At Man Repeller, we find ourselves complaining that we need new music almost as often as we declare we have nothing to wear. So, we’ve decided to try and get to know the people behind the songs we discover that make us wanna dance. First up is Alisa Xayalith of The Naked and Famous as scribed by Jamie Lincoln. Do let us know what you think.
“I’m in the middle of doing something completely unglamorous. I’m hand-washing my underwear in a basin.”
Lead singer of The Naked and Famous, Alisa Xayalith has no problem breaking the ice. The only female in a five-member band, the “Hearts Like Ours” songstress is no stranger to doing her thing (hand-washing underwear notwithstanding) amid a sea of testosterone. Having grown up with three brothers, the New Zealand native, Los Angeles convert actually feels a degree of familiarity and comfort in boys-only territory.
“Of course there are those days where I feel like an absolute lunatic and emotionally charged and the guys just look at me like I’m crazy. But actually, if I speak to another female they’ll completely validate me and make me realize that it’s okay.”
Following their wildly successful 2010 debut album, Passive Me, Aggressive You featuring the hit indie electro single “Young Blood,” Xayalith and fellow bandmates Thom Powers, Aaron Short, Jesse Wood and David Beadle have been promoting their sophomore album, In Rolling Waves, across Europe and come January, throughout New Zealand and Australia. The nomadic touring lifestyle would be a packing light obstacle course for most, but no matter for Xayalith, who cites her style as streamlined and minimalist. When it comes to readying herself for a performance, her untrammeled perception of exoteric self and style champions all else. Says the perpetually red lipped, John Lennon-as-evidenced-by-her-shades reincarnate: “I never let anybody override me that way.”
But she’s not too concerned with keeping up appearances either. “In Los Angeles, people can be so image-conscious and so caught up in reality TV and caught up in pop culture, but in New Zealand that just does not exist … at all. If somebody famous was walking down the street, there would be no mob of people, no paparazzi. It’s just like, whatever, it’s not a big deal.”
“When we’re doing shows,” she said of her on-stage persona, “I wear the music that we’ve made and I wear the songs that we have like armor. It just makes me feel so empowered to be singing something that I’ve written to a huge audience. It’s really electric to experience something like that.”
As for the music, you may be familiar with this one…
And from the band’s most recent album:
FAST FACTS WITH ALISA XAYALITH:
Number of selfies taken in your lifetime: 20 … maybe 20.
Number of sheep you’ve seen in New Zealand: Definitely not a million. I reckon I’ve seen like, a thousand sheep.
Favorite designer in the U.S.: Pamela Love, her jewelry is awesome.
Favorite staple item in your closet: My Helmut Lang jacket.
Personal style in one word: Minimal … and chic.
Favorite app: Tinder!
Yay or Nay on Miley Cyrus: Nay
How’s that for a Music Monday renaissance?
— Interviewed and written by Jamie Lincoln, Images courtesy of The Naked and Famous