The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world






The Naked + the Famous are making it big overseas especially in markets like the UK and US. We get to see What all the fuss is about when they take the stage for Big Day Out 2014...

Mark: Hi, Aaron how are you? Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. What’s the music scene like in New Zealand at the moment?

Aaron: It’s good; it just seems to be getting stronger and stronger on the international scene. We’ve been away from New Zealand for so long now, so I’m ashamed to say that we’re a little bit out of touch with how it’s going there right now. From everywhere we are its just so cool seeing the way Lorde have gone so crazy in America, and the same over in the UK and Europe, there are just posters of her everywhere, it’s something to be proud of.

Mark: It’s interesting, because I first heard of you guys through reading the UK press, you seem to be very well regarded over there. Do you think it’s odd? Traditionally New Zealand bands have looked to Australia, but you guys have just gone great guns over in Europe, and with the US tours coming up as well you’ve taken that direct route, was that always the plan?

Aaron: Well, honestly, there was no plan, exactly! When we released “Young Blood” we were hoping to get in the charts on college radio in New Zealand, we just wanted to bring that alternative New Zealand band in to the band world, and then it just took off all by itself. We reached number 1 in the New Zealand top 40 charts, and then received international attention; we had people approaching us from the UK and America, and suddenly found ourselves signing a record deal from the UK, and getting ready to quit our day jobs! So, it all just exploded right in front of our faces, without too much pain!

Mark: It all started obviously, with that first album, “Passive Me, Aggressive You” which we all loved; did that make “In Rolling Waves” a more difficult album to approach?

Aaron: It did in that it was, “where to from here?” We had pretty much done 2 years of straight touring with “Passive Me, Aggressive You” and just writing demos along the way, and finally the touring finished, and over the next few months we had to find our feet again. No one expected it, really, you hear of bands taking ages off before they write the next record, and we always thought what lazy musicians! But we got to a point where we realised that everyone had grown up so much over those couple of years, so we had to rediscover the dynamic and figure out how things worked for writing and all that sort of thing. But then, once we got on a roll, it just all happened, and the next album was all done within about 8 or 9 months.


Mark: So, was the recording process quite difficult, I know you relocated to Laurel Canyon, which is a wonderful part of the world to be, was there a real communal vibe going on there? Was it very different to the creation of the first album?

Aaron: It was definitely different in the sense that, just in the dynamic of how it all came together, I guess. Thom, with this record was very involved in every part of the process, from the core writing of the demos to the lyrical work with Alisa, all the electronic production with me, and with the bass and drums, introducing all that stuff in to like a live band environment. It was very interesting how the tracks went through all those individual stages, definitely different to your traditional, everyone going in to the studio, start jamming and writing some songs. It all came together for us in a very different way, which was interesting, but it worked so well. We just had a nice little room set up at the house, which meant that even if it was 3 in the morning, and you suddenly had an idea you could go in to the studio and play around for a while, and do whatever, and that’s just the way it’s always worked for us.

Mark: That’s great. Alternative rock always seems so bland, when describing your sound, how would you describe yourselves?

Aaron: I’m afraid that’s pretty much how we describe ourselves!! It’s such a tough question to answer, there’s such a large amount of crazy genres about, alternative music has to be the best description for us, depending on when you listen to an album, there are some tracks on there that are raw, and band-sounding, and that have a lot of aggression, and then there are tracks that are incredibly ambient or electronic, and so because of that you could label every track on the album differently, I think.

Mark: Yeah, I think you’re right; it’s like one of those albums that have no real boundaries, you haven’t set yourselves any limits or tried to define yourselves in a narrow band of music.

Aaron: That’s great to hear, thank you.


Mark: The big news for us is that you are on the bill for the Big Day Out, in 2014, which is just around the corner. How did that come about?

Aaron: Well, we had done it in 2011 as well, it was pretty much the thing that kicked off our entire tour cycle for that first record, so it was really exciting to find out we were locked in for this one as well, it’s such an enjoyable festival to play.

Mark: It must be quite frustrating though, being on a festival stage, sure you get in front of a lot of people, but it must be so limiting, in the fact that you’ve got so little time out there.

Aaron: Yeah, there’s no doubt about that! There’s a massive difference between doing your own headline show where it’s your audience and you can push the limits a little bit with them, doing stranger tracks, you have your own production, and then you sacrifice all that for a festival, where all of a sudden you’ve only got thirty minutes for your crew to set up the entire stage, and that your set list caters to the right audience, it’s a completely different setting altogether. But, there’s something about it which makes it incredibly exciting as well, and I don’t quite know what it is.

Mark: It’ll be great to see you out there. The keyboards play a huge part in your sound, especially live; do you feel like you’re in the driving seat in a live show, pushing the band forward? How does it feel to be up there, for you?

Aaron:  Yeah, it is like being in the driving seat, in the sense that there are no backing tracks for us, up on stage, all the electronic component to the music sounds we create live directly, and that goes well beyond just the keyboards, there’s so much loop and sample back triggering, it’s purely based on the set up that we have created for the stage. It freaks me out sometimes, knowing the amount of responsibility I have with just one button that I am about to press!! I could change everyone’s instruments on stage!

Mark: I never thought of it that way that must be quite scary!! You are heading out to the US, with some dates with Imagine Dragons, and some shows of your own, in February, how do you find the US differs from the rest of us out here?? Do you find the crowds very different?

Aaron: The US is a very fun place to tour, everything about it, even beyond the shows themselves, the scenery and the landscapes of travelling across America, is amazing in itself. The crowds are great, they are so supportive and we are at a place now, where our venue sizes are usually around 2000, which puts us in a really nice theatre size, as we can get all our fancy production on, and put on a really powerful show. Whilst at the same time, we still have that intimacy, it’s not like you’re playing a giant arena where there is just a sea of faces, and you still have people in front of you that you can play with. We are in a really good place in the US, at the moment.



Mark: I was just looking at some of the venues that you will be playing on that tour, and there are some nice sized rooms there!

Aaron: Yeah, it’s like our first arena tour, we’ve never done arenas before, and looking at some of those venues which hold like 15,000, it’s scary!

Mark: I was in Phoenix a couple of years ago, and I was at a show in the US Airways centre which was great, it’s a great place, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it if you’ve not been there before. What artists still inspire you? Do you still listen to a lot of music? I find musicians tend to fall into two categories, where they listen to a lot, and digest a lot, or they don’t really listen to anything current.

Aaron: I’m sort of somewhere in between, it depends on what stages of the writing we’re at. If you’re really deep in the writing process, you really struggle to listen to music for what it is because you are so analytical about everything, you’re not just listening to a song, you’re thinking I wonder how they did those drums, if you’re spending all day writing your own songs your brain still continues to process everything. But, between the five of us we have a pretty amazing dynamic of music, and everyone plays their different styles that they’re into, and shares them around. So we have this pass the parcel thing going on.

Mark: if you could have been a fly on the wall for the creation of any piece of music or album, at any point in time, what would it have been for you and why?

Aaron: It would definitely be an album by Nine Inch Nails, called “The Fragile”. Or I would have said “Surrender” by The Chemical Brothers. I just have a complete fascination by electronic music in the nineties, and how they put it together, prior to computers being so readily accessible. It would be a tie between those two. “The Fragile” is a very dark record, and some of the tracks are amazing.

Mark: An easy one to end with, what is the meaning of life?

Aaron: Chamomile tea is the meaning of life for me right now!! I you want to get excited about something or calm down and go to sleep, chamomile tea is the answer!!

Mark: That’s a great answer! Thank you for your time, looking forward to seeing you at The Big Day Out.

Aaron: Thanks very much.



Aaron Short spoke to Mark Diggins December 2013





Want to see a band you love interviewed? Looking to promote a tour of Australia? Contact