The New Zealand group The Naked and Famous released their second album, In Rolling Waves, last week, and we were impressed enough by the epic-sized sound and hooky songwriting that we wanted to find out what inspired them.


Hello, my name is Alisa, and here are some things that I read, listened to and watched somewhere during the creative process that is In Rolling Waves:
BOOKS
Well, I wouldn't really call this one a book; it's a graphic novel by Joe Kelly, I Kill Giants, and I decided to give one of our songs the same title. This song had been left half finished toward the end of recording our first album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, and I had put it out of my mind for a while as it wasn't really going anywhere. It wasn't until I had read I Kill Giants that I felt prompted to revisit this song that had been hiding away for a while. There are struggles the young character faces in this novel that in some small way had mirrored my own childhood. It gave me that extra push to get it finished in time to go on this album, and I feel a certain release now that it's complete.

A very dear friend of mine had given me this book, Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller, on my birthday while we were touring. Towards the very last leg of our journey, I decided to finally read it. This book contains the stories of three generational icons, Carole King, Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell. It was Joni's story where I learnt of Laurel Canyon, and after our band had decided to move to Los Angeles, it was pure coincidence that we were going to be living in Laurel Canyon too. For me this book will always mark the beginning of living in Los Angeles and our decision to make the album there.

Agony by Mark Beyer was the best gift given to me lately. Sometimes during the creative process, I hit mental blocks and need to find some sort of creative nourishment or simply get a break from being so fixed and focused on the one thing that I’m working on. This zany and strange comic book was written in 1987, and reading it was the best break I ever took! It's sad, depressing, and the drawings are so profound and interesting. I often found myself laughing alone in a room reading this.

MUSIC
I often find it difficult to open myself up and make space for new music when I’m in the middle of a creative process. Mentally I feel like I’m at full capacity, and the space for something new to catch my attention is very small. Sometimes it feels like I’m trying to catch up with a conversation that has started long before I arrived. So I end up reverting back to all my favourite songs or albums. I guess the most recent artists out of what I listened to would be Fever Ray and EMA. Both of these artists emanate something that is unique and at times profound. Their way of singing and the way they carry themselves through the music was very nourishing and inspiring to me.

GAMES
I'm not a gaming addict like Thom. His perseverance to finish games, and the amount of hours he clocks in, astounds me. The only games I played during the making of the album were Diablo 3 and a platform game called Botanicula. Diablo 3 was fun mainly because the rest of the boys were playing too, and it was so fun to go into realms together and fight evil! Botanicula is a beautiful game to play; it revolves around four characters bound on a journey together, carrying out tasks to problem solve puzzles in different landscapes.

FILMS
Watching films is my favourite kind of escapism. There were so many nights where I would come home from the rehearsal room, or I would come out of my room where I had spent hours writing lyrics and needed to just exist in another world. I went through a phase of watching a few Woody Allen films, my current favourites being Manhattan, Annie Hall and Midnight in Paris. What can I say? I love watching romance on screen, and I love how he does it.

Thom's picks
Things connected to the album
I fall into musical slumps while writing. I feel like I'm listening to other songs only to source solutions to my current musical or production related problems. Alt-J's An Awesome Wave could not have come at a more appropriate time. It didn't lead me out of my lull directly but it gave me something better: I'd found a new favorite band. Not a parallel I could use to apply to my own creative endeavors, but a hefty reason to feel inspired to make music. I thrashed the album for months.

GAMES
Hello, my name is Thom, and I am a video game addict. I've been addicted since childhood. I remember a friend I kept solely because he owned a Super Nintendo. Right now I am considering how to fit a quick game in between finishing this interview and heading to rehearsal. It's the escapism; it's hard to thinking about adult life while concentrating on getting a 100 hit combo in Batman Arkham City. I played this several times while touring Passive Me, Aggressive You. The same actors who voiced the 90's animated series voiced the game characters, and I'm a sucker for nostalgia.

MUSIC
Like music, writing is something I feel like I need to practice regularly simply to be not-terrible at. I'm not a naturally talented person. All my achievements are the result of hard work and what my grandfather says are the only two things anyone needs in order to be successful: perseverance and determination. I don't know why, but Miranda July encourages me. Her films and books make me feel less afraid about trying. I saw The Future while on tour in 2011 and read No One Belongs Here More Than You while writing lyrics for In Rolling Waves.

FILMS
I watched many movies while working on the record. It's hard to say exactly how they influenced or inspired me. I prefer to watch things alone and can't stand it when people blurt at the screen. I tend to internalize films. Even when it comes to villains or anti-heroes I don't understand how some people "can't" watch a film because it deals with things that may be uncomfortable or challenging. Here's a bunch of recently watched from my iTunes library: Alps, Biutiful, Bronson, Bullhead, A Dangerous Method, In The Bedroom, Killing Them Softly, Life During Wartime, My Dog Tulip, My Summer Of Love, Persepolis, Rabbit Hole, The Secret In Their Eyes, The Skin I Live In, The Sound Of My Voice, Take Shelter, Upstream Color, Sleeping Beauty, The Snowtown Murders.