The Like has grown up. After the release of their first studio album in 2005, original members Z Berg and Tennessee Thomas went through a couple of line-up changes and reemerged with Release Me. Joined by newcomers Annie Monroe and Laena Geronimo, The Like returned with 60’s inspired pop and a very mod fashion sense.
Fans and critics questioned their comeback. As they embark on a tour to promote their latest album, listeners old and new will clearly see what a few years of growing up can do. Glide had the opportunity to ask Z Berg a few questions and her answers covered fashion, dance parties and nailing their new, signature sound.
Your new album, Release Me, was just released on June 15th/ It is the band’s second studio album since 2005. How much has your music and point of view evolved since your first album and your previously released independent EPs?
It’s definitely different and, in my opinion, more grown up (one would hope!) I mostly wrote the last record when I was fifteen years old! Since then we’ve grown up a lot, added two new band members, and really realized who we are as a band, what we want to sound like, and what we want to say.
Your sound is recently being described as "1960’s throwback" and strays away from Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?. What inspired you and do you feel as if the new record is The Like?
I think it’s definitely influenced by our favorite music from the sixties, but more than anything I think that came from our recording approach. The lyrics on the record are extremely modern, and I think the songs are very much our own style and quite idiosyncratic, but we made a definite choice to record in a way that was "60’s" in style. We recorded the album live, to tape, with one mic on the drums, no tuners in the studio, with one-take vocals on many songs. It’s just a real, raw, and honest way of recording an album. We realized that was the thing we most responded to in Motown records and 60’s rock music. It sounds like a band in a room. And that is the essence of rock and roll to us. I think this record IS us very much, because we figured out our sound finally.
The video for "He’s Not a Boy" looked like it was a really fun shoot. The look is very mod and retro and is a change from your previous style of punk-pop. Would you like to be presented as fashion icons as well as musicians?
The shoot was extremely fun, so fun that most of the participants don’t even remember it (ha!). We just gathered our friends up, asked them to wear their finest gear, got them drunk, and had a dance party. We do love fashion, and it is important to us that everything looks as good as it sounds.
The band has gone on tours to support artists such as Phantom Planet and Kings of Leon, as well as perform at several festivals. There are upcoming show dates in the UK. Is the band excited to go back and what are you looking forward to most on this tour?
Very excited. We love the UK, we spent so much time there touring our last record that it really feels like a second home. We just love to travel and play music every night, and I’m excited to get to do that again.
You had a May residency at The Echo as well as an upcoming show at the Troubadour. Are your Los Angeles fans enjoying the new record?
We played our record release show at the Troubadour a couple days ago and the reaction was absolutely insane. It was so sold out I was outside five minutes before we went on trying to scalp tickets to get my friends in. It feels like LA is really our base now and all the shows we’ve played have been just insanely fun and warm.
The Like welcomed new members, Annie Monroe, and Laena Geronimo. It appears that the band is complete and more than ready for a strong comeback. What did these members offer that other potential band-mates didn’t offer?
They’re just extremely talented girls. True players, true musicians, and interesting people. This is a dream band for me and I’m just excited to see what we all do together!
And just for fun, I read that the band name was created due to the use of the word "like" while in conversation. It is a definite Valley reference. After all these years, does the word still find itself in your vocabulary?
It does, but I’ve made a pretty concerted effort to extricate it from my vocabulary. But it’s great that everyone else in America says it so damned much; free promotion for us!