New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous might have taken their name from a Tricky line “everybody wants to be naked and famous” from his song “Tricky Kid,” but nothing about the band’s catapult to success has been tricky. After a blog plug and 7” inch release for “Young Blood” from New York label Neon Gold, the band has spent the last few years expanding their gorgeous ‘80s-influenced synth-melodies around the world.
Although according to vocalist and guitarist Thom Powers, they aren’t really that famous in New Zealand. “We get treated pretty normal,” said Powers to Nicole Alvarez at their Red Bull Sound Space at KROQ performance. “We still go to the supermarket in bare feet and stuff.”
But the band has not only reached success on an intimate level with their fans but reached tons of audiences with their song “The Sun” on True Blood and Aaron Paul a/k/a Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad both giving them positive nods.
Powers, a huge Breaking Bad fan who seemed ready to talk about the trajectory of the show immediately, said he came up to the actor while he was standing side stage at Lollapalooza and told Paul that he had just watched him earlier that morning.
When vocalist and keyboardist Alisa Xayalith found out Paul loves The Naked and Famous, she squealed excitedly, “That’s awesome because I love Aaron Paul and I love Breaking Bad.”
“It’s pretty bizarre when you get featured in a television show, you get to see the effects of how many people you reach,” said Powers about their song being on True Blood. You just go on Twitter the next day with all these people saying ‘I heard the song last night.’ I don’t know. It’s pretty crazy.”
Although New Zealand is pretty chill about celeb status, The Naked and Famous spent time making their newest album, In Rolling Waves, while staying in a “porno pad” in Studio City à la Boogie Nights that included a sauna in the hallway.
Powers said it’s “hard for your environment not to affect what you’re doing” and they were happy to work again with billy Bush who mixed their first album, but that Los Angeles living didn’t inspire “many hair metal solos.” “So I don’t know if LA rock culture has a lot to do with this album,” rethought Powers.
The band, for all their new-found fame, seem totally down-to-earth, even to the point that Powers says he was overwhelmed when he met his idols because they were only a “bit taller” than him or his height and that “you get to see these people and you get to see the magic that goes on behind.”
He did concur that Batman was an idol, but when Alvarez asked him whether Ben Affleck would make a good one, Powers hesitated in his diplomatic New Zealand way and said “I’m going to wait and see what happens.”
Luckily for The Naked and Famous fans, their abilities have already been proven.
- Young Blood
- I Kill Giants
- What We Want
- Punching In A Dream
- Grow Old
- Hearts Like Ours
–Nadia Noir, CBS Radio Los Angeles