The fine folks over at Young Money Entertainment may have started a movement with “The Motto” (the originator of YOLO; sorry, Yolo County) but so far, no other outfit have come close to capturing the reckless abandon of living life to its fullest than Los Angeles-based quintet Grouplove. A quick read of their lyrics in breakout hit “Naked Kids” highlights that attitude, hinting at their almost serendipitous history as a band.
Frontwoman Hannah Hooper invited guitarist Christian Zucconi to an art commune just a week after meeting him in New York City. The two quit their jobs, left their apartments, and set out for Crete, where they met the artists who would round out the rest of Grouplove’s lineup. The trip to Greece quickly strengthened their blossoming friendship but Zucconi and Hooper found themselves jobless and homeless upon returning to the States. Guitarist Sean Gadd was in a similar predicament.
“Sean [Gadd] was in London in the same situation and we all made our way to Los Angeles,” Hooper tells the Appeal.
“Ryan [Rabin] went to college for recording and producing so that’s how we started getting our material down. I’m sure that before our recording got in the hands of our management it just looked like bad choices in our parents’ eyes.”
The group played their first show in 2010 and released their eponymous EP less than a year later. 2011 saw the quintet touring relentlessly in anticipation and then support of their debut LP, Never Trust A Happy Song. All album artwork can be attributed to Hooper, who has a fine arts background and surprisingly only fell into music when forming Grouplove.
“My musical background is that I have no musical background. I always sang along to songs like all kids do but that was it. I’m also not used to performing on stage. Like, in college I couldn’t do presentations and I can’t give a toast.” Hooper says.
“Our first fifteen shows I wore a mask because I was so nervous and someone started writing that they thought I was a burn victim.”
Hooper has since dropped the mask but has kept a firm grip on painting, though the immediacy of making music is what truly relaxes her. She’ll be combining the two with “I’m With You,” a three-day art installation opening Tuesday, September 17, the same day their sophomore LP Spreading Rumours is to be released. The show not only promotes that album but will showcase yet another side of Hooper in the form of tragic pop portraits that include JFK and John Lennon, among many others.
Grouplove will be hitting SF just a few days before, playing just down the street from where Hooper grew up on Saturday at the Independent.
The very next night, they’ll take the stage at the Chapel where they’ll be playing acoustically. That show at the Independent is particularly special to the entire band, as their first supporting tour had them opening there for Foster the People just two years prior.
“It’s amazing and kind of scary. We all feel that way when going to our hometowns. It’s showing my home that this is what I do,” Hooper says.