The first time West Coast Sound heard of Silver Lake band Local Natives was at Nettwerk Records' home office in Hollywood last November. The label's kingpin, Terry McBride, had convened a panel of Hollywood music biz types, including longtime PR man Mitch Schneider, Spaceland Productions' Mitchell Frank, entertainment lawyer Dina LaPolt, and music supervisor/Chop Shop label head Alex Patsavas, to brainstorm on potential music models of the future. Specifically, the idea was to address how various cogs in the music machine might turn when presented with a new artist. That new artist was O.C. band Local Natives, five guys who'd recently relocated to Silver Lake and were trying to take it to the proverbial next level.
In this brainstorming session, moderator McBride, an enthusiastic, opinionated presence with the resume and vision to back it up, introduced the guys, who stepped up onto the small stage at Nettwerk HQ, greeted the crowd, and discussed the ways in which they were courting and interacting with their fans. The band, who play an agreeable, smart brand of rhythmic indie rock, were funny, charismatic, and opinionated.
After they finished, the five panelists moved around the table and discussed how they'd work this band. None had a stake in Local Native's career, and the ideas generated during the session, coming as they were from experts in PR, live production, entertainment law, music licensing, and record label dynamics, were an invaluable crash course for both the band and the 100 or so attendees. (Unfortunately, the advice did not include advising the band to change its somewhat silly name.)
Eight months later, Local Natives inked
a deal with tbd records a management deal with tbd records label chief/A&R man/marketing kingpin Phil Costello, and is in the process of formally introducing them to the world. Phase one of said process in LA is a club residency. This coming Monday marks the first week of their August stint at Spaceland (Mitchell Frank's Silver Lake haven); phase two is the European tour, booked by David Exley at the many-tentacled Coda Music, which commences in Oxford, UK (Radiohead's birthplace, perhaps not coincidentally given the connections). This connection no doubt helped the band land a coveted BBC Live session.
Local Natives are a band worth checking out not only for the music, but to see how these connections and all this brainstorming and creativity manifests itself on a business level. (The band currently has 529,833 MySpace visits.)
This Monday at Spaceland they gig with the Union Line, The Outline, and We Barbarians.