The Naked and Famous


Written by Yusuf Laher
28 Monday 28th February 2011

How was the NME Awards show? Judging from your Twitter updates, things got pretty out of hand?

Heaps of fun. Big shock. I didn’t even know why I was there. We just kind of got invited at the last minute.
One of your tweets was, “Dear aggressive drunks, you are everything that is fucked. Ever”. What happened? A real life case of Passive Me, Aggressive You?

No no… It was just an obnoxious drunk person. That was all.

At the awards?


How was the rest of the night then? Did you meet anyone famous?

No, not really. It was lots of fun. I had a few drinks. Hung out with people I know. I don’t really know anyone famous. Just milled about really.  

Favourite performance?

Probably Foo Fighters. PJ Harvey was cool to see as well. But the sound was really bad where I was sitting. I didn’t get to see Crystal Castles, but I’ve seen them a lot on tour.

How are you enjoying the UK otherwise?

It’s fantastic. It’s very fun. I feel very privileged to be a touring the world as working artist. It’s a dream lifestyle, really. And it’s a big achievement coming form a place like New Zealand. I feel very lucky.

Is this your first big ‘world tour?’

Pretty much, yeah. We have done some shows in England and America before. Small introductory shows. Yeah, it’s our first proper world tour.

Where are you looking forward to playing the most?

I’m not sure. I haven’t been to many places in the world, so I’m keeping an open mind. I probably won’t know what place is my favourite until I get there.

Right. And has everything been a bit of a blur since 'Young Blood' entered the New Zealand charts at number one in 2010?

Yes! It’s been a very bizarre ride. It’s not really common for New Zealand bands to break out of their own musical scene. I don’t really know what’s happening. But it’s amazing.

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you found out you were topping the charts?

I think I was just at home. I was in the middle of finishing off the record. It was a freak accident I can’t even explain. I didn’t even know what it meant when I got told we were Number One. I didn’t even know how the charts worked or anything.  

What about making the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll? Aren’t you the first New Zealand band to do that?

Yes, we are. Again, it’s bizarre. Pretty incredible. It’s an immense privilege.

And has the reaction to Passive Me, Aggressive You been the same everywhere, or has the UK taken to it the most?

Erm… Where we come from we’re already an established artist. So over here, it’s a lot more exciting. People don’t know about us. It’s very refreshing. I can’t wait ‘til the album’s fully out. It’s the same kind of reaction here and America; lot of excitement, lot of positive interest. Nothing negative so far. So either no one’s paying attention or we’re just very lucky.

What’s your favourite song to play live?

Erm… I don’t know. It kind of changes day to day. Depends what mood I’m in.

How about last night in Cambridge?

I had heaps of fun playing! I’m just trying to recall… we’ve been doing the same motions for so long now. Oh, I had heaps of fun playing ‘Spank’.

Had to ask. As a New Zealand band, are you fans of Flight of the Conchords?

Yeah yeah, I do like it. It’s very funny.

And is the rivalry they joke about between New Zealand and Australia genuine?

Completely. It’s a very accurate cultural reference. But we have quite a big audience in Australia. So it’s pretty good for us over there at the moment. Again, another happy accident.

What are you up to after this interview?

I’m just gonna head down to soundcheck. We should be starting in about 10 minutes.

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