Introducing Seattle Rockers Naked Giants

Published in Music  
Naked Giants second album, 'The Shadow', is available now. Naked Giants second album, 'The Shadow', is available now.

On this side of the Pacific Ocean, Seattle rockers Naked Giants are all but unknown (that's about to change with the release of their second album 'The Shadow').

Back in the US though, the band have already notched up a number of impressive accolades since their debut album 'SLUFF' two years ago including being named Seattle's best live band by The Seattle Times (the largest newspaper in the state) in 2018.

While Rolling Stone named them one of the "30 best artists we saw" during SXSW the same year. Oh, and they even became part of Car Seat Headrest's touring band around the same time.

Naked Giants are Gianni Aiello, Grant Mullen and Henry LaVallee, and 'The Shadow' (out today) is an 11-track album they recorded with Chris Funk of The Decemberists on production, Adam Lee (Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks) on mixing and John Baldwin (Benjamin Booker, The White Stripes) on mastering duties.

"In the years since our previous album 'SLUFF' was recorded, we have toured around the world, honed our musical skills and found our own little place in the music industry," the trio says.

"But we have also seen our share of shadows, and it is through acknowledging these shadows that we grow the most.

"Each song on 'The Shadow' examines an aspect of this growth through a different musical lens, adding up to a series of rock and roll vignettes of light, shadow, anxiety and responsibility."

Who is Naked Giants? Hi! This is Henry, drummer of Naked Giants. We are a three-piece rock band from Seattle, Washington. We started the band as 17/ 18 year olds, and 6 years later we are still recording, writing, and working on creating a world of safe spaces, progressive thought, and more music.

We sound like... I used to say we sound like Cream meets Devo. However, for this next record, I'd go as far to say we sound like Sabbath meets Talking Heads.

Our first gig... As a three-piece band was at a teen centre in Redmond, a suburb east of Seattle. We played some songs off our first EP ('R.I.P.' EP) and we covered 'Rock Lobster' by The B-52's.

We owe a lot of our career as a band to teen centres. They give any new band a show, and they are great places to network.

As a matter of fact, the first time I met Will Toledo and Car Seat Headrest was at a teen centre concert. There was virtually nobody there, but we hit it off and then four years later I was in his band, touring Australia.

When did you settle on the group's name, and was it a unanimous decision? Grant (guitar/ vox) and I were gearing up to play a small battle of the bands at our local community centre. I wanted a band name that was not too funny and not too serious.

We used Naked Giants for the first few shows, and then went into thinking about changing it for a few months, but something about the name was just part of the energy we manifested together in rehearsals and in our friendship, so it stuck.

In the studio we usually... Drink lots of coffee. Usually I like it black, but I find hemp milk is a special treat I save just for the studio. We stay creative.

When recording 'The Shadow', we would sit on the piano in the lobby and write songs for a musical we have been slowly but surely putting together. Having a fun escape from the rock music was really important to keep the mood light.

If we could tour with anyone... Ty Segall, Pond, Spacey Jane, The Blinders, Oh Sees.

Social media is... A great way to promote yourself and others. It is also a great way to see new art and connect with other people/ orgs in your field. It is also addictive (like a slot machine) and can lead to depression and/ or anxiety. It is good to take conscious breaks from it.

My favourite app at the moment is... Spotify. I love searching a vibe and finding a user-created playlist with a bunch of bands that I've never heard of but can discover.

I wish Duolingo was up there, but I definitely spend the most time on Spotify. WAHOO/ work out apps are fun too. I have been biking more since COVID-19 and it is encouraging to track the progress I've been making.

To date, my most embarrassing moment was the time... I still find the most embarrassing thing at a rock show is when I forget I've turned my snares off, and then I hit the first downbeat and it sounds like I am playing a giant bongo.

Life on the road can be... A lot of things. I find it forces me to look into who I am. What do I do in the passenger seat of a van for six hours a day? What music do I listen to when driving? What thoughts do I contribute to conversations?

How will I interact with the promoter and sound person at each new venue? How will I interact with strangers that have come to the show and want to say hello? Will I eat a burger or a salad for dinner?

If you'll have us on your bill, all we ask is that our rider contains... Hummus, broccoli, a cool beer for after the show (I can't drink before I play drums). A Fosters, Peroni, Becks, or Carlsberg are my go-to favourites. Chips and spicy salsa are always nice too.

The most scary scenario we've found ourselves in, was... We were driving through a blizzard in Wyoming and the car did a 180-degree turn on the freeway, very low visibility. Semi-trucks were flying by, it was terrifying. I feel very fortunate that none of us were injured.

What celebrity/ famous person would you love to be spokesperson of the band? It'd be pretty sweet if Steve Miller gave us an endorsement. "Enjoy Steve Miller's favourite band, Naked Giants." Something along those lines.

Three people you'd like to invite around for a dinner party (why?)... My mom, dad, and brother. When I'm on the road, I find myself longing to get back to those days of family meals. We wouldn't need to perform for anyone, just be ourselves.

If we were coming over to your place, what would you cook us? Steak (rib eye) brussel sprouts, white rice, homemade salsa, broccolini, corn, sweet potatoes.

No matter the expense, send me a case of... Drum sticks, Vic Firth 5B Maple please. I'm sure they'll be gone before the next tour is up.

The last time I saw the inside of a gym was... February, 2020. I began biking and running to stay in shape. Rock drumming can be physical in a cardio type of way, so I find bike rides or runs are the best to keep my energy up.

What's the one chore you dislike the most? Cleaning up after other people.

Do you have any phobias... please explain? Nothing clinical or serious, but I will not get a good sleep if I see a spider in my room before bed.

Would you ever partake in a reality show? If so, what type? If there was a show that followed a band on tour, I would maybe participate in that. I also like 'The Repair Shop'. Instrument restoration has been a hobby of mine for the past few years. So a show like that would be cool.

If you could prank any of your friends, who's your target, and how are you bringing them down? One time, on tour with Car Seat Headrest, I set-up Andrew's drum kit in reverse (aka for a lefty). He approached, cracked a laugh, and then was like, "okay now put it back".



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