Gigwise speaks to New Zealand's hottest export...
Holly Frith

14:22 19th November 2010

The Kiwi five-piece are becoming every music fan's new favourite band, The Naked and Famous bring some much needed synth pop to the cold dull winter nights.  Already a huge name back home, the band now have the UK set firmly in their sights.

With their new single ‘Young Blood’ exploding onto airwaves and debut ‘Passive Me, Aggresive You’ becoming one of the most unlikely favourites of the year, Gigwise caught up with lead singer Thom Powers, about all things music and what 2011 holds...

How is the tour going?

The tour is going really well.  We’ve never toured the UK before so it’s been a good break.  Manchester was a really good little venue and the reception we got was so lovely.  There are a two more dates in London which should be good, it’s different from back home because fans already know a lot of our stuff and people in the UK are just hearing about us.

What do you enjoy about performing live?

The live show is really bringing to life what we have done on the record.  It’s not really about a geological point but it’s really just fulfilling that idea of how we want to perform it and how we want to get our songs across.  Just completing and getting through and knowing what we want to do.  So it’s a pretty satisfying experience when people respond to that and that they are there to enjoy it. 

How did the band form?

Me and Alisa met a few years back and we started writing and producing demos which ended up becoming our EPs, that are gonna come out at some point. The current line up was formed in 2009 and we started working on ‘Passive Me, Aggressive You’ and here we are.

What’s in the band’s personal record collection, or what are your influences?

A whole lot of alternative music, we defiantly mingle in pop. When I mean pop I mean such things as Robyn and even Radiohead is a popular artist, just the umbrella that is pop culture.  It can encompass anything from heavy metal to hip hop, we like a lot of stuff.

What is the current music scene like back home in New Zealand?

There have been a few but they’re older bands. There’s a band called the ‘Men Checks’ which we did a cover of on our website which you can download from there.  There is a lot of punk influence back home, there’s a label called Flying Nun, which is a pretty cool label for new bands.  There is not a huge music scene, mostly one off bands or hits.

How did it feel when you guys got signed?

It was an incredible feeling; it’s very rare for a small band like us to get signed to a label with such a back catalogue. But it’s fantastic. We are very very grateful.

Did you get a good response back home? What is your fan base like there?

Yeah we do. We’ve done all that we really can in terms of shows, tv and radio. We’ve been doing it for a while and it’s all worked out amazingly well.  We’ve had really commercial exposure but at the same time still getting spin on college radio and alternative radio.  So we haven’t lost any credibility which is pretty rare and we’re very lucky to be in that position. 

What can fans expect from the band’s debut?

Yeah but it’s also added to.  It’s a lot different in every kind of way. What we’ve done is that we have explored creatively within the record; faster, slower.  The album is more emotional and serious.

Are there any other artists or producers that you’d all like to work with?

Yeah the conversation with producers is something that came across pretty early on when we were looking on putting the album together but at the end of the day we just really enjoy doing it ourselves. There wasn’t any need to, it would have just been pulling in the names, just name dropping.  We were really thrilled and happy to do it ourselves but when that becomes stale for us, when it’s not new to produce our own stuff then we might work with other people. But I think right now we are happy doing it our own way.

What are the plans for 2011?

Yeah I think we can say goodbye to the next 12 months. Promoting the new record, with a whole load of live shows, press and radio.  I think that’s pretty much the plan for now, work really hard on this record.  We’re always writing and thinking of new ideas so we will be working on album number two along the way.

Are you all back home for Christmas?

Yeah we definitely are.  Back to the sunny climate, bbqs and summer festivals. We came from shorts and t shirts to jumpers and leather jackets.