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GROUPLOVE

Ahead of the release of I Want It All Right Now (Deluxe), 1883 sits down with GROUPLOVE to dive deeper into some of the new songs, reflect on the past few years, and hear about what’s upcoming.

Over the last decade, GROUPLOVE has transformed. The band has explored new sonic spaces, performed in front of a wide variety of audiences, and has changed their relationship with the music industry. Securing a spot at the forefront of indie in 2011, GROUPLOVE has spent over 10 years finding themselves, and their most authentic sound. Freeing themselves from the expectations of both onlookers and themselves, GROUPLOVE’s current era is authentic in every sense of the word. With their most recent release, a deluxe version of their latest record I Want It All Right Now, they explore the journey of self-discovery, from externally wanting to turning inward and reflecting.

Despite the transformations that GROUPLOVE has gone through, the core of the band has remained the same: vocalist/keyboardist Hannah Hooper and vocalist/guitarist Christian Zucconi. The pair share many dynamics: partners, parents, collaborators. Hooper and Zucconi’s respect and reverence for one another is evergreen and reflected in the art they create together. Throughout their impressive career, GROUPLOVE has fostered a safe, beautiful environment that encourages listeners to grow alongside the band, creating a dynamic that feels more like collaboration versus a typical artist/fan relationship. Their music, and the community that it has inspired, have and will continue to serve as safe spaces for listeners worldwide.

Though the world around them is ever-changing, GROUPLOVE’s commitment to their artistry is consistent. Longevity was inevitable for the band because their authenticity and creativity shine through every project they put out. I Want It All Right Now is no different, showcasing some of GROUPLOVE’s most vulnerable and sincere lyricism yet.

Ahead of the release of I Want It All Right Now (Deluxe), 1883 sits down with GROUPLOVE to dive deeper into some of the new songs, reflect on the past few years, and hear about what’s upcoming.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today! I have some questions about the deluxe, and everything that you have been up to lately. But first, I have to tell you, Big Mess is one of my favorite albums ever. I saw someone online asking what media people think encapsulates ‘the before times,’ like life before COVID and everything. Before things got really scary. I think that’s Big Mess for me. 

Christian Zucconi: That’s so cool.

Hannah Hooper: That’s awesome. I’m glad you told us. That goes a long way over here!

Of course! So, the deluxe version of I Want It All Right Now comes out tomorrow. What emotions are you experiencing? Walk me through everything you’re feeling before release day.

HH: It’s kind of crazy… these songs have all been done. We wrote them when we wrote the album. We chose to save them. In a way, for us, it’s been finished for over a year, year and a half?

CZ: Almost two years.

HH: As the artist, the work has been done, all that. I’ve been listening to them, getting to know them again. That time in our life again. I mean, I’m excited. There’s always a little bit of nerves. Also, the way that people digest music these days… Tomorrow’s New Music Friday, then Saturday comes and it’s like, ‘who cares?’ It’s kind of crazy. It’s not the way I digest music. If I hear something I’m absolutely in love with, I consume it for a long time. Learn all the lyrics…

CZ: Hopefully people do that with these songs too. 

HH: That’s exactly what’s gonna happen with these songs! [both laugh] Yeah, it’s just a different time, like you were saying.

CZ: I think we’ve been so busy touring and doing other stuff we don’t realize that it’s actually even happening. So when you pause and give us that moment to reflect on that fact, that they’re coming out, it’s really exciting. People get to hear 4 or 5 new songs. They’re really good songs. We took such a long break from listening to them because when we leave the studio and are done with the mixing process, we kind of just don’t listen to music for a long time! It’s been really fun to get to know them again. Think about incorporating one or two of them into our live shows. It’s going to be fun. Some of the songs are very different, too, from what we’ve put out in the past. It’s cool for people to see that too.

HH: I’ve been working on a limited t-shirt that’s coming out, with “Can You Feel My Love.” An actual ten-inch that’s going to come out, that has hologram art. I love getting involved in the whole show, then it becomes more real. 

Super exciting! I was going to ask about “Can You Feel My Love,” it’s cool to see snippets of your parenthood journey in your music, starting back with “Welcome To Your Life.” Could you tell me about the creative process for that track?

CZ: Like a lot of our songs, they start from this subconscious place that I don’t really understand. Every night I would go into our little studio, and just mess around on keyboards. I wanted to get away from guitar and write songs from a keyboard perspective, which I do sometimes. I just wrote that riff, and I laid it down. Those words, the first verse, a lot of the lyrics came out in those first ten minutes. I think it’s just a snapshot of a day in the life of my anxiety. The pressure to persevere amidst a lot of things happening all the time. I think it’s a cool look into being a parent, also being a good husband to Hannah…

HH: You are!

CZ: Like I say in the song, just trying to be perfect, but that’s a ridiculous thing because that’s impossible. It was a nice therapy session for me. I don’t know where it came from, but I do feel that a lot. Especially when you’re a parent, you don’t want to screw up too many times. I want people to appreciate that song, whether they’re a parents or not.

HH: I also edited a video on Instagram with Willa and Christian through the years. Everyone was like, “Oh my god, this song’s about Willa!” There’s definitely that element, because so much of our love is focused towards Willa. When you have a kid, your life changes. But yeah, I think what Christian was saying… when I listen to that song, I really feel like it’s Christian asking questions to himself. I think at the end of the day, all of our lives are so self-involved… You’re experiencing it through your own perception. I think he’s questioning his perception a little bit, this was my weird take on it.

CZ: Yeah, I can see that. 

It definitely can be an introspective song, I think.

HH: Yeah, that’s the word I was looking for, thank you!

One of the other songs I wanted to ask about was the live version of “All” with Jake Clemmens, what was that performance experience like? What made you want to include it on the deluxe album?

HH: Off the bat, Madison Square Garden is a place I never thought we’d play. It was such an epic place to play. Jake Clemmens… There are those kind of friends you meet and you’re like, ‘woah, I’ve known you forever. This is really comfortable, and we can speak through music, and relate on really personal things.’ That connection was really evident for us onstage in that performance.

CZ: We had met him in Montreal the week before, a friend of ours named Michael introduced us. He lives in Asbury Park, knows the whole Bruce Springsteen camp, and hung out with Jake a lot. He was like, “you’re going through Montreal, I think you guys would love each other. Let me ask him if he wants to play saxophone on a song that you have.” He came to the Montreal show, we had such a good time. We performed together, and got that under our belt. It was Jake’s idea, he was like, “Yo, you guys are playing the Garden next week, how about I come down and play with you?” We were like, hell yeah! It was so fun. To play, to have him flex on the song like that, like a real soloist. We don’t really ever do that, guests. Especially just him to come out in that space. I’m from New York, my whole family was there. Everyone knows him from the E Street Band. It was a super amazing, triumphant performance for us. We wanted to share that with everyone.

It’s really cool that something that special is immortalized forever like that!

CZ: Right? It was cool.

HH: Super cool.

The other track that stood out to me on the deluxe was “Fire.” Like you were saying, some of these songs are a little different from the rest of your discography, and “Fire” was one that I felt like leaned into a new sound. Could you tell me a bit about that one?

HH: It’s weird, I’m not going to say who it’s about, but I think people are going to assume it’s about Christian, but it’s actually about someone we used to work with. Ben, our drummer, came over with this beautiful instrumental track and it’s like I had these pent-up feelings about this person in my life, and it just came out pretty quickly lyrically and melodically. It was honestly like a conversation with someone that I needed to have, but I didn’t have the balls to have it, so I had it with the song. It felt good. It does feel different, like a different territory. It was fun doing the backup singing… Just a good time doing it. It’s weird how I find… I use art a lot to get over obstacles I can’t in real life. I’m not ready to be that hero for myself. I do it through art, and it gives me the power to do it later on in actuality. 

CZ: From the original demo, it really blossomed in the studio with John Congleton. He brought this really nice magic, effervescence to it that made it sparkle. We were just surprised by it.

Totally. This is a question more so for Hannah, but Christian, you are welcome to chime in as well: can you tell me a bit about the album art for the deluxe? It’s similar to the original, but the painting is different, could you tell me about the difference?

HH: When I was making the album art, I made a bunch of different paintings. The one we ended up using was much more… this moment of pain, that I thought was more powerful for the original album cover. But for the deluxe… there’s more of a sense of wonder and awe, and hope, in this woman’s face, that I just wanted to use for these songs. We’ve gotten through this journey on I Want It All Right Now, there was so much pain and pushback on the beginning of that album. Then we get to this place of freedom towards the end. Now we have these songs that play between all of it. 

You two have been making music together for a long time now, do you feel that you’ve taken on different roles in your creative process? How has it evolved?

CZ: I think it’s changed a lot since we started. When we started the band, Hannah didn’t ever plan on being in a band. She never wanted to be a musician. She kind of fell into it by accident. But she was so amazing, she had so much to say, and she was just naturally good at it. It’s been amazing to see her grow into who she’s become over the years. She’s always had amazing ideas, but it’s so cool to see her… how she’s found her voice, and uses it in so many cool ways now. I remember really discovering that for This Is This, where she sings 90% of the songs. It’s just so cool to see her own it like that. She’s just such a force now, it’s so cool to see. For me, too, to not feel like I have to do more work in terms of melodies… it’s less on me because [she does] so well.

HH: It’s weird because we used to write everything together, and I’d say honestly Christian wrote most of everything, and I came in and found harmonies and maybe a bridge melody or something. We kind of started writing separately a bit more, and now we’re coming back together which is really exciting. Christian, who used to write more in verse chorus verse bridge, a traditional song… he’s found a new way of writing music that I think is really honest and tells this very unique story. He’s always so inspiring, and creating art with this guy… I’m so lucky because he makes space for everyone. A lot of people are very controlling in creative environments, and he is the opposite of that. He’s nurturing and supportive, and everyone really blossoms around him. Had we not met, and fallen in love, and started a band… I would never be here. There’s too much anxiety and self-deprecation in me to have gotten this far without him.

CZ: I wouldn’t be here without [her] either!

That’s really cool that you’ve given each other a space to learn and grow in your own ways.

HH: I think that’s why the music is never predictable. We go wherever we’re at. We don’t pay attention to what’s happening in music. I don’t really care about trends. I think they’re fun, but trends come and go. Truth and our own experimentation is much more interesting.

Definitely. Have you always felt that way? It’s been over 10 years since “Tongue Tied,” and I’m curious how you feel about that song now in 2024. I can imagine it’s obviously wonderful that it has a legacy and people resonate with it still, but do you ever feel pressured by the legacy it has, or did you at some point?

HH: I’ll start off with this thing that we joke about, that we’ll be 70 years old and going onstage like, ‘okay everybody, take me to your best friend’s house!’ Just the idea of that… The way that that song isn’t aging in a way? It’s always staying relevant. It’s a little bit terrifying. It is no longer our song, you have to understand that. When we perform it, I feel like we’re performing a cover now. It’s so much all of yours. People are graduating to it, getting married to it… Which is the dream. It’s become so much of a thing… I have friends that will be [talking to someone] like, ‘oh, have you heard of GROUPLOVE?’ and they say no, and they say ‘have you heard “Tongue Tied/”’, hell yeah I’ve heard “Tongue Tied!” We’re almost “Tongue Tied” comma GROUPLOVE sometimes. It’s so strange. There’s also a moment… We play college shows, or shows that aren’t ours, like opening for P!NK. You always know that no matter how bad the show is going, once you play “Tongue Tied,” the whole room was jumping. There’s also that freedom of having a song like that. No matter what, there will be four minutes of the set that will be incredible.

It’s both timeless and such a product of its time, and everyone is so nostalgic for everything, so it’s just constantly in rotation.

HH: The good thing for us… we can’t rewrite it. We don’t try to write a hit, that’s just not who we are. If it happens, it’s awesome. But, we will never rewrite “Tongue Tied.” That will never happen again, you know what I mean? That song is the one that will be like that. Hopefully there will be something else.

CZ: It’s hard to realize. It happened so long ago, it’s hard to realize because time is so strange to me. I don’t really realize that, that it’s such a big song, in a way.

HH: I don’t either until we’re onstage. I’ll be like, ‘we’re going to your best friend’s house,’ and everyone’s like, oh shit! All the phones are up. People who you didn’t know could move are bouncing. You know what’s a weird thing? A lot of the people… the camera is flipped at them. A lot of people record themselves during that song. It’s that much of a personal song for people. I think cell phones are so weird. Being onstage… it used to be we would share energy, and now there’s this blocking thing in between. We don’t know if we’re going to be caught when we jump in the audience, everyone’s holding phones and iPads. It’s a really weird exchange now. 

Do you find it harder to engage with audiences now, compared to five or ten years ago?

HH: 100%. It’s weird because I’m more comfortable with myself now, so I’m more present. When I jump down with Christian in the audience during certain songs, someone will be holding [a phone] up. I’m trying to look at them, I want to work together in this moment. They’re recording this thing forever. It’s just crazy.

CZ: We did this one show in Chicago years ago where we took the phones away. I couldn’t believe how great it was. I think the audience felt the same way, after the initial shock of letting their phone go. It was awesome, I can’t explain.

HH: It was a different energy. What’s crazy is that all of these people, who are now forever friends, met at the Chicago show. They didn’t know what to do with themselves, they had to talk to each other while they were waiting for the show to start. Because of that, they travel now to different shows. Let’s all smash our phones and get off social media! 

Sort of on the topic of your fans, I wanted to ask about how you feel your relationship with your fanbase has evolved throughout the course of GROUPLOVE?

HH: Fans is a weird word, we’ve always thought that it’s a weird word. We think of it as a GROUPLOVE family. Family with boundaries [laughs]. It’s hard for us, when I’m not onstage, to understand that we’re in a band, if that makes sense. I feel this closeness with our fanbase, this safety when I’m onstage. When I’m offstage, I don’t realize I’m in a band. When I see people in the street and we’re talking, it’s almost like, who are we talking about? I don’t know how to explain it.

CZ: I think over time, with every album release, it brings an opportunity for us to expand upon our relationship with some of our close fans. They get to know us better, we get to experience how they experience music. They come to shows, they talk about songs. It’s really cool. The fans that come out to see us are really cool people. It’s always a really nice inclusive vibe in the audience. This past headline tour, we had a new merch guy out with us, this amazing guy named Brent. He’s a professional merch guy, he’s been doing it for years. He was like, ‘wow, your fans are so respectful, they just have an air about them that’s really genuine.’ That was cool to hear, we’re just lucky. People who have opened for us have said, ‘wow, your fans are so patient, they watch the opening bands with open minds and accept them.’

HH: It’s crazy growing up together, growing up with our fans. There are people there who have been there since the beginning. Right at the front, every show.

CZ: We were all kids, everyone’s adults now.

HH: The fact that the music still speaks to them says a lot to me about the community we’ve formed. We’re all still growing, and helping people. The amount of times that people have said ‘this has helped me through this,’ I might have such a different version… that’s why we don’t really explain our songs, because there’s so many… There’s actually a woman I’ve become really close to, she went through chemo and had a pretty big cancer scare. She has four kids. I remember her talking about how our music was helping her, giving her strength through it. I actually went through a pretty big health scare around the same time as her, so we went through it together. The music carried us all through. It kind of did the same thing for all of us, it brings us together.

It’s definitely a shared bond through art, which is really cool and really special to be able to connect like that.

HH: I guess what I was trying to say originally but couldn’t explain was that the music… I don’t feel separate from our fans. I feel like we’re all… it’s one family. It’s hard to talk about it, because when we put something out, it feels like we’re all putting it out together. They’re at the shows, there is that energy exchange. Once the music’s released, it’s everyone’s to consume. It changes things so much.

CZ: Essentially that’s what GROUPLOVE is meant to be, way more than just the five of us. Everyone at the shows, everyone buying the records. Going through it together, experiencing this growth. Evolution together. That’s what GROUPLOVE is, that’s what it’s meant to be.

HH: We want it to be a safe space for people. We also want people to feel good, and leave the show and make other people feel good. Make everyone feel seen, and loved, and protected for exactly who they are. Everyone could end up being a Kardashian if we don’t watch out, generic. People are trying to constantly mold. What’s different about each of us is what’s awesome.

That’s what can bring people together too, celebrating everyone’s differences. I think that’s what GROUPLOVE is, everyone coming together and finding common ground in music.

CZ: And have a good time, you know? Leave the world for a while.

When it comes to your live show, what is your favourite song to play live as of right now?

HH: It does kind of depend on the show, there are so many factors! Christian’s favourite has been “Chances.”

CZ: Yeah! I don’t have to sing that much in that song, I just get to rock out, which is fine for me. Just to stand there and play guitar, it’s so fun. Just get to scream this word I believe in so much, it’s really cool for me. 

HH: I love “Chances” too because I’m just saying some wild shit. I love telling people I’m taking chances to hopefully give courage to other people. Taking chances is so scary, but it’s so fun. It can be a total disaster and you could ruin your night or your life, you could also change your life. That’s a really fun song live. I also really like “All.” There’s a really classic feeling onstage playing that. With the kick drum, we get everyone to clap. What we’re singing about. It’s pretty awesome. 

I love it. To wrap up, you all are playing some festivals this summer and then heading back on the road with P!NK in the fall. What are you most looking forward to about those experiences?

HH: I like festivals because you just don’t know who’s going to be there. Backstage, you never know if you’ll be smoking a joint with Post Malone. Onstage, a bunch of people who haven’t seen you before, you have an opportunity. That’s what I love about festivals, just wandering around and discovering.

CZ: You think you know something about a band, then you see them and you’re like ‘that was fucking amazing, I didn’t know they were like that.’ Bonnaroo, we haven’t played there in a while, we’re so excited to be coming back. Such fun shows there.

HH: Such a special festival.

CZ: The P!NK tour, we toured with her last summer so it’ll be fun to come back and see everyone we know. We’re more comfortable in that space. It’ll be cool, I think we’re more comfortable.

HH: I get so pumped for the P!NK shows. We’re only doing nine shows, so I’m going to do nine outfits. It’s really fun. There’s 75,000 people… once we got over the initial ‘woah,’ it’s actually so much less intimidating than playing smaller shows. Your brain can’t process that many people. If you let your eyes roll back a little bit, it’s like you’re in an empty arena. There’s just an energy, so I just like to wear some fun stuff I wouldn’t wear in the day to day. We didn’t change our set too much the first time we went out with P!NK, so we’re going to change it dramatically every night. See what happens.

I Want It All Right Now is out now.

Interview Brigid Young
Photography Brantley Gutierrez

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