Grouplove talk new beginnings and making their new LP Healer...
The last time freewheeling Californian types Grouplove recorded a new LP, it was not long after singers Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper had become parents, leading to a record that had to be made in double-quick time.
This time, during the writing and recording of what would go on to be new album Healer, Hooper was forced to undergo brain surgery, putting sessions on hold.
After she recovered, the band reconvened for sessions with TV On The Radio man and Yeah Yeah Yeahs producer Dave Sitek to produce a madcap, joyful new LP.
We spoke to frontman Zucconi about making the album and losing themselves with Sitek in the heart of Texas...
When did you start working on the songs for Healer?
"We started writing in January 2018. We went up to the wilderness in Northern California and just jammed for almost two weeks on weed and whiskey. 'Deleter' was actually the first songs to come out of it."
Did you have a goal in mind of how you wanted the album to sound?
"Well, we thought we did at first. We were writing a very aggressive grunge album, but things changed..."
How did you want to move on from Big Mess?
"We didn’t want to rush this album. Big Mess feels rushed when I hear it, our daughter was born during that time and we were getting pressured by our label to deliver something. We just wanted to take our time with this one. So we did, and it is reflected in the songs."
You worked with Dave Sitek on the album, how did that collaboration come about?
"It was a beautiful one. He heard 'Deleter' and was like “Let’s make a f**king record together.” Then we disappeared into Texas with him for a month and came back with some of the best songs and experiences of my life."
What did he give you as a producer?
"He gave us the room and the confidence to explore new sonic landscapes."
You recorded at the much-discussed Sonic Ranch in El Paso, what was that experience like?
"It was a magical, mysterious, and also a trying time. We all lost our minds. But I’m pretty sure we found them again. We recorded through the night every night and sleep through the days. There were a few weeks when we didn’t see the sun at all. We were there for five weeks and we must have built at least 50 bonfires, smoked 200 pounds of weed, and wrote enough songs to make a few amazing albums."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
"The theme is healing. We used the music to get through what could have been a more trying time with Hannah’s brain surgery, but in a very unexpected way with that going on, we managed to share an incredibly liberating and nurturing time for our band and our music."
When did you decide on Healer for the album title? Were any other titles in contention?
"We always wanted the album to be called Deleter. In that song there is the line “all this time been burning with a fever, it turns out I’ve always been my Healer” and the more we sung it the more we knew "healer" was the means and the message of the past few years."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"We are playing the album live as a seven-piece. Our stage and outfits are reflective of the album artwork that Hannah did. It's just a beautiful show. Lots to get lost in and then we will make you feel good too. We've got some stuff brewing, we'll be back soon in the UK..."