Alisa Xayalith (The Naked and Famous): “NZ has a really rich music culture” (II)

Alisa defines herself as a fan of Tricky. From one of their songs “Tricky kid” the band extracted their own name THE NAKED AND FAMOUS. As young guys they like to play video-games, and drinking tea. But, do all youngsters drink tea? They are not English. No they are from New Zealand.  Confessed fan of Lana Del Rey, and David Lynch Alisa consideres this is not a passing phase in her life.  THE NAKED AND FAMOUS career has to be a rewarding job.

What is your musical training?

A lot of what I do is based on natural instinct in a way which keeps things honest and genuine. I have also learned a lot from Aaron & Thom, they’re both so skilled in the studio and its helped me develop an understanding of the production side of what they do a lot more. Learning my way in the studio through them has given me the tools and ability to write in a different way.

What is the origin of group name?

We took the name from a lyric in a song. The song is called ‘Tricky Kid’ and the artist is called Tricky. We always thought it was brilliant when other artists referenced other music and pop culture. It also speaks a message to us that is a bit tongue and cheek. It embodies a lot of the things we think are ridiculous about the rock and rollcelebrity-isms that exist.

Do you feel naked being famous? It’s and obvious question, but I think it’s not a silly one considering that you have jump really quick to the top of the pop charts.

All that kind of stuff is really flattering and fantastic but it has nothing to do with why we create music. We haven’t changed, we will still work and do what we have always done. As long as we can keep creating bodies of work and as long as we can be true artists. We’ll always be satisfied.

Are you a disciplined band?

Yes. It’s not everyday that a band from NZ gets plucked out of their own country and exposed to the rest of the world by people that have fallen so in love with our music. We don’t take it for granted. It’s not an easy thing for any NZ band to really break out of the Australasian music barrier. We realise how priviledged we are, so we work hard to be able to keep living a life enabled by writing and playing music around the world everyday.

We don’t fall under the mould of the ‘rock n roll’ stereotype. We like drinking tea and playing video games.

All songs seem to convey happiness despite of a bit of hidden sadness. Why? Is because you are young? Or because total happiness is an utopia?

I think it’s because we find that there can be a lot of beauty in tragedy. It’s important to have irony in our music and also for it to not be too literal. We like to keep people guessing or have people instill their own meaning when listening to a song.

I don’t think any musician can really explain why they decide to write a specific mood in a song. A lot of the time I just need to get it out and whatever emotion is inter-laced in what I’ve written, it’s honest and we tailor the song to keep it’s essence, whatever that may be at the time.

Dialogs in your songs between Alisa and Thom are common. Do you compose thinking in this structure or it comes to in other parts of composing process?

I think that it’s a beautiful thing to be able to use 2 voices in the songs we write. It’s always added a certain dynamic that has been quite powerful and vulnerable at the same time.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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