The Naked and Famous

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The Naked and Famous
The Naked and Famous performing in 2014
Background information
Origin Auckland, New Zealand
Genres Indie electronic, post-punk revival, pop[1]
Years active 2007 (2007)–present
Labels Somewhat Damaged, Fiction, Universal Republic
Associated acts Kids of 88
Members Alisa Xayalith
Thom Powers
Aaron Short
Jesse Wood
David Beadle
Past members Ben Knapp (2008–2009)
Jordan Clark (2008–2009)

The Naked and Famous are an indie electronic band from Auckland, New Zealand. They formed in 2007 when Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith were working on what became the EPs This Machine and No Light that they recorded with engineer Aaron Short, a fellow student at Auckland's MAINZ music college.[2] The band took their name from the English artist Tricky's song "Tricky Kid", which is ambivalent about the notion of celebrity.[3] In the song, Tricky quotes the line "everybody wants to be naked and famous", from The Presidents of the United States of America's song "Naked and Famous".

The EPs were subsequently released on local independent label Round Trip Mars and Powers and Xayalith began performing live with Ben Knapp and Jordan Clark on bass and drums respectively. Aaron Short became a performing member of the group. Knapp and Clark left the group and Jesse Wood (drums) and David Beadle (bass) joined the band as full-time members in 2009. The group have released two studio albums Passive Me, Aggressive You (2010) and In Rolling Waves (2013). Since 2012, the band has been based in Los Angeles, California, US.


Passive Me, Aggressive You (2009–2013)[edit]

After recording "All of This", the group then set about recording the single "Young Blood" and their debut album, recording mostly at home and at The Lab an Auckland studio. "Young Blood" debuted on the New Zealand chart at number one on 14 June 2010 – the first New Zealand artist in three years to do so.[4] The Naked and Famous released their debut studio album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, on 6 September 2010 on their own label,[5] Somewhat Damaged.[6] The album was produced by Thom Powers and Aaron Short and mixed by Billy Bush.

On 6 December 2010, the BBC announced that The Naked and Famous had been nominated for BBC's Sound of 2011 poll.[7]

In 2011, the band garnered six nominations at the New Zealand Music Awards for Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Group, Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Best Alternative Album and the People's Choice Award. They were also nominated for the NZ On Air Best Music Video and won the MAINZ Best Engineer Award and the MAINZ Best Producer Award.[8]

On 28 February 2013, the band announced One Temporary Escape, a concert film recorded at The Warfield in San Francisco in 2012. It was released for free download on 18 March 2013.[9]

In Rolling Waves (2013)[edit]

Main article: In Rolling Waves

The band settled in Los Angeles in mid-2012 after completing touring for Passive Me, Aggressive You. They had performed over 200 shows in 24 countries between 2010 and 2012. Sharing a home over the back of Laurel Canyon, they began work in earnest on writing and demoing their second album. Their intention was to record an album that could be played live, not relying on backing tracks - something the group had always eschewed.

Entering LA's Sunset Sound studio in March 2013 with engineer Billy Bush (who had mixed the previous album), they began the process of recording In Rolling Waves. The album sessions were completed in a month and then in June 2013, The Naked and Famous headed for London where Alan Moulder spent a month mixing the album at his Willesden studio, Assault and Battery.

The album was mastered at Sterling Sound in New York by Joe LaPorta, who had also mastered Passive Me, Aggressive You.

The album was produced by Thom Powers with Aaron Short. Justin Meldal-Johnsen co-produced two tracks with Thom Powers.

On 23 July 2013, the band revealed their new single "Hearts Like Ours" along with the release date for their second studio album In Rolling Waves, on 16 September 2013 in the UK.[10]

On 20 November 2014, the band announced that they are working on a third album.[11] The band began tracking for the album in September 2015.[12]

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]

  • Aaron Short – keys (2008–present)[5][13]
  • Alisa Xayalith – vocals, keyboards (2008–present)
  • Thom Powers – vocals, guitars (2008–present)[5][13]
  • David Beadle – bass (2009–present)[5]
  • Jesse Wood – drums (2009–present)[5]

Past members[edit]

  • Ben Knapp – bass (2008–2009)
  • Jordan Clark – drums (2008–2009)


In popular culture[edit]

"All of This" was featured in the 5th episode of the 1st series of The Almighty Johnsons and in the 4th episode of The Secret Circle.[14]

"Grow Old" was featured in Season 1, Episode 7 of "The Originals"

"Punching in a Dream" was featured in Season 2, Episode 5 of The Vampire Diaries; Season 1, Episode 7 of "World of Jenks;[15] and the eleventh season of Degrassi.[16] It also appears on the soundtrack for EA Sports' FIFA 12 video game.[17] "Punching in a Dream" has also been featured at the start of The Vampire Diaries season 3 episode 11. "Punching In A Dream" is the theme song for and is regularly played in the UK reality series Made in Chelsea. It was featured in the world wide influential YouTube short documentary Kony 2012.[18] In 2012, "Punching in a Dream" was featured on the musical comedy film Pitch Perfect as well as the 2012 game Forza Horizon.

"The Sun" was used in episode 18 of the 4th season of Gossip Girl,[19] in the intro of the first episode of One Tree Hill season 9, in the end of episode 19 of the 1st season of The Secret Circle, in the "Moment of Truth" episode of Grey's Anatomy [20] and at the end credits of episode 2 of the 6th season of True Blood; this episode has the same name as the song.

"Young Blood" was featured in a promo for the television series Property Brothers, as well as the pilot of Covert Affairs,[21] in the pilot and Season 3 Finale of The Almighty Johnsons,[22] in season 4 episode 13 of Chuck, in season 4 episode 14 of Gossip Girl,[23] and in the season 5 episode 6 Promo of the episode Alo from Skins. It was also featured in the eleventh season of Degrassi,[16] in the third episode of MTV's Awkward,[24] and in the pilot of The Secret Circle.[25] It was also featured in the first season of the HBO TV series The Leftovers, in the ninth episode "The Garveys at Their Best". The song is also featured in the film Prom and in its trailer, and in Red Bull's The Art of Flight, a snowboarding film released 7 September 2011.[26] The song has been also featured in a TV commercial for the Canon EOS 600D aired worldwide in Q3 2011.[27] This song was also on an audition of Brittney Kerr which screened 18 January 2012 on American Idol 2012, Season 11. The song is also used in the 2012 reboot of the SSX snowboarding series of video games, and was used prominently in multiple trailers leading up to the release of the game.[28] The song was also used in trailers for the 2012 horror film The Cabin in the Woods. It was also used in the pilot episode of Elementary premiered on CBS on 27 September 2012. "Young Blood" was featured in the series finale of the sitcom Whitney. A remix of "Young Blood" is also featured in the movie 21 and Over. In the Philippines, "Young Blood" was also used as the opening theme song of #SU, a student-oriented magazine TV talk show produced by students of Silliman University in Dumaguete City. It was also featured at the beginning of the prom scene in the 2013 horror movie, Carrie. The song appeared in a 2010 advert for Strongbow Apple Cider.[29] A remix of "Young Blood" was also featured in the movie and on the soundtrack Underworld:Awakening.[30] Years later in 2015 it was featured again in numerous television ads for Kohl's [40].

A remix of "No Way" is the second track on Santa Cruz electronic music producer Bassnectar's 2015 album Into the Sun. "No Way" is also featured in Red Bull's The Art of Flight,[26] it also appeared as the backing soundtrack for an advert on Channel 4, showcasing their new dramas.[31]

"Girls Like You" was featured in the 11th season of Degrassi[16] and in the third episode of The Secret Circle.[32] It also has an airing near the end of The First Time when Aubrey plays it from the CD mix she made for Dave's car as he is giving her a ride to school.

"Bells" was featured in the 12th episode of the 5th season of Gossip Girl[33] and in the 22nd episode of the 8th season of Grey's Anatomy.[34]

"Bright Lights" is featured in Need for Speed Rivals.

"Hearts Like Ours" is featured in the EA Trax for EA Sports' FIFA 14 video game.[35]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Organisation Nominated work Award Result
2010 APRA Silver Scroll "Young Blood" Won[36]
New Zealand Music Awards[37][38] Passive Me, Aggressive You Critics' Choice Prize Nominated
2011 Passive Me, Aggressive You MAINZ Best Producers Won
Passive Me, Aggressive You MAINZ Best Engineers Won
Passive Me, Aggressive You Album of the Year Won
Passive Me, Aggressive You Best Alternative Album Won
"Young Blood" Single of the Year Won
The Naked and Famous Best Group Won
The Naked and Famous Breakthrough Artist Won
The Naked and Famous People's Choice Award Nominated
Taite Music Prize Passive Me, Aggressive You Nominated
NME The Naked & Famous Phillip Hall Radar Award Won[39]
2014 New Zealand Music Awards In Rolling Waves Album Of The Year Nominated
Hearts Like Ours Single Of The Year Nominated
Hearts Like Ours Best Music Video Won
The Naked & Famous Best Group Won[40]



  1. ^ Collar, Matt. "The Naked and Famous – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Kitty Empire (10 April 2011). "The Naked and Famous; Big Audio Dynamite – review | Music | The Observer". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  4. ^ Lambourne, Tim (16 June 2010). "Naked and Famous album set for August release". 3 News. Archived from the original on 23 June 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "SOMEWHAT DAMAGED LIMITED". Open Corporates. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Graves, Shahlin (17 August 2010). "The Naked and Famous – 'Punching In A Dream' music video!". Coup de Main. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "Sound of 2011 - The Naked & Famous". BBC. Retrieved 2013-07-12. 
  8. ^ "THE VNZMA 2011 FINALISTS". FOUR. 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "'One Temporary Escape' Now Available". 18 March 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Naked And Famous Hottest Record". BBC. 2013-07-23. Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  11. ^ "The Naked And Famous - "What an honor to win Best Group at the NZVMA's last night. Sorry we couldn't be there New Zealand - very busy working on album #3"". Facebook. 2014-11-20. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b O'Brien, Jon. "Birdy [Australian Special Edition]". All Music. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "The Secret Circle Music -Season 1, Episode 4". The CW. September 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  15. ^ "World Of Jenks " Season 1 " Songs From the Show " Ep. 107". 
  16. ^ a b c 07/11/2013. "Degrassi | Degrassi Episodes & Pictures". TeenNick. Retrieved 2013-07-12. 
  17. ^ Trapara, Nemanja (12 September 2011). "FIFA 12 soundtrack featuring 39 artists from 15 countries". EA Sports Football. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  18. ^ Robert, David (19 April 2012). "The Naked and Famous Talk Music, Money & Kony 2012". Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  19. ^ "Gossip Girl Music – Season 4, Episode 18". The CW. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "Grey's Anatomy "Moment of Truth Music". TV Fanatic. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  21. ^ "Covert Affairs Episode Music Guide". USA Network. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  22. ^ "The Almighty Johnsons – Music". Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  23. ^ "Gossip Girl Music – Season 4, Episode 14". The CW. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  24. ^ "Awkward. " Songs From the Show " Ep. 103". MTV. 2 August 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  25. ^ "The Secret Circle Music - Season 1, Episode , also featured in the season one finale of Whitney". The CW. September 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  26. ^ a b "The Art of Flight Soundtrack". 16 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  27. ^ "Canon EOS 600D TV Commercial".  The song is also used in the 2012 reboot of the SSX snowboarding series of video games, and was used prominently in multiple trailers leading up to the release of the game.
  28. ^ "SSX Soundtrack To Feature Foster The People, Pretty Lights, The Naked And Famous And Many More". EA News. 7 February 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  29. ^ "Strongbow Season - summer blossom via Mumbrella". YouTube. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  30. ^ "".  External link in |website= (help);
  31. ^ "Drama on 4 | This Spring | Channel 4". Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  32. ^ "The Secret Circle Music -Season 1, Episode 3". The CW. September 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  33. ^ "Gossip Girl Music – Season 5, Episode 12". The CW. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  34. ^ "Grey's Anatomy". Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  35. ^ Richard Beech. "Fifa 14 soundtrack announced: Featuring Miles Kane, Bloc Party and Vampire Weekend". mirror. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  36. ^ Sundae, Hugh (8 September 2010). "The Naked and Famous win APRA Silver Scroll". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  37. ^ "Winner Found". New Zealand Music Awards. 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  38. ^ "Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards 2011 Winners" (Press release). New Zealand Music Awards. 4 November 2011. 
  39. ^ "NME Phillip Hall Radar Award 2011". Independent Music New Zealand. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  40. ^ "New Zealand Music Award Winners 2014". Retrieved 20 May 2015. 

External links[edit]