Since releasing their debut album, Never Trust A Happy Song, L.A.-based indie rock act Grouplove has been traveling the world keeping us all sorts of "Tongue Tied." In addition to helping them perfect their energetic live show, the three-plus years spent on the road offered the eclectic act the to write their second album - Spreading Rumors - out Sept. 17. The act, led by Christian Zucconi, will return to the road this fall, playing two nights in each city - one electric and one in a complete acoustic setting. Examiner recently caught up with Zucconi to talk about the unique tour format and what fans can expect from the new release:
The name of your new album is Spreading Rumors. What inspired the title?
Christian Zucconi: Spreading Rumors kind of refers to, within our camp, getting back to the old school way of word of mouth. We’ve been touring so much over the last few years and we’ve seen, when we come back to a city, more and more people coming out – because everyone is telling their friends about our live shows. It’s just really heartening to see that. And, you know, Spreading Rumors is also kind of referring to the songs themselves. We kind of want the songs to be rumors themselves, like, we want people to talk about them and spread them around.
How was recording this album different than the last?
Zucconi: With Never Trust A Happy Song we were such a new band – and had only had about 10 shows under our belt at that time. And it grew really fast for us in the beginning. So we kind of did things one by one, and like, had songs kind of already written from our pasts that we brought [to the band]. This new record was built on the road, in a way. We were touring for three years and became such a strong live act, that we really wanted to capitalize on that energy and capture that energy. After those three years of touring we took a week off and moved in to this house with a recording studio in L.A. and kind of struck while the iron was hot. We recorded everything live and the whole thing was just much more collaborative.
Would you say you were inspired by different things this time around? And if so, what?
Zucconi: Yeah, we were definitely inspired by traveling a lot. There are a lot of questions about self-discovery and figuring out who you are as you go through big changes in your life. And there are reflections back into the life you left behind. And a lot of reminiscing and feeling nostalgia for something that’s gone; like your friends and your family – all that kind of stuff.
Is there a specific song you're most proud of?
Zucconi: Not at all. We recorded like 24 songs and we picked 13. And we picked the ones on the record because we really wanted to bring songs that are rambunctious and live and kind of more crazy energy. You know, we have such great fans, who have come to expect a good show where everyone can lose themselves together and just have a good time. One that sticks out right now is “Borderlines and Aliens,” which is the second track on our record – and kind of encapsulates all that stuff I just said. But we’re all so proud of all of them.
For this tour you’re playing two nights in each city – one electric and one acoustic. Why did you decide to do that?
Zucconi: We wanted to get back into more intimate clubs to kind of showcase the material and kind of start from scratch again. It’s just fun. We were originally going to call the tour the “I Wanna See Your Face Tour” but it seemed a little aggressive. For the acoustic thing, what really inspired us – we wanted to do something different and challenge ourselves in a way - to show how the sings come in a pure sense. So people can see how the songs start in one place and end someplace else. And for some of the songs that didn’t make the record - there are some beautiful, flowing ballads - we’ll get a chance to showcase work that isn’t on the album.
What’s the ratio of new versus old material for this tour?
Zucconi: We’re probably going to play like 50 percent new stuff, 40 percent old. We’ll start getting comfortable with the new songs in more intimate spaces. And the acoustic nights we’re going to have fun and improvise. I think the set list will differ more on those nights than the electric nights.
Which night are you most excited about?
Zucconi: I’m in love with both those kinds of sounds – and hearing it both ways. We haven’t really played any traditional, unplugged sets before, so it’s going to be new training for us. It’s going to be fun – and again, challenging for us. And we’re going to grow a lot from it.
Is there any significance in you starting the tour in Seattle?
Zucconi: We love Seattle. It’s one of our favorite places. We came there on the first tour we ever did. We were opening for J. Tillman (Father John Misty) and Phosphorescents and the first two shows we played for that tour we’re in Seattle - and it was such a great way to start the tour. Every time we’ve come back up there, the response from our fans is so strong that we just wanted to start it up there.
Grouplove kicks off their two-night Seattle residency tonight at 8 p.m. at the Crocodile. They'll play an acoustic set at the Tripe Door at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Both shows are sold out - but you can check back to Examiner.com for all the deets.