Photo: Pamela Littky
Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi set off to Europe in 2008 seeking the same things most young people do in those formative, transatlantic trips: purpose, inspiration and a little adventure. They found a lifetime’s worth in the process.
Hooper and Zucconi had just met in Manhattan a week before, but with a quick recognition of their creative compatibility, they decided to depart to Hooper’s artist residency in the Greek isle of Crete together and became the nucleus of Grouplove. The two happened upon drummer Ryan Rabin, guitarist Andrew Wessen (both from Los Angeles) and bassist Sean Gadd (from London) while abroad. They ultimately decided to seize the window of opportunity instead of leaving behind an unopened door of possibilities, parlaying that chance encounter into one of the most unlikely success stories you’ll ever read.
“It definitely feels fateful,” said Zucconi, who shares lead vocal duties with Hooper. “We just kept going forward because it always felt like there was a bigger purpose behind this. I’m really happy we did.”
Their friendship evolved into a creative kinship. A year after meeting, Grouplove congregated at Rabin’s L.A. recording studio to record what would become its self-titled debut EP (including breakout track “Colours”). The band carried that momentum into slots playing alongside Florence + The Machine and Foster the People, sharpening its widely praised live set of high-energy antics and joyous, celebratory tunes.
The band soon released its 2011 full-length debut, Never Trust A Happy Song, an album chock-full of infectious, honeyed indie-pop anthems.
After years of constant touring, Grouplove reconvened in the studio to record its follow-up, Spreading Rumours, released last September, exactly two years after its debut hit shelves.
“It was great to come straight off the road and capture that energy right away,” Zucconi said.
It was a brand-new experience for the five-piece. Whereas much of its early material was born mostly out of instant chemistry, Spreading Rumours was anchored by the outfit’s newfound cohesiveness and seasoned communication, a channel that was forged by spending nearly every day together in the tour bus or on stage.
And since playing for crowds has become the collective’s chief passion, Spreading Rumours was designed to feed into the energy the crowd reciprocates; it was handpicked from a pretty substantial stockpile of new songs.
“We felt like going a little heavier and exploring the electronic side of things,” Zucconi said. “We like the bigger, more bombastic songs because they make our shows into these outrageous parties.”
Even in the midst of its biggest national tour to date, which stops Monday in Oklahoma City, Grouplove’s eyes sit permanently fixed on the future. It’s flirting with the notion of a cross-country, co-headlining tour with likeminded indie rockers Portugal. The Man and is already working on new songs for its third album, dead-set on riding out that fateful encounter until the next one intervenes.