You guys know about Grouplove right? There have been a few articles on them introducing the band and their music. They have one of the most unique band background stories I’ve ever heard— a story that would be perfect for a movie. In 2008, the New Yorkers Christian Zucconi (lead singer/guitarist) and Hannah Hooper (vocals/keyboardist), the Californian friends Andrew Wessen (guitar/vocals) and Ryan Rabin (drummer), and the Brit Sean Gadd (bass/vocals) all met at an artist’s commune in Greece. If any of them had decided not to go on this trip, who knows if Grouplove would even exist. Some would call that fate. All the pieces of Grouplove came together that year and the creative bond was formed.
‘Don’t Say Oh Well’ was the first song I heard from them and fell in love with their carefree California sound. Both of their records Never Trust a Happy Song and Spreading Rumours feature an array of different sounds and genres. And they now have an original song on The Fault In Our Stars, which is beyond awesome.
I had the awesome chance to talk to the band’s lead singer, Christian Zucconi, about his favorite songs, how the band works together and the love of his life, band-mate Hannah Hooper.
Hey Samantha..what’s up?
How are you?
I’m good! We have a day off today.
Sweet! I guess we’ll jump right in. The song Borderlines and Aliens seems very influenced by Nirvana — I was wondering if there were any other artists you were influenced by while writing the album?
We listened to a lot of Paul Simon during that recording, but I think bands that influenced me back in the day were bands like Nirvana. It’s kinda why I started playing guitar because of bands like that and it’s always just been in my blood since that time. It naturally comes in and out when I’m writing songs. It’s just subconsciously there.
I’ve read in other interviews that your favorite song on the album depends on your mood. So I was wondering what your favorite song on the Spreading Rumours album is right now?
Interesting because I haven’t listened to the album in a long time, but we get to play it every night. School Boy, which is the third track on the album, has been really fun to play.
Okay, so it’s really awesome that Hannah does all the band’s artwork– do you guys usually brainstorm what you want on the cover or do you guys just let Hannah do her thing and draw from the heart?
Yeah, she kinda just draws from the heart. It’s spontaneous. Kind of like how our music is created and how our songs are picked for the album — organic and spontaneous. With Hannah’s artwork, we just trust her gut and whatever she’s feeling. The quality of work is always outstanding, so we’re always psyched with whatever she makes. And as long as it fits some type of general theme, we’re always down to use whatever she makes. Like the Spreading Rumours cover is much more simple, like line drawings. It’s one of the first drawings she did. We’d just recorded the record. She had spelled ‘rumours’ wrong on it, so we photoshopped the ‘u’ in.
So sweet! To stay on the Hannah topic, I was just reading an interview with Hannah and she said that after the first night you guys met she was like, “’I think I love you. Do you wanna go to Greece with me? I think we’re soul mates.” Did you find it crazy or were you on the same page as her?
I was. Yeah, I feel like it’s crazy, but thinking about it now, I felt the same way. When we had that conversation, I kinda knew we were on the same wavelength. I had a feeling she was going to say that stuff. I had those feelings too, but I got her to say it first, so I didn’t have to. I was just like, “me too!” It was very mutual.
You guys should make your story into a movie.
It was a cool moment for sure. Yeah, we should start writing it now and start developing the idea.
Speaking of the whole Greece story, do you guys think about the “what ifs?” a lot? Because if I were you I’d think about it all the time and how lucky I was that I went.
Oh yeah, we think about it all the time. I just remember where we all were in our personal lives before we went to Greece. It was such a different kind of thing going on. We were really struggling. I was kinda at the end of my rope trying to make it as an artist in New York, so we’re so lucky it happened. If we didn’t go to Greece, it’s just crazy to think about, you know, where we would be today. We’re so lucky. It’s really trippy to still think about how it happened.
Fate definitely brought you guys together. You guys recorded a great song with Manchester Orchestra. Are there any other artists that you’d love to collaborate with?
For sure. Personally, Hannah and I would love to collaborate with Björk. That would be a dream come true. Alt-J would be very fun to do something with. I really like those guys a lot.
So if someone hasn’t listened to you guys before, what three songs would you tell them to listen to?
Definitely Colours. That’s the first song that got people to, you know, notice us and sort of got us out there. So I’d definitely pick Colours. I’d say Ways To Go as well because that’s been a really fun song to play live and the audience’s reaction is pretty amazing every night when we play that song. All our songs are varying in genre. And third song? Maybe a song like Sit Still, which is off the new record. It’s more of a folk kinda influenced song, which is what we do as well. Our music is all over the map, so I pick those three.
Yeah, those three show the variety. I saw you guys perform at the NYC show and the crowd did go crazy when you guys played Ways To Go.
I know! It’s insane! One of my favorite moments of the set is during that song because people get so into it. And, of course, you can’t help but feed off that energy.
You guys cover a lot of songs from Beyoncé’s Drunk In Love to Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody to The Beach Boys’ Don’t Worry Baby. How do you choose what songs to cover?
The Beach Boys was for Spotify. We chose 5 songs and the fans voted. We were surprised because we had Taylor Swift in there! We like to try to interpret the songs in a different way. So it sounds familiar, but different. You know just finding a song that moves you and finding a song that’s challenging to reinterpret it.
How does your writing process work?
Yeah, usually it’s all over the place. It’s always different. But yeah, we start with an idea or song then we all work on it. With Ways to Go, one night I was playing the riff on my guitar and Ryan was like, ‘What was that?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know’ and he was like, “Play it again!” We like to keep each other on point and on our toes. Usually, the best songs are the ones you don’t put much thought into and you just accidentally stumble upon them. The iPhone voice recorder is a lifesaver because you can record your idea before it gets lost..especially for lyrics. When Hannah and I write, it’s kind of like a stream of consciousness and sometimes you don’t really know what comes out. You kinda just roll with it. And we record it, so we know what the hell we were saying the night before.
Awesome! Well, I’ll let you go and enjoy your day off. Thanks for taking the time to talk!
Yeah, thanks for coming out to see us at the Terminal 5 show and the call! Later!
I wanted to leave you guys with this awesome music video. After seeing an early screening of The Fault In Our Stars, they hopped right in the studio and wrote Let Me In. They had the chance to write a song for one of the film’s happier moments.