Cape Town – On Wednesday night I learnt that Thom Powers is a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale– a much-talked about Sci-Fi drama based on the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood.
This fact came to light whilst I was interviewing the guitarist and vocalist of the indie electronic band The Naked and Famous.
It was early morning in Los Angeles and I had 20 minutes with Thom on the phone to chat about the band’s upcoming trip to South Africa for their gigs at this year’s Rocking the Daisies and Oppikoppi music festivals.
Having read the book myself and following the hype behind this hit Hulu show, this little random bit of information was the golden nugget I was digging for in my chat with Thom.
“I was so inspired by the show that I wrote a song about it. We’ve been working on it and it would be amazing if it got used in the next season,” he explains.
I know all too well that the show was just renewed for a second season and that Margaret herself would be involved in expanding the gripping storyline.
I’m glad I found someone I could geek out with about this rather random topic.
Thom might be in one of the coolest bands on earth who also travel around the world and perform at the hottest music festivals – but he is actually a very laidback dude who’d rather Netflix than party.
Our conversation also reveals that Thom is currently renovating his place in Los Angeles. “I can bore you to death with all the stories I have about my renovation project.” And we touch on his love for gaming: “I’m currently playing a game called Prey. My girlfriend hates it. She’s not a fan of those first person shooter types of video games.”
I’m sure if we had more time we’d be able to chat about a lot more random stuff, but I rein myself in and steer the conversation back to music and touring.
Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, the band consists of Alisa Xayalith, Aaron Short, David Beadle, Jesse Wood and Thom.
Now based in the City of Angels this synthpop band travels the globe entertaining massive crowds with their unique sound.
They’re no strangers to big gigs and international festivals having performed as opening acts, alongside Wavves, in Blink-182’s 2017 spring tour and taking to the stage at Coachella in 2014 and Wanderland in Manila just last year.
NUTRIBULLET AND FOAM ROLLERS
“We’re festival ready and kind of used to the whole thing now,” Thom explains. But what is their secret weapon when having to tour from one mega show to the next? A NutriBullet.
“It’s a must-have if you’re doing a long US tour because you’re on a bus for five to six weeks straight. Breakfast is one thing venues for some reason deny exist. Usually you don’t get to go into the venue until like 13:00 or something and everyone has been up for hours. So a smoothie-maker is essential,” Thom explains whilst trying to nurse my over-the-top expectations of what the life of a famous muso must surely be like.
“It’s really nothing too exciting. Oh, we also always have one of those foam muscle rollers with us. Somebody always brings one on the tour bus with them,” he laughs.
“We’re such a stable touring band. Nothing wacky really happens. So unfortunately there’s no dirt to share. We’re pretty relaxed.”
This “anti-rock star” persona isn’t Thom being pretentious – he’s just truly not the rock and roll type and to be honest it’s very refreshing.
Even when it comes to their live shows the band also has a more “go-with-the-flow” approach: “The more you fuss prior to going on to stage the more anxious you get. Or even uptight. Funnily enough, the best thing for us is not to psych ourselves out. The less prepared we are, apart from vocal warmups, the more natural the show is.”
And that’s exactly the mindset The Naked and Famous will take when they set foot in South Africa for the first time ever to perform at Daisies and Koppi. “We’re so excited. It’s great to play for a new crowd,” Thom adds.
“Having never played in South Africa is nice because we get to do all the things we know have worked for our fans over the years. It’s different when you return to a place you’ve been before or headlined before and you have to adjust the show for fans that have seen it before.”
So, SA fans of The Naked and Famous get ready because you’re about to get the best of the best that the band has to offer when they hit the local stages later this year.
Rocking the Daisies takes place from 5 to 8 October this year at the Cloof Wine Estate just outside Darling. Oppikoppi takes place on the same weekend outside Northam in the Limpopo Province. The Naked and Famous will be performing at both festivals.