for us.
Thom: It’s the very place we came to as a band outside of New Zealand. Coming back here always give me nostalgia.
Be sure to check out Simple Forms on Oct. 14, and don’t miss TNAF on tour!