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The Local Natives emerged on the indie rock scene in 2010 with their debut record "Gorilla Manor," a 12-song LP loaded with chaotic drum beats, falsetto harmonies and textured guitar riffs that seemed to scream west coast sunshine. Now the Los Angeles-bred quartet is onto their second album, "Hummingbird," a sophomore effort dripping with the same playful musicality, albeit shrouded in a bit more shadow that its predecessor. Following the album's release last week, the tour has kicked off with shows in California and New York, interrupted by a layover at Jimmy Fallon's Late Night stage. As expected, the rave reviews keep on coming.
This week we had a chance to chat with the band's singer-keyboardist, Kelcey Ayer. Scroll down for photos.
HP: Who or what was an early influence on your music?
My earliest influence would be the Beatles. My dad, who definitely started my obsession with music, had these double disk compilation albums -- one was everything in the beginning to Revolver, and the second one was Sgt. Pepper and beyond. I remember going through those with my dad and being obsessed with them.
HP: What have been the lowest and highest points in your career so far?
I think playing the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2011 was definitely one of my favorite moments in the band. But after writing this newest record, I feel extremely proud and I feel like it's much more meaningful right now than the first record. So I guess I would have to say "Hummingbird" [is the high point].
The lowest point? Well, I lost my mom in 2011 and I think that was the lowest point, for obvious reasons.
HP: How would your childhood music teacher describe you?
I actually had a piano teacher for like three years and hated to practice, so I don't think my teacher liked me at all. But I was rebellious when I was young and I think that's why I didn’t want to practice and or be told what to do. When I stopped taking lessons, I would always mess around on the piano we had and on the guitar, so I was kind of self-taught. It was great having those instruments and having the freedom and go to them whenever I wanted.
(Interview continues after the slideshow.)
HP: What are you obsessed with right now outside of music?
I definitely have a love affair with film. We watch a lot of stuff in the car [on tour] and I am super excited to dive into the next season of "Boardwalk Empire," There are so many amazing TV shows, though. Last year I finished -- from beginning to end -- "Breaking Bad." The writing is so good you just can’t believe it.
HP: Name a movie or book that you are embarrassed to have never seen or read?
There are always those ones, and then you never think of them. I’ve always wanted to see "Twin Peaks." I saw "Muholland Drive" and it is completely messed up, and I almost got through all of "Blue Velvet," too. I would love, love to see "Twin Peaks," though.
HP: Why does this project matter?
I am just literally proud to be in this band with these amazing people that I get to write music with every day. This album is the closest we've ever come to saying how we really feel. Although there are always hundreds of things you want to change when you make a record or anything really, we’re so proud of it being out there and having made it. I think we’ve all grown a lot since [Gorilla Manor], and I think we felt a lot more confident as songwriters and musicians. We came out with a record that sounds bolder and a lot more personal. The first one was more energetic and jubilant on the surface level, but this time we delved a lot deeper. I am very proud of what we have achieved.
Correction: In an earlier version of this article, we mentioned Local Natives' "sophomoric" album when we meant "sophomore" release. Though a hilarious mistake, we didn't intend to make it.