Jarvis Anderson and Sam Martin, the core of Iglu & Hartly, first came together in 2004 at the University of Colorado. But it wasn't until they and their band moved out to sunny Los Angeles two-and-a-half years ago that the dance-pop-rock crew came into their own and began to pump out what is now their premiere album, "And Then Boom."
"We moved to Los Angeles... to search for new, less judgmental ears to hear our music and to spread good vibes and absorb other good vibes," Anderson says.
The album was released via Mercury in the U.K. late last year to great critical and audience acclaim, which has helped put and keep the fivesome on the road overseas. Now, the group is hoping to earn the same success in the U.S., as they prepare to release the album here on May 5 via Universal Republic.
The single "In This City," which has advanced to No. 35 on Billboard's Hot Modern Rock chart in its third week on the tally, may be the kick-start Iglu & Hartly need. That track, amongst other wild songs like "Violent and Young" and "DayGlo" boast Anderson's bouncy rhymes against big synths, beats and sing-along choruses, akin to MGMT.
Below, Anderson discusses the album, the band's beginnings and being chronically topless as a performer.
How did you discover you could - and wanted to - rap in your songs?
This is a funny one. Well, I started producing and writing instrumental tracks that coincidentally bore more of a slow and groovy hip-hop feel back in my high school days. I then started making joke rap songs putting all my friends on the tracks. This progressed into me actually being OK with rapping.
Did that aspect of your vocals make you nervous at all?
It always has been interesting because of the race thing, but I don't see it like that anymore because everyone has a voicebox, so let's party with it.
Why is your band named Iglu & Hartly?
I used to help a mentally disabled kid in high school get to his classes and he called me igloo so I just used that but with the letter "u." Sam called himself Hartly Dark while in college for some odd reason and we came together as Iglu & Hartly. This was the beginning of a totally awesome adventure.
Does where you live influence the way you write songs?
Absolutely. It’s impossible not to be affected. We all live in Echo Park and recorded the record with my comrades in our living room.
How much more different do you sound now than you did when you first formed?
A lot different. I've taken the lead vocals where as before I would just write and have a singer, who has since left the band, sing them. We still hang out. He's a cool dude. Also my production and songwriting abilities have improved a lot by opening my ears to a lot of different music.
What is "In This City" about?
This song is meant to lift your spirits up and help you be the best at what you do. I wrote it when absolutely nothing was going for us - everything seemed to be holding us down as a band. Same small club shows, our other singer quit, promoters weren't paying us.
I wanted to write a song specifically to my band comrades -- Sam, Simon, Luis and Bucher -- to let them know we could still do this thing. The lyrics just rolled out of my mouth onto the paper and the song was realized in a very short time period. Good vibes then entered the crew.
Do you ever just bust out some sad singer-songwriter stuff?
Yeah, I just made this awesome break-up song.
How are audiences in the U.K. different from those in the U.S.?
The U.K. warmed up to us pretty quick while we played about 120 shows in 150 days. The U.S. is a wide open beautiful land of the free, so we are definitely looking forward to touring in our home country and saying hello to everybody.
What percentage of time do you perform shirtless in concert?