This event is all ages.
$45.00 – General Admission
$45.00 – Reserved Seating
*plus applicable service fees
For an additional $60.00, you can opt in to upgrade your experience to include access to the exclusive Telegraph Room before, during and after the show! Please note all Telegraph Room upgrades are subject to availability.
Join us at The Den one hour before doors for food & drinks!
All doors & show times subject to change.
Add this event to your calendar:
Face-to-face songwriting and musical interplay put to tape: the classic studio setting is juxtaposed on Local Natives’ fourth full-length, VIOLET STREET [Loma Vista Recordings] with modern production and visuals to form a timeless album. The band’s signature soaring 3-part harmonies are augmented by loops of tape, physically spliced and transformed by hand, the result of experimenting in the studio with producer Shawn Everett [Alabama Shakes, Kacey Musgraves, The War On Drugs] is a band renewed.
In essence, Local Natives [Taylor Rice (vocals, guitar), Kelcey Ayer (vocals, keys), Ryan Hahn (vocals, guitar), Matt Frazier (drums), and Nik Ewing (vocals, bass, keys)] return to the methods of their 2009 debut Gorilla Manor, but with the bonds of their union fortified and with the growth of wisdom accrued in the studio and on stage in front of millions of worldwide fans.
“The record is about us reconnecting to playing off of each other,” states Taylor. “We didn’t go into separate corners, produce our own songs, and bring them to the group. Back when we made Gorilla Manor, we lived together in one house and made a frantically creative environment. This time, we were in a massive warehouse with Shawn, jamming, and relying on each other often until three or four in the morning for several nights straight. It was fun, but also pushed us to outdo each other. We got back to our strengths. We’ve always been super collaborative and democratic, as we have three songwriters and singers, and all five of us have a lot of creative input. This was the most collaborative and open we’ve been though. We were raw and vulnerable. It’s the first time we didn’t do any pre-production, we went in and built the record out of nothing.”
“Not only was the band at its most collaborative, we’ve never collaborated alongside a producer so closely,” adds Kelcey. “Shawn became like an unofficial sixth member. It was amazing to go that deep with him.” Everett did what the best producers are supposed to, getting the best Art direction: Public-Library dynamics out of a group of musicians who have been together a long time. “Taylor, Ryan and I worked together on the songwriting and lyrics, but Nik and Matt also contributed so much to this record,” Kelcey says. “Nik has beautiful lines and textures all over the album, and Matt’s drumming has never been better.”
In many ways, all paths converged upon VIOLET STREET. Prior, the group progressed their sound over the course of three full-lengths, the aforementioned Gorilla Manor, Hummingbird , and, most recently, Sunlit Youth . The latter received praise from The FADER, Consequence of Sound, The Guardian, and more as “Dark Days” exceeded 45 million Spotify streams followed by “Coins” with 23 million Spotify streams. In between countless sold out shows and festival appearances – including a standout Coachella 2017 set – they’ve graced the stages of Austin City Limits, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Late Show With James Corden, and more. And they tested new sonic waters, recording a cover of Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam,” which Complex called “beautiful.”
After the tour cycle concluded in support of Sunlit Youth, the musicians decided to go back to square one in 2018. Rather than separately write, track, and contribute parts via email, they congregated in person at Shawn’s studio and warehouse, rekindling their chemistry and nodding to a tried-and-true tactic employed at the start of their career. “Writing and touring Sunlit Youth was pretty tumultuous for a lot of reasons,” admits Ryan. “We needed to come home and figure out how we relate to each other again. We talked about our relationships very candidly. Making new music together was a reset and a way to feel grounded in all the chaos around us.
That brings us to the album’s key question of “What keeps us grounded?” It comes to life in the swooning delivery, shimmering keys, and airy strumming of “Café Amarillo,” which speaks directly to the central theme of VIOLET STREET. “With all of the chaos in the world, where do you find your shelter?” asks Kelcey. “For me, it’s the shelter I share with my wife when we’re together. It’s our love.”
“Lyrically, the one thread between all ten tracks is shelter,” Taylor elaborates. “Of course, we have relationships with our significant others, but we also find shelter in community, friendships, and the band. They are at the heart of VIOLET STREET.”
Sonically, shelter assumes many different forms. Powered by a healthy helping of slide guitar courtesy of Ryan, “Someday Now” channels the energy of “a haunted Hawaiian film noir party.” Then, there’s “Shy,” which swings from “swampy jungle” drums into a danceable groove punctuated by a “wild Tusk-inspired horn section like a Marching band freaking out.” Threepart harmonies take flight on “Garden of Elysian,” while the finale “Tap Dancer” culminates on resounding piano waltzing towards a heavenly and hypnotic send- off punctuated by otherworldly voice transmissions. Lyrically, “It’s about tapping into those pure feelings and emotions, before the noise of the world distracts you,” says Ryan. “You’re getting back to a simpler place and having perspective and childlike joy.”
With Shawn as the “total genius mad scientist” at the helm, the musicians pushed themselves to refine their vision like never before. Widening the sonic palette, they played a series of avant garde and classic films in the background to draw inspiration, choosing ranging from Kurosawa samurai films, Drive, and Citizen Kane to Endless Summer and the work of Alejandro Jodorowsky. As a result, “it elevated the songwriting,” according to Kelcey. Ryan laughs, “We took some pages from the Brian Eno playbook”.
The music evokes an expansive scope introduced by the lush guitars, iridescent harmonies, and paranoiac pop vocals of the single “When Am I Gonna Lose You.”
“I got married last year, and ‘When Am I Gonna Lose You’ is the zig zagging, arduous journey for me to get there,” says Taylor. “I found myself in an amazing relationship, but I always felt like it was going to go away, fall apart, and crumble. A never-ending looping feeling in the back of my head that things can’t last, and the final leap it takes to get past that. It’s set in Big Sur on the coast, which was an important part of our story. I’m diving into murky emotions of anxiety and doubt in the middle of love and joy.”
Named after the Downtown address where Shawn operates his studio, the album encapsulates the spirit of the city in all of its widescreen splendor for the quintet. “Los Angeles is an important character in the music,” explains Kelcey. “VIOLET STREET embodied the space where we were able to make the songs and harness energy. Musically, we were both looking forward and experimenting, but leaning on time honored techniques as well. Similarly, the LA is growing and expanding culturally right now, but remains classic. Everything came to life in this place. All of our emotions and ideas were represented by VIOLET STREET.
On their long-awaited debut album Morning Ritual, Chartreuse have found the light in the darkness, sifting through the ruins of an anxious age in order to find the hope in it. “There’s a strange optimism in pulling all of your negative traits out, revising and reviewing them, and then putting them back, in order,” says Mike Wagstaff, of the band’s intricate, gorgeous song writing.
Chartreuse resist easy definition. The Black Country four-piece have been close friends since they were at college. In 2013, Mike and Harriet Wilson started playing folk music together (“We were not good at all,” laughs Harriet), and a year later, they added a rhythm section, with the addition of Mike’s brother Rory on drums and Perry Lovering on bass. Mike and Rory live together in Kidderminster in the West Midlands, while Harriet and Perry live just ten minutes away. They are very close friends and the songwriting is an extension of this intimacy. Their songs might find Harriet singing Mike’s lyrics, or vice versa. “It takes a lot of trust, because the songs are not short of emotion,” says Harriet.
Morning Ritual has been a long time coming, with Chartreuse honing their craft over the course of four well-received EPs and the standalone 2022 single Satellites, a collaboration with Orlando Weeks. “We got to the point where we were like, come on guys, we can write more than five songs,” says Harriet. Having experimented with partly producing their previous EPs, Mike stepped up as sole producer on 2021’s Is It Autumn Already?. But they had big decisions to make. Should they build on the tracks from the last EP, and turn it into a full-length album? Would they work with a producer, or would Mike do it himself? They had more than enough new material to start an album from scratch, and Mike was ready to produce it. The framework for Morning Ritual was starting to take shape. “It was a natural progression,” says Perry.
The album was recorded over the course of 2022, with occasional breaks for European tours with Palace and with Eden, and time to adjust to the changing nature of the Chartreuse studio set-up. They began recording in a shed in the garden at Mike and Rory’s house – previously occupied by their dad’s home office, though he realised he had been evicted when they got rid of his desk – but when they moved out, they had to rebuild the studio in another garden shed, filling the gap with a stint in a small spare bedroom. “Three tiny, makeshift studios,” as Mike puts it.
Those three tiny makeshift studios, however, gave them the space to hone their distinctive sound. “None of us have any formal engineering training, so we’ll just move everything around until it’s right, then we’re like, just leave it,” explains Rory. “It’s a lot of trial and error, with us.” That suck-it-and-see, DIY approach informs the band’s idiosyncratic nature. “If we had a professional in the room saying, that’s not technically how you do it, it would slow us down,” says Mike. “We like to throw the microphone up, in the moment, and if it sounds good, it sounds good.” While they have described themselves in the past as “ambient dark- pop”, their sound borrows from and touches on everything from folk to electronica to jazz and rock, and finds its own creeping majesty in what comes out. “This is the strongest stuff we’ve written to date, and we’ve found that by using new techniques and arrangements,” says Mike. “Lyrically, we went down rabbit holes that feel completely different to anything we’ve written before, and that puzzle just feels perfect.”
It may have taken a little while for those puzzle pieces to fall into place, but Morning Ritual has been well worth the wait. First single Switch It On, Switch It Off gives a taste of its worrisome, skittish beauty, seeking out the certainty of “solid information, stone cold knowledge”. Mike brought the music to the rest of the band in a near-complete state, though Perry recalls hitting the strings of a piano with hammers, in order to get the sound just right. The line “two magpies ripped the tree apart” inspired the artwork, by Helsinki-based painter Erik Solin, which touches on the band’s love of old English folklore and its associated imagery. “It’s a classic-sounding song structure,” says Mike, though its melodies are flipped and reversed from one verse to the next, which gives it that characteristically unsettling sensation, as if both familiar and strange. The quartet draw together a sound that roughly orbits that languid, often carefree musicality of Lambchop, the shivering grandeur of Nick Cave, and occasionally the chest thumping, life affirming unity of The National. Perhaps even akin to the whiskey-cool-croon of King Krule, or the darkly intimate tones of Ben Howard’s ‘I Forget Where We Were’. Close snapshots given space to breathe and room to manoeuvre.
Album opener All Seeing All The Time is a lean, mean mission statement and it fires the band straight out of the traps. When it was originally written, Harriet was singing her own lyrics – “matchstick eyes, don’t miss a thing” is about Rory’s obsession with constantly refreshing the news, and her worry about how much it was affecting him – but the song was elusive and didn’t feel right. Then Mike started to sing it. “Mike said, let me have a go, and that fixed it,” she explains. “It’s kind of nice when a song doesn’t work right off the bat, because it means you start throwing all the weird ideas at it, and without that, you wouldn’t have the song,” says Perry.
Morning Ritual gave its name to the album at the last minute, on Rory’s suggestion. It was one of the earliest songs the band wrote together, but it never felt as though it belonged on any of the EPs. It was as if it was saving itself for the album. It stands alone in a number of ways. It was recorded live, the only live song on the record, requiring 57 takes. “I said, one take wonder before we started,” jokes Perry. “Therefore it took 57.” There are no other love songs on the record – Mike calls it a “semi-love song” – and it is a litany of worries, a snapshot of shared experiences. “The line, ‘Do you ever feel so sick you can barely brush your teeth?’, I actually overheard my dad saying that to his friend when they’d had a few beers. I related to that,” says Mike. “Every time I play that song, I can see every line,” says Harriet. It encapsulates the themes of the record, with its plea for connection and its anxious confessionals.
If Morning Ritual is deceptively serene-sounding, then Never To Be Real shatters the peace with intent. It was written to be played live and finds Chartreuse at their noisiest. “There was a soft, chill version, and then we took it and turned it into this huge weed-whacker of a song,” says Mike. The quiet-loud dynamic breaks down into a near-silent refrain of “I don’t like the way you came in and changed things” before exploding into a defiant guitar riff. “Never To Be Real is so fun to play live,” says Harriet. “It really lets out all of my anger. Even if it goes wrong, it never really goes wrong.”
The album Morning Ritual shows off Chartreuse’s spectacular range to full effect. On the insistent Backstroke, Perry’s bass tangles with Mike’s lyrics and cinematic stabs to create a mysterious incantation. Shield From Bedlam tells the story of a small-town tragedy, while the sparse, stripped, piano-led Agitated sees Mike in full confessional mode: “I can’t get off my phone / I can’t seem to put it down / I’m a mess, do you know what I’m talking about?” On the few occasions the band has played it live, it is not unheard of for there to be tears in the crowd.
The beautiful Who Bites Down documents Harriet’s struggles with fear and self-doubt. “I got myself into a real state with the idea that I was not able to write this album, or I hadn’t done enough for it to be any good.” When she finally admitted it to the rest of the band, they pulled her out of the quagmire. “Instead of tiptoeing around it, Mike said, this is obviously what it’s about, so let’s just get into it and figure it out.” Writing Who Bites Down proved to be part of the remedy. “It was a real turning point for you,” says Rory.
Whippet explores the other side of that coin. More electronic than much of the record (“It scratched our itch”, says Mike), it was inspired by a conversation Harriet had had with a friend at the pub about life plans and ‘settling down’. “She was asking me what my plans were, and I said I didn’t know,” she explains. “A lot of our friends have serious careers, and we’re in a band. I felt bitter about having to have the conversation, so the line ‘left like a whippet’ is me wanting to leave and stop talking about it.” The imagery is near-violent in places, yet it affirms just how sure Harriet is that she and the band are where they should be is right now.
There is a clear sense of figuring it out as Morning Ritual reaches its end. On This Could Be Anything, a late addition to the record, Mike contemplates the pain of self reflection: “Like a small blade cutting through the ribs / Why the hell have I got to dig so deep?”. Are You Looking For Something is musically delicate yet visually robust, as Harriet imagines herself doing donuts in a car while a friend looks on and wonders if she has lost her mind. “For some reason, that was in my mind, just spinning around, and feeling alive.”
If Morning Ritual is shot through with anxieties and contemplation, and examining the hardest parts to look at, then closer Sorcerer’s Eyes is the release, as Chartreuse come out of it on the other side. “It’s comedic, but in a gut-wrenching way,” says Mike, talking about the song, though he could be talking about the album, or the band as a whole. “It’s a new day under a new sun / So reveal the heat of light on a cold face,” Mike and Harriet sing, in harmony. They have made it through. “I get to the end of the record, and I love that it leaves me wondering, what’s next for this band?” says Harriet. Hope, certainly, and a sense of possibility, with a defiant refusal to ever be boxed in.