|Origin||Lafayette, Louisiana, USA|
|Genres||Indie pop, worldbeat|
|Past members||William Henderson|
Givers (stylized as GIVERS) are an indie pop group from Lafayette, Louisiana. The band is made up of vocalist and percussionist Tiffany Lamson, vocalist and guitarist Taylor Guarisco, drummer and vocalist Kirby Campbell, bassist and guitarist Josh LeBlanc, and flautist, saxophonist, and keyboardist Nick Stephan. The band's origins date to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which displaced Lamson and Guarisco from their New Orleans apartment and school, leading them to return to Lafayette with little to do. The duo began playing music together, and they recruited the other members shortly before a last-minute performance at a local pub in 2008. The band came together as the result of the unplanned, improvised jam.
The members of Givers have previously performed in zydeco, jazz and Cajun groups. Following a touring stint with the Dirty Projectors and their debut 2009 EP, the band recorded their debut album and signed to Glassnote Records. The band's debut studio album, In Light, was released in June 2011 to favorable critical reviews.
Early years and formation (2005-09)
Givers was formed in 2008 in Lafayette, Louisiana by Tiffany Lamson, Taylor Guarisco, Kirby Campbell, Josh LeBlanc, William Henderson, and Nick Stephan. The band knew one another from high school in Lafayette, where "there's two or three clubs and everybody plays there and supports each other." Guarisco had toured with a zydeco band, while the other future members dabbled in Cajun and jazz music. Lamson grew up with gospel music as her parents were pastors, and she sang in the church band; she instead focused on feeling the music emotionally while the other members studied music. The band's earliest origins date to when Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. Lamson had just started her freshman year at the University of New Orleans, where much of the band first met. Guarisco and Lamson were rooming together when the storm hit, leaving them with roughly 15 feet of water in their apartment. With school on hold and nowhere to live, the duo returned home with little to do, and began making music together and performing at open mic nights. While Lafayette was "suitably anonymous" before the disaster, nearly 30,000 people moved to the city following the tragedy, resulting an "explosion in culture."
Givers came together in 2008, when Lamson and Guarisco recruited Kirby Campbell, Will Henderson and Josh LeBlanc for a two-hour slot at a Lafeyette pub. Lamson and Guarisco had never sung prior to joining the band, and Josh LeBlanc was a jazz trumpeter before learning the bass. The unnamed band hopped on the last-minute slot after another local band dropped off the bill, and improvised the entire set. They were phoned by the pub and invited back, and they continued to perform improvised sets. "I mean, we weren't a band, we were just making shit up," Guarisco later said. "That was how songs were created, that total free-form state where we just played and recorded and then excerpted and rearranged." The band scoured their iTunes libraries looking for interesting song titles they could narrow down for a band name; Guarisco picked a Lucky Dragons song called "Givers." The band recorded their debut EP in Campbell's bedroom, and released it online for free in 2009. After the newly christened Givers performed at Baton Rouge's stalwart music hall Spanish Moon, booking agent Aaron Scruggs gave the band what would become one the "major accidents that became very fruitful occurrences," according to Guarisco. For their Baton Rouge show, Dirty Projectors had a rare opening slot, and Scruggs gave it to Givers, who had been performing only part-time since their 2008 formation. Dirty Projectors were Guarisco's favorite band and a key inspiration in creating Givers. To prepare for the performance, the band rehearsed eight hours a day for a week. Frontman Dave Longstreth subsequently invited the band along as support for an East Coast tour.
In Light (2010-present)
The band recorded their debut album in January 2010 at the "magical, swampy [and] historical" Dockside Studios in Maruice, Louisiana, which had previously hosted acts such as B.B. King, Derek Trucks, Mavis Staples and Dr. John. The group cooped up in guest rooms along the banks of the Vermilion Bayou in Maurice, and spent 20 days recording the album. In contrast to their debut EP, which was recorded in Campbell's bedroom and sporadically recorded with a list of limitations, they viewed Dockside as a virtual utopia in contrast. As they were completely separated from city life — "You can't hear cars, there's no light pollution," said Guarisco — they never found themselves distracted, simply waking up to record until "[we] were dead tired" in the late night. Each song from the band's debut EP was re-recorded and revamped; the band particularly redeveloped "Meantime," in order to "recreate it in a better light."
Ra Ra Riot also discovered the band and booked the band for its 2010 tour. The band's performance at the 2010 Austin City Limits festival led to a record deal with Glassnote, who had executives in the audience. Label founder Daniel Glass had run a mile from his train to the venue to catch the performance, and was "mesmerized," later explaining "It was a visceral moment for me. I don't fall in love a lot. The only time this happened to me was when I walked into a brasserie in Paris and I met Phoenix." The band signed to Glassnote Records on February 1, 2011. In 2011, Henderson was replaced by Nick Stephan, and the group released their first full length album In Light on June 7. On June 13, they performed "Up Up Up", the first single off the album, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Their song "Up Up Up" is featured on EA Sports' FIFA 12 and in the US Television Series Glee, Season 3, Episode 15 - "Big Brother" (performed by Kevin McHale and Dianna Agron), broadcast on April 10, 2012, Windows 8 Release Preview advertisement and just recently, the newly announced Nokia Lumia 720.
Givers performed at the music festival Coachella in 2012 and Lollapalooza in 2012 as well as the New Orleans Jazz Fest. They also performed with New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band as part of their 50th Anniversary at Carnegie Hall in January of 2012.
Musical style and influences
The sound of Givers has been described as a combination of world music and indie rock. The music of Givers suggest modern exponents of Afro-pop, and their music has been called "island pop".
The group were heavily influenced by Dirty Projectors, as well as the Talking Heads. The group has been compared to Vampire Weekend, Neon Indian and Local Natives. "What negates a good comparison and a bad comparison is not really the artist they mention, it's in the way that their face looks when they say it," said Guarisco. "The comparisons we have gotten are because of the African influence, a lot of people will pair us up with Vampire Weekend or sometimes they'll say they the Dirty Projectors and I'll say, 'Totally.'"
- Current members
- Tiffany Lamson – vocals, ukelele, percussion (2008–present)
- Taylor Guarisco – vocals, guitar (2008–present)
- Kirby Campbell – drums, samples, percussion (2008–present)
- Josh LeBlanc – bass guitar (2008–present)
- Nick Stephan – keyboards/synthesizers, samples, organ, flutes (2011–present)
- Former members
- William Henderson – keyboards/synthesizers, samples, organ, flutes (2008–2010)
- Givers EP (2009)
- In Light (2011)
- Chris Martins (August 14, 2011). "Breaking Out: Givers". Spin. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Monger, James Christopher. Givers at AllMusic
- Hermione Hoby (July 2, 2011). "Givers: 'We simply imagined the best'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Paul Lester (June 7, 2011). "New band of the day – No 1,038: Givers". The Guardian. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Andy Pareti (March 21, 2010). "Cover Feature: Givers" 23. Soundcheck. pp. 22–27. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Alex Woodward (June 21, 2011). "GIVERS Go Big Time". Gambit. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Aurora Mitchell (October 26, 2011). "Breaking Out: Givers". This is Fake DIY. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- "Glassnote Signs GIVERS". Glassnote Music blog. February 1, 2011.
- "GIVERS announce debut album, 'In Light'". Glassnote Music blog. April 21, 2011.
- "Givers perform 'Up Up Up'". Late Night with Jimmy Fallon blog. June 14, 2011
- "Givers - In Light - Alternative Press". Alternative Press. June 7, 2011. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Ilana Kaplan (2011). "Givers Head Up, Up, Up". Interview. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Luke Buckley (January 12, 2013). "Louisiana-to-Australia tour brings Givers to Alabama Music Box". Press Register. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Matt Collar (June 7, 2011). "In Light - Givers". Allmusic. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
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