Ahead of their performance at Live at Leeds earlier in May, I chatted to Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton from LA group Electric Guest…
Hi guys, can you tell me a little bit about how you formed as a band?
Matthew: We met in LA, we moved their 8 years ago, and I met Asa from going over to his house, where there was a recording studio. There were a bunch of different people in bands, directors, artists, living there. I recorded with one of his roommates, and he heard me playing and asked me to play on some of his songs. I kept coming over and doing that, and then eventually when Asa was asked to do an album, I ended up playing on it.
Asa: Because LA is massive, it’s huge, he was the only person that would drive 45 minutes to an hour across town just to play, when nobody was involved, when Danger Mouse wasn’t involved.
So you felt that you hit it off musically then?
Asa: Yeah we got on as friends, the whole thing was just fit, and that’s rare. Now playing with so many people you know how rare something like that is.
Matthew: For me it was different than anything I’d ever done, it was someone who was really exciting and fun to be with.
Asa (left) and Matthew (right)
How would you describe the style of music that you play?
Asa: It’s like… we always struggle with this we’re terrible… I was thinking the other day we should just start saying it’s ‘alternative’ which is such a broad description.
Matthew: Yeah, alternative.
Can you tell me a little bit about your influences?
Asa: Well, I grew up on a lot of hip-hop, and I produced that for a lot of years, until I got fully fed up with that scene. And then I kind of got more into singer-songwriters, when I was in “uni” as you guys call it. I got into a lot of folk and stuff. This dude grew up on metal, and then did the same thing and switched.
Matthew: When I was a kid I liked a lot of metal, and I listened to a lot of indie rock in high school and then outside of that I kind of got into more soundtrack type stuff.
Asa: The cool thing about playing together too was that we didn’t ever try to mesh our styles, it was just like, if there was some track that sounded very soulful or whatever, he would never play it like it was a soul track, he would just play to his strengths.
So it’s just you two for the production, do you have other band members for on the road?
Asa: Yeah we have these two lovely brothers, Todd and Tory.
Matthew: Tory’s here with us today, Todd couldn’t make it because he’s doing a different tour.
Are you looking forward to playing in Leeds today? Has it got a lot to live up to?
Matthew: I don’t think we really know much about this country.
Asa: This trip has been kind of like a whirlwind. In England, it’s just been one grey blur. No disrespect, but everywhere looks the same, it’s a lot of concrete and a lot of grey.
Matthew: Bristol stood out as somewhere different.
Asa: Yeah, it looked like a different part of Europe.
Is it a different feel to touring back home in the states then?
Matthew: I guess so yeah. I don’t know, we’re still new to it and I don’t think we really have a good gauge yet. In the US and other parts of Europe we’ve been promoted more than we have here, so we’re really just starting out here.
They say that for British artists it’s important to break the states, would you say that it’s equally important for you to make it over here?
Asa: Yeah we want to do well here, because so far we’ve just concentrated on other parts of Europe. We’ve been on tour for like a year and a half. It feels like it’s been forever. For some reason this region just got forgotten, and so now we’re just kind of starting here, which is weird, and feels like kind of rewinding a bit, but it’s cool.
The album’s been out for a while, are you working on anything new?
Asa: Yeah we’re working on the next one, hopefully this summer.
Matthew: We also just put out an EP with two new songs on it.
Are you interested in breaking into the festival scene over here in the UK?
Matthew: I don’t really enjoy going to festivals.
Asa: Although I’d say this is different, they don’t have as many festivals like this in the states, where it’s like a bunch of different buildings. Festivals tend to be more like outdoor things. Both of us don’t really like playing outdoor things, it’s just with the elements it’s harder to make it sound good.
Matthew: Also it’s kind of like really competitive, I was looking at the schedule and there are 3 other bands playing at the same time as us. That must be quite hard for some bands.
After this tour, you say you’ll be working on the new album over the summer. What are your plans for the immediate and more distant future? Where would you like to be in a few years’ time?
Matthew: A swimming pool?
Asa: I think I just want to continue doing this. There are moments where we realise how incredibly lucky we are just to be at this level. LA is one big festival in itself, a million bands playing every night. We have tonnes of friends in bands and you realise just how few bands actually make it. So we just want to grow.
To find out more about the band visit www.electricguest.com