Interview: Naked Giants

Naked Giants make some of the gnarliest sounds we've heard this year and their debut EP is set to drop next month. Ahead of R.I.P.'s release on Miscreant Records the band is hitting the road with Car Seat Headrest. Before that tour, Henry was kind enough to answer a few of our questions.

 Photo: Sarah Cass

Photo: Sarah Cass

You're about to head out on tour with Car Seat Headrest! That's so exciting and sweet. Are you excited and what goes into preparations for tour?

Touring is a great opportunity to do what we do best: bleed rock and roll on stage and leave everything in that moment in each room, in each city, night after night. Prepping for tour is a very spiritual thing. Our minds and bodies must be ready if we wish to engage the minds and bodies of every soul we encounter. Push ups, metronomes, hydration, sleep, humor, routing, budgeting, practice, and careful wardrobe consideration so we look like we don't care about caring about what to wear. 

What can fans expect of a Naked Giants live performance and how do you bring to a stage audience the same energy and fast pacing of your EP? Is it hard to be rock stars every night ;) ? I saw on Facebook that poor Grant got injured!

Fans expectations of our live show should vary from person to person. Every night there are folks that have never heard of us standing next to folks that may have heard a single or two standing next to someone who has heard us since we started in the early days. You never know what goes through peoples' minds as they have sensory overload in the form of sweet rock and roll. We'd hope that every person in the room walks away with a new hope for our generation in our ability to bust guts, melt faces, and produce and reproduce sweet vibes that will one day bring peace on earth and good will in the international community. So far, we've just been doing the same thing we've been doing in the basement where it started, same energy, same intensity, same fun. Being rockstar is just like dancing alone in your room with headphones on and not caring what you look like while doing it...except now there's a lot more eyes on you. 

Let's talk a bit about the EP and the recording process. How long did it take to record and when did you first start writing songs? Is it exciting to have a completed debut EP and are you ready to get it out into the world?

The songs on R.I.P. EP were tracked in probably under 10 days in 2015. Yes, this is the first release we've had with a record label (Miscreant) and we are more than ready to take this sound "to the masses".

How did Naked Giants come together and how has the band evolved from when you started to now? When you started were you ever thinking you'd be going on tour or releasing any material?

Grant and myself (Henry) have been finding peace in the jam since we were 14/15 years old. We picked up Gianni shortly after sharing a bill with his old band, Lemonhead, in 2014. The dream has been to bring joy and hope to those who feel that rock and roll has been absent in our generation up until this point. Touring has been and I'm sure will continue to be a surreal privilege that I can not take for granted. Playing with a diverse group of musicians my whole life, one theme is common from jazz to jam-band to hip-hop to worship to indie rock: Every musician I've had the pleasure of drumming with wishes to travel and share their craft around the world. The fact I get to be a part of that still blows my mind. 

Is there a particular track on the EP that really strikes you as being a favorite or one that fans just have to start with? Is there any track with a special backstory? I love "Pyramids" but also everything.

My personal favourite is the track "Stoned" which will be released with the EP October 14. When in the studio, our producer Dylan Wall suggested we slow down the BPM like 10 clicks and really work on making it a groovy-ridin'- tune. That made a huge difference and I think really works nicely as a counter piece for the rest of the tracks on the record. There's also a lot of cool aux percussion happening that makes me smile too. 

Who are some of your influences and inspirations for this record or as a band? 

When we were putting together the songs for R.I.P. EP we had a lot of Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, White Stripes, Led Zeppelin, and Hendrix busting through our headphones... basically the quintessential rock and roll prophets to any teenagers in a basement. 

Seattle is killing it with the bands and has the city influenced your music in anyway?

Well, when it rains here in Seattle we like to play music that warms us up. We drink a healthy amount of coffee so the caffeine jitters are definitely present in the drum work (speaking for myself). Going to a show in Ballard or Capitol Hill or Belltown or SoDo will get you in the mood to meet some friends, take some pictures on your disposable camera, and get into whatever band is playing, even if you've never heard of them. I believe our live show has been well catered to the energy we wish would be present at only the best rock and roll shows. I'd like to think we don't travel and perform to show up and not be note worthy. We try our best to make everybody feel a little wiggle in their booties!

Now that the EP will be out and you're about to hit the road what's next? Are you working on anymore material?

Rock and roll is an american art form stemming from the jazz created by slaves in New Orleans roughly a century ago. It was an act of creative expression during dark times of struggle for a nation. We owe every piece of free form groove to those who wished that their was euphoria within musical collaboration. In that moment, nothing hurts. In that moment, you listen and react simultaneously with one another. In that moment, the performer, the listener, everybody feels together. The next piece of what Naked Giants brings to sound waves will be in recognition and admiration and experimentation of what humans can do to spark emotion and passion within one another. 

and for fun

Describe Naked Giants using emojis

If there was an emoji of Hendrix riding a phoenix into a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oates... that'd be pretty sweet. Either that or the slice of pizza.

What's the official Naked Giants pizza

This is awkward...Either the "Giovanni" from Tutta Bella, or the "Agog Primo" from Pagliacci.

You're curating a festival, what 5 bands would be on your lineup?

Vehicle Collector
Vulfpeck
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio
Earth Wind and Fire
Rage Against the Machine circa 1993

What snacks are coming on tour?
Take 5 bars
Secret Aardvark Hot sauce