The group “Is Tropical” are a group you may not have heard of, but I am pretty sure you will soon. Their video for the song “The Greeks” has had an unbelievable three million plus views.They have an infectious sound and a great sense of humour to match. I had a chance to ask them about their encounter with the Olsen twins and a few other interesting subjects. Here’s our interview with Gary from the band:
NT: You guys like to appear in photos with yer faces covered in masks, balaclavas, etc… I think you perform like that as well. I recently saw a picture of you guys unmasked and yer not bad looking fellas. As well, your wiki is pretty bare and myspace has symbols to describe where your from. What’s all the secrecy about?
GT: The initial reason for being masked in press shots and during live performances was to add an artistic, theatrical image to the band so that from a single image or live show people could see there was more to the band than just music. Back in the pre-internet days people really had to search a band out, spread rumours and tales about their favourite artist, find obscure articles and rare images to get into someone, and when people spend that much time and effort acquiring information on a band, they really fall in love with everything that surrounds the band. Giving everything away on one web page just ruins the whole discovery aspect of it. Imagine if Christopher Columbus (31 October 1451 – 20 May 1506) could have wikipedia’d America he might not have completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the Western Hemisphere.see what I mean? (that info is from wikipedia). it’s all about discovery.
NT: Does Kitsune get on your asses to do more press?
GT: We’re aware that press is very important. Being able to put across what you want to say is vital in this day and age. Every man and his frog has a blog with an opinion so you have to fuel the fires and counteract the lies.
NT: Are you surprised at how the video for “The Greeks” took off? I think it has over 2.5 million hits so far. What’s the story behind putting it together?
GT: I think it’s hit more than 3 million now which is crazy for a band as undiscovered as us.It’s views are testament to how good Megaforce (the directors) are as video makers. They had this amazing idea and we just gave them free reign to do what they liked. When someone is as good as them, making suggestions and getting involved just hinders things. We gave them a few key words along the gangs/kid route and they smashed the rest of it.
NT: You have played quite a few places around the world, including Asia and SouthAmerica. Where are some of the more interesting places you have played so far?
GT: The places you just mentioned are really interesting. Everything is Japan is totally different to what we’re used to which is amazing. something as simple as a 7eleven can blow your mind over there. Venezuela was interesting too. everyone we met had a story about an express kidnapping or murder. It’s scary when they tell you stories like that then you jump into a crowd of 8,000 people.Moscow was cool too. We ended up getting hammered with a load of homeless guys in the park on some stupidly strong vodka, got chased out of a government building by armed guards and swam in the Moscow river. Still waiting on the hepatitis results.
NT: Speaking of playing live, you guys are known to put on a pretty raucous show. Do you feed off the energy of the crowds?
GT: We love playing live. It’s got a totally different feel to the album. Its a lot heavier live, and we often have a banging lighting show. It’s up to us to make the crowd energetic, so when they respond it really makes for a great show. Naked people stage diving is what we aim for at every gig.
NT: Your songs have a bit more of a sophisticated, maybe advanced sound, how much do you enjoy working in the studio?
GT: A lot of the songs we work up quite extensively at home, then test them live. It allows the songs to develop naturally, so you can see what works and what doesn’t in a live environment. the key is then translating that in the studio to capture the moments that are proven to work well. We love working on new songs, it’s one of the only times you get to really push each other.
NT: Another question about videos, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen appear in your video for “Tan Man” have they seen it, are they fans?
GT: Yeah, they sent us a personal email saying they loved it. They said that prior to us using that footage they were embarressed about ‘The Dance Party of the Century’, but now they often recreate the dance before they go clubbing when they’re getting ready at home. We’re gonna party with them in the states. Dom banged one, but can’t remember which one.
NT: Which five records have had the biggest impact on you so far?
Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
The Strokes – Is This It
Black Lace – Greatest Hits
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
The Coral – The Coral