Local Natives shine at South by Southwest festival

The band includes graphic artists as members and produces its own artwork.

Katie Prince / Graphic Designer

This year, many critics listed Local Natives as one of the top ten bands to perform at South by Southwest, a festival showcasing up-and-coming stars in film and music.

The group's widespread popularity is not without merit. With gorgeously harmonized vocals and unusually prominent percussion, Local Natives has not only created a unique sound but has mastered it.

With such a different and defined sound, it is interesting to learn such distinction was not created intentionally.

"Certain songs may have stemmed from a melody and others from just a triple chord progression," said Matt Frazier, the drummer for Local Natives. "We kind of do it on a song-by-song basis. We go through each song and each one could be a completely different process."

However Local Natives chooses to come up with its songs, its audience seems to be pleased. The band has already been compared to industry giants, such as Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective, though it is impossible to describe its sound by comparing the band to other established groups.

"I think it's flattering that we're compared to such amazing bands because they are bands that we really love and respect," Frazier said. "I just hope that people really explore the album in its entirety and really kind of see that we're very much doing our own thing."

There is more to Local Natives than the music. With three skilled graphic designers as members, the band creates its own artwork. The psychedelic creations complement its musical style and show the group is not a one-trick pony, but a Jack of all trades.

This multifaceted band is likely to be huge in the near future — it seems to be impossible to find an article that doesn't give its live shows rave reviews.

"There's much more of a raw energy in our live show," Frazier said. "We all really love playing live, so I think that enthusiasm comes through."

In fact, it was the band's live performances at SXSW in 2009 that sparked the interest of producers from its current label, Frenchkiss Records.

"We're also kind of control freaks but in a good way," Frazier said of the band's relationship with its label. "Maintaining our artistic integrity is very important to us. But they have been able to really help us just spread the word."

Although listeners are closely monitoring it across the world, it doesn't seem as though the band has quite gotten used to its popularity in the music scene.

"It's been pretty surreal, but I feel like we still have a pretty long way to go," Frazier said. "We can't really wrap our heads around it yet."

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