photos / Spencer Kohn
story & styling / Ashling Massoumi
makeup on Hannah / Dani Grasso using MAC Cosmetics and Dermalogica
hair/grooming / Sara Tintari using Baxter of California and Enzo Milano Pro
There’s a beauty in liberating your art, not confining it and pre categorizing it before it comes into existence… The beauty of allowing the art to define itself and create its own space. It became clear after a quick afternoon chat in Hollywood with Grouplove, that their creative freedom so happens to be the secret key to their consistent relevance. It is their collective creative freedom that they practice that allows them to create a sound so dynamic that it belongs to no one existing genre, it commands a genre all of its own.
These five creatives are carving out their path as they walk upon it. Every song becomes an anthem, with bass, piano, hip hop, rock — any sound that perks their ears has the space to belong in their work. Somewhere in the middle of this synthesis is the “Grouplove Sound”.
Can you tell me a bit about your creative process?
Hannah: I’d say the best part about being an artist is not having a process.. Not counting on one thing to motivate you… You never know where it’s going to come from. This allows me to consistently grow. No walls, no barriers. It just comes to you when something is right. There’s no rhyme to the reason… I honestly think it’s the most liberating part of being an artist.
Ryan: Sometimes things come out from starting together, sometimes by yourself. Yet it’s always in the collaboration that it goes somewhere — somewhere that you never thought it could go. It’s always worked better when we just let the song dictate what we’re doing and just figure out how that’s going to manifest itself live afterwards.
That’s an interesting spin on it…
Hannah: The song becomes the best thing it can be because we push it.. It tells us where it wants to go. It’s hard to explain art because it’s such a subconscious process. You just know when it feels right and you’ll understand where it needs to go. That is the “Grouplove Sound.” It’s us pushing and shaping each other in a way that is uncomfortable for each of us, yet is also revealing of each of us.
Ryan: I think also when you are purposely working with limitations, whether you mean to or not, it’s just as if you are accomplishing a goal. When you work without limitations you allow yourself to discover something new.. You discover something new about yourself.
There’s some inherent quality to each of your songs that’s addicting, each song becomes its own anthem…
Hannah: We don’t give a fuck about what’s cool, and that’s liberating. We have the ability to go a lot further.
Was there a moment that you had to break through a wall of fear to get to this point?
Hannah: Being an artist is never a choice… Yet being who I wanted to be on stage didn’t seem humanly possible. I knew who I was, I just didn’t know how to let her out.. And now I don’t even know how to tame the beast.
Ryan: Fear- It’s probably an important thing to have when going into something.. I’ve been signed and dropped by labels 2 or 3 times before this band…Putting in that unrewarded time… But we all had to take a bit of a leap.”
Hannah: “I was worried about disappointing myself. More so as spiritual disappointment. I want to be on stage and be a symbol of power for women, for people.”
Christian: I’m more of a fearful person in real life. On stage is the one place I can really truly be myself. It’s the place I don’t really have to worry about anything — that’s my safe zone. I’m like a withdrawn, shy kid, not good at interviews, but when I’m on stage I can just be this person and sing.
Hannah: Imagine if Christian was the same person on stage as he was in real life.. It’d be fucking crazy…
What did you want to do when you were a kid? It’s such an honest version of what we actually want to do...
Christian: I wanted to do this. Yea, I think so… I’d always kick people out of my living room. I had this Mickey Mouse guitar, drew the curtains, and would play Billy Joel.
Hannah: I don’t think I had any plans beyond the present.. I just wanted to create and be a part of something.”
Ryan: Michael Jackson.
Christian: Yea.. You have to recognize it to do it.
On Welcome to your Life, off of the new album, how did that song come to be?
Ryan: It’s birth was in segments: Hannah went into labor one day… I had written a little melody and lyric about it in the shower or something. Hannah and Christian had written a verse on their own… Then Andrew heard it at the house and loved it. Then came the intro, then we thought, “Let’s try and write a chorus.” They merged together, and this is a perfect example of how in collaboration, it was all brought together. Lyrically even, the different parts all fit together.
‘Welcome to your life, it can be your fantasy.’ Those lyrics are so simple yet so powerful, it seems that these days we forget that we have the capacity to be exactly who we want to be.
Hannah: It really can be your fantasy. The verse of that is about how the oppressiveness of the world today, how it uses fear and all these machines, how we just clock in. Just remember, this is your life. Let’s make it your fantasy. The message there is real.
Anything else we should know about the album?
Ryan: It was a fun process, worked in fragments, worked with an outside producer for the first time… We just experimented a lot more. I think it’s a lot more diverse than the last albums have been.
Hannah: For the first time I’m really understanding, that when people say, describe your sound, it’s the “Grouplove Sound.” We don’t need to describe it.. It’s no genre, it’s every genre. We’re not scared to be dark, we’re not scared to be silly, we’re not scared to make it big and emphatic, our sound is the “Grouplove Sound”. We’re alive. Oh, and live, we’re off the chain.
Catch Grouplove live this Fall!