Interview: Christian Zucconi from Grouplove


Everyone’s favourite festival staples, that we love like they’re Aussies  Grouplove  are both back and coming back!  How you say?  Are these people magical?  Well yes, they are but really they are back figuratively with their fresh new track, ‘Remember That Night’, and are coming back literally for a quick tour of our east coast as well as featuring at Mountain Sounds and Party in The Paddock festivals early next year.  So we've still got a little bit longer, we've got a ways to go.

I wanted to get in on the Grouplove action and was lucky enough to chat to Christian Zucconi about how his daughter with band-mate Hannah Hooper already has the rock-star life down, making up for bailing on Falls Festival, the Vegas shooting and their most underrated song.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat today Christian!

Right on, thanks for reaching out!

Especially with everything happening for you guys at the moment!  You would have to be one of the hardest working bands in the world, wouldn’t you?  You’ve always got something on the go or in the works.  Like at the moment you have your new single “Remember That Night” out, you have a massive tour underway and to top it off, you’re also parents!  Bloody hell!  I mean I’m proud if I do a load of washing and vacuum without a nap.  How do you do it without losing your sanity or becoming a *COUGH* big mess?

That’s a good question, I think that you’ve just got to not take things seriously and have fun.  Like we’re having the most fun we’ve ever had on this crazy tour we’re on right now.  I dunno if you watch our social media but if you’ve seen some of our Instagram Stories they’re like, out of hand, like just crazy fun.  I think if all that’s going well and your mind is ready in that department – you realise how lucky you are and how this is the best job in the world and you can’t really complain or get down about anything because we’re in a band and we travel the world and party every night.  It’s pretty cool.

Well speaking of that, I have a Rottweiler – so same thing really as having a kid (haha), and he has really impacted my lifestyle in a massive way.  Is it hard to maintain the rock-star lifestyle with a child in tow or does Willa just kind of go with the flow?

She’s like the biggest rock-star out of everyone, number one and she goes with the flow really well.  She’s very social and she’s a real character, her personality is off the charts for someone her age.  She’s gonna be a crazy singer/performer herself I think; so I think she’s just kind of taking it in and you know, loving it; like she loves watching the shows every night and we’ll bring her on stage sometimes and for like a minute a few months ago our nanny took her off and then she freaked out and was trying to get back on so bad.  She loves singing on the mic and like grabbing the mic and stuff; it’s so insane.

Already born into it?

Yeah, yes she totally is!  And she has just enhanced our lives so much.  It’s like unexplainable how crazy it is, how a baby… or a dog… you know, can change your life like that.

Haha, thanks for the acknowledgement.

Yeah! It changes everything but you can still do your thing as long as everything’s in moderation and you’re taking care of yourself first.


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I guess it can catch up with you though, with Hannah’s vocal cords saying NO MORE last year before Falls Festival.

Yeah, I know.

Is she back to fighting fit now?

Yeah, she’s totally back in action and having the time of her life on stage like never before.  Whatever that was/whatever happened there *inaudible* we’ll be back and we can’t wait, and we’ll all soon forget that that happened. 

Awesome. Well, we are an entitled bunch...

(Laughs) Yeah

So we do kind of feel like you guys did kind of owe us for Falls Festival?

Yeah we do man

Well you’ve been booked to play Mountain Sounds Festival (and now Party in the Paddock) – among mainly Aussie artists - and well we really consider you to be honorary Aussies now – but the big question is, are you going to absolutely bring the fire to make up for Falls?

Dude, we’re gonna bring it so hard, you have no idea.

Oh shit, I’m excited.

Yeah.  We’re gonna play our album that you never heard that came out forever ago so maybe we’ll play that for the first time, which was a long time coming.  Plus we’re gonna play some new stuff, we’re gonna test on you guys, to decide what’s gonna make our next album or not.  So that’s really exciting too.

I think we were the test for you guys last time.

I think so.

Because I did catch your show at the Oxford Art Factory last time you were here.

Oh cool!

And I saw you at Coachella earlier this year as well.  You guys ALWAYS deliver a kick arse spectacle, seemingly no matter the size of the stage or crowd.

Yeah, it doesn’t matter.  Like, we’re playing in front of 20,000 people right now in this arena tour and it’s weird but at the same time it could be/whether it’s 100 people or 20 we just do what we do and it doesn’t matter.

For sure.  Well, I actually got a couple of mates onto your music after bringing them to watch your set with me at Coachella.  So if your album sales went up by about two within the following weeks, you’re welcome.

Hell yeah!  That’s rad.

Haha but seriously, how integral do you guys think your live show is for winning over new fans?

I think it’s - for me – it’s 100%.  When I look at our recorded stuff, I like it, it’s cool but I don’t really listen to it because our live show is just so, you know hot and just, the (answer) would be, “how do you capture that in a studio for the albums?”  I guess you can’t.  You can’t, and that’s what makes live shows, live shows.  Just the crowd, the reaction and it’s just a celebration of life and an important thing to go through.

Definitely and your live show looks like that too.

Exactly.

Just back to Mountain Sounds Festival for a sec… Can you give us any hints as to who the secret headliner is going to be?

Ummm is this a trick question?

Possibly (laughs)

(Laughs) Ummmmm I don’t know.  I don’t think I can say.

Fair enough (it was worth a shot!)

I really want to chat about your new song ‘Remember That Night’.  With this one, you guys have kind of gone in a bit of a new direction with your sound for a single, though it is getting vastly positive reviews.  (Some to a weird level if you read YouTube comments).  But there are people vocal about wanting more… of the old… if you can put it that way.  When it comes to growing and evolving as a band, is it a bit of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation?

No, I’m not sure, we don’t really think of it like that/that way.  But you’re probably right, it is I’m sure ‘cause you’re not going to make everyone happy all the time.  But we just like writing good songs.  We don’t really think about (that).  I guess we have so many things in the pipeline right now/songs that everyone, I think, is going to be happy.  ‘Cause we have some old but really awesome heavy like much more punk stuff that we’re starting to play.

Wow.

Yeah, I dunno it’s hard for us to be objective about what that is or what that ‘old’ thing is.  I know this song is different because Hannah sings lead the whole time.  Something like that, to us, doesn’t faze us.  Like it’s exciting to change and do new things.  And the video is coming out I think next week and it’s just Hannah in the video like the band’s not in it.  It’s just fun for us to keep things fresh and do things differently.



100%.  Yep.

And ‘Remember That Night’ might be the last pop song we’ll ever do, or something like that.  You never know.

You’ve been quoted as saying that Hannah’s starting to come into her own in a new and very honest way, in relation to her writing.  Does the honesty of her writing scare you at all?  Like if you’ve really given her the shits one day, are you like, “Dammit I bet that'll make the album!”?

Having someone so talented as her to carry the weight, you know, in the band.  And that she’s writing so much and we’re such a writing team now and I think it just makes things better; most of the time.  There are some nights too, like last night we were… ummm where were we last night?  I can’t remember but we were in a dress room at like three in the morning and we wrote like three new songs and it was just me writing the songs and she would just listen, you know.  That was cool.

She was just like dude you got this, you don’t even need me.  When we all mush together, it’s like easily the best stuff, when it’s all collaborative.

Wow!  And I guess if one of you guys is feeling it, it seems like the songs can just come together pretty quickly if you’ve got the writing bug/if you’re in the zone.

Yeah.  We’ve totally got that bug again ‘cause we have a lot of time on this tour because we’re main support.  So we just play 40 minutes a night and have like hours after that so we completely vibe out our room every day. We bring in all these amps, we’ve got a little fake drum set now in there and we’re just gonna like finish the album I think the next, like month.  And get it done.

Oh Sweet!

Which is nice because we haven’t had that writing bug in a minute, so it’s good to feel the fire again right now.

I’ve got a bit of a serious/depressing question for you now – given the recent events including the Paris Terror attack on the Eagles of Death Metal show, the Ariana Grande concert bombing and now the Vegas shooting, which according to reports the shooter had actually booked rooms overlooking Lollapalooza in Chicago, where you guys actually played!  Do you guys have this increasingly in the back of your mind as you take the stage or has it changed the way you do things at all?

Well it’s crazy because we were in Vegas, we left that morning.  We were there the night before, so we left at like 3 that morning, which is fucking insane.  But you know, what do you do?  I mean you can’t live your life in fear, we’re never not going to go out on stage because we’re scared something could happen, you know?  It’s just such a shitty thing to even think about, you know? It’s so sad and so messed up.  But like, we think about it all the time because these arenas have bomb dogs coming in all the rooms every day and security is super tight.  You can’t get anywhere without certain things and you can’t bring guests back anymore, like only our tour manager can escort guests back.  It’s just a really sad reality.  It really is but no one can stop music from being written and performed.

Yeah for sure, you can’t let them win.

No you can’t, you’ve gotta go out every night and play, and just pray that nothing happens, you know.  It’s messed up.  It’s really messed up.

For sure.

*Call was disconnected but got him back for a few quick, more uplifting questions* 

Sorry, it looks like we got disconnected.

Sorry about that.

Well on a lighter note, I’ve got a quick six questions that I’m gonna fire at you and you need to hit me right back!  Haha Ready?

Oh. I’m so bad at these games. So bad at this but I’ll try.  Let’s do it.



QUICK SIX:

What kind of person are you, when someone asks you a Google-able question?  Do you Google it and then tell them the answer or do you politely point out that Google exists?

I’d probably point it out.

Me too man, teach a man to fish.

Yeah I won’t do the work for them.

Exactly!

Is there a question you wish a journo would ask but never has?

Umm.  There definitely are questions.  I can’t think of them right now though (laughs).  But yeah it’s nice when people ask you, kind of about, you know, “how did you grow up?” or, “what was your mom like?” or those kind of influence questions instead of like, “what bands did you listen to?” because the influences go way beyond listening to music.  It’s cool to cut a little deeper and you have an opportunity to share more personal things about you that help who you become.

Well, ah, interesting, number three, what were your parents like, how did you grow up?

(Laughs) Very cool. (Still laughing) My parents were great (laughs).

Were they musical as well?

Yes and no.  They didn’t do it professionally or anything like that but my mother sang around the house and my grandmother sang and my grandfather played violin.  So yeah, it was definitely around.

Sweet.

(Still laughing) Yeah

What’s the most underrated Grouplove song, in your opinion?

Probably ‘Sit Still’ I think it’s called; off Spreading Rumours.



Oh k, cool.  I reckon ‘News to Me’.  Definitely.

Oh right, yeah.  Both songs have never been played live, I think.

Oh mate! ‘News to Me’!  That’s my request when you come back.

OK

Sweet!

It’ll be the first time that we’ve ever played it.

Yay!


OK so imagine that you’ve only started dating Hannah like 6 months ago and you’re about to meet her family for the first time at a restaurant where her uncle is the head chef.  You happen to see him leave the toilet without washing his hands before preparing your food.  What do you do?  (Credit to Seinfeld for the idea).

(Laughs) I’d just hope for the best and eat it.

I reckon I would too.  If you really like the person.  If you were on the fence, then you’d just go.

Yeah.  That’d be a tough one.  Definitely a tough one.  (laughs)

Let’s play a game called, ‘How Well Do You Know Your Own Lyrics?”

You’ve gotta give me the name of the song from a short lyric.  Are you ready?

A-ha (said in a half amused/half bemused way)

“It was all so hazy, running ‘round this river town.”

Ooh I know that one.  That’s ‘Schoolboy’.



Yesssss!

Those lyrics and that song were written in Sydney.

Oh really?!  Mad trivia!

Yep.  We were doing some film/performance across the water from the Opera House and we had some time to kill, so we went up into a tree and wrote that, so suddenly, somehow.  So that was cool.

God you guys just have this awesome life, you have these crazy stories.

We do, it is awesome!

I think we’re running short on time and I just wanted to say thanks so much for having a chat with me today.

Me too, thank you so much.

 I also wanted to mention as well that you guys are absolute champs for donating a dollar from each of your tickets sold on the “Big Mess” tour to ‘Charity: Water’, so big ups to you guys for that as well!

Oh, dude thank you for that, I appreciate that.  It’s important.

So thanks for everything really.  See ya when you come back.

Appreciate it.  Yeah, come say, ‘Hi’.

Make sure you check out their new single 'Remember That Night' and then have a night you'll remember by seeing them live at any of these shows:

Fri 9th Feb - Triffid, Brisbane QLD 
Sat 10th Feb - Party in the Paddock, Launceston TAS
Tue 13th Feb - Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne VIC
Thu 15th Feb - Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
Sat 17th Feb - Mountain Sounds, Gosford NSW


Written by Kate Carnell

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