Saturday, February 6, 2010

Your favorite Vampire Weekend song, but just a little bit sweeter: An interview with Givers

You may not have heard of Louisiana indie darlings Givers, but if you value your being able to declare, “I saw them before they got big,” it's about time you did. The five piece afro-pop ensemble, who sound a little like your favorite Vampire Weekend song slammed together with your favorite flavor of cotton candy, have embarked on their very first headlining tour, which comes on the heels of a string of shows opening for the Dirty Projectors this past Fall. With an infinitely listenable five song EP out and a full-length album in the works, Givers are poised on the brink of indie pop stardom. Intersections interviewed the band in anticipation of their return to Terrace F. Club tonight.

Could you give a rundown on the make-up of the band?

Always a strong rouge, light foundation, easy on the eye-liner, and five friends playing afro-pop danceypants, folkie love music.

In terms of sound and on-stage energy, reviewers have variously compared you to Los Campesinos!, Vampire Weekend, the New Pornographers, and Of Montreal, among others. What do you think of these sorts of comparisons?

We're grateful to be compared to some really cool bands, especially being a group from a small town in Louisiana. It still surprises us.

You've gotten a lot of attention opening for the Dirty Projectors on their last tour. Were audiences expecting what they got when they saw you?

It was our first tour, so most people didn't have expectations because we were such a young band. But the crowds that follow DP were very enthusiastic and showed a lot of love by the end of our set; we are extremely honored to have experienced that.

If it came to it, who would win in a fight, you guys or the Dirty Projectors?

Definitely Dirty Projectors! But what we are really interested in is who would win in water polo...and probably them. Shout out to Matt Little John!

How has touring as a headlining band been different than touring as an opener?

It's awesome finding out what kind of people come out to see us, rather than by chance as an opener. We've also played a handful of new cities, which has been fun, and the people in them have shown much support.

A lot of your songwriting comes out of improvisation and jamming as a group, but some of the biggest moments in your songs come when everything builds to a climax and then drops out at once. How do these moments find their way into your music?

Those kinds of things were more felt out before they were thought out. Then, while arranging songs, we just pay a little more attention to them for detail. Everything comes together pretty naturally and has its own place.

Your self-titled EP ends with a remix of Up Up Up; it's a more experimental track that's kind of offbeat with the rest of the record. Are we going to see more of this on the new album?

We are experimenting a bit more with electronic sounds on the LP. We've also toyed around with the arrangements of the songs while in the studio. We're really happy with all the changes made to the songs.

Is there any binding theme, musical or lyrical, to the EP? For that matter, is there any binding theme for the album?

In a way, yes, the songs naturally have a thematic feel to them, since they've all been written within the past year. We don't really write songs to maintain a specific theme; they sort of are connected in their own way due to the place where we are at in our lives.

What possessed you to come back to Princeton?

We enjoy playing colleges, the people are cool and really enthusiastic about their scene. We love playing Princeton!

Givers will be playing at Terrace F. Club tonight at midnight. Dangerous Ponies will be opening.

Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Dan Abromowitz '13.

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