It can be hard to be in a band, or really, in any kind of group where there’s creative collaboration, and you’re supposed to act like it’s a democracy. Because what do you do with an idea that you love, if nobody else believes in it? That question is a big part of this episode with Local Natives.
Local Natives is a band from Southern California. Their first album came out in 2009, but the three vocalists and songwriters in the band, Taylor Rice, Kelcey Ayer, and Ryan Hahn – they’ve been playing together since they were in high school. The lineup also includes Matthew Frazier on drums and Nik Ewing on bass. They’ve put out 5 albums, including their most recent, Time Will Wait For No One, which came out in July 2023.
But for this episode, I talked to Taylor, Kelcey, and Ryan about an older song of theirs:“Dark Days,” which came out in 2016. It’s their biggest song to date; it has over 100 million streams, and it’s been certified gold. It’s a duet with Swedish singer Nina Persson, from The Cardigans. In 2020, they put out a new version of the song, featuring Amelia Meath from the band Sylvan Esso.
I talked to the guys here in the studio, and to Amelia Meath remotely. And together, they told me the seven-year story of how the song was first made and then eventually remade.
Illustration by Carlos Lerma.
For a transcript of this episode, click here.