After becoming a quick success with their 2010 debut, “Gorilla Manor,” indie-pop band Local Natives went in a decidedly different direction on their darker follow-up, 2013’s “Hummingbird,” which was written as one of the band members lost a parent.

The band’s latest album, “Sunlit Youth,” finds them in a much happier place, with upbeat sing-along anthems and an electro-pop sheen.

amNewYork spoke with singer/guitarist Ryan Hahn.


How has the band changed from “Hummingbird” to “Sunlit Youth”?

“Hummingbird” was this trying, emotional time for us. Writing that record was like wrenching it out of us. It felt like we had to work really, really hard. We were working through a lot of stuff. I don’t know what it was, maybe it was just having gone through that and touring as hard as we did, then getting a break, it felt like we were rejuvenated and renewed. There was this lightness, this kind of excitement.


Do you see a theme on the album?

There was this feeling ... that you can change your situation. Each day is a chance to change things and the world is yours to shape, which is seemingly at odds with a lot of stuff that’s going on right now because it does feel like a bleak time in a lot of ways.

This album has a lot more electronics and a lot less guitar. What made you want to go in that direction?

It’s funny. I feel like when you really look at the album, there are a lot of guitars. I think maybe we just used guitars in different ways. I think there was this feeling of rediscovering songwriting. ... It was about making ourselves uncomfortable and being excited by the results.


You recorded this album in a lot of different places, from Thailand to Nicaragua? Why?

It just fell in line with this feeling of trying to challenge ourselves to write differently and come up with new ideas, and putting ourselves in new situations and trying to see what happens when you’re in a different environment, [like] the jungle of Thailand or Nicaragua. There was this feeling of “Why not?” We could spend money on a studio in LA or pack up our stuff and set up in a living room in Joshua Tree and get out of our normal day to day and see what comes out of it.