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Local Natives Go From Stage to Screen with “BIWFY” During Last Tour with Band Member Kelcey Ayer

Local Natives Go From Stage to Screen with “BIWFY” During Last Tour with Band Member Kelcey Ayer


Band members talk about tour, double album, short film, and Ayers eventual departure

Indie rock band Local Natives decided to take their performance from stage to screen with the debut of their short film, “BIWFY,” released alongside their new album “But I’ll Wait For You.”

The band hosted a special screening at the Landmark Greenwood Village in Denver on May 16 ahead of their show in Boulder. “BIWFY,” directed by Jonathan Chu, originally premiered on April 19, 2024, at Brain Dead Studios in Los Angeles. 

Taylor Rice (vocals, guitar) described the film as a visualization of the creative process of making a record with your bandmates, citing the 1971 Harry Nilsson BBC Special and the 3 Stooges as sources of inspiration. 

“Our record [“But I’ll Wait For You”] was coming up, and we were brainstorming what kind of art we could make. The idea of encapsulating the headspace of making a record, the joys and the ups, the psychedelic nature of it, being stuck in this liminal space, came up. We brainstormed on that concept, and it spun out into this 30-minute film,” Rice said.

Local Natives behind the scenes. Photo by Matthew Frazier.

Nik Ewig (bass) added that the goal was to “… really capture what it is like to just make an album with your boys. How fun and frustrating it is… and the different parts of the creative process.”

The album’s accompanying short film was not the only thing that made it unique.

The band wrote the album after going through the longest separation since they formed. The record was created during a time of “metamorphosis.” Each individual was experiencing many life changes with a plethora of emotions – the state of the band was fragile.

But they rose from the ashes and once they began making music together again, it poured out of them. So much so, LN felt their work should exist as two records, living as compliments to one another – “an exhale to an inhale.”

“Even though it’s all one body of work, it felt like two separate albums to us. Kind of like a book, where we have ‘time will wait for no one”’ as the first lyric in the first album and ‘but I’ll wait for you’ as the last lyric in the second one. It is just a bigger, more ambitious project than we have ever done,” said Ryan Hahn (guitar, back up vocals).

On April 29, following the April 19 release of “But I’ll Wait For You”, Local Natives announced on social media that their 20+ year brotherhood will undergo a big transition next year, with Kelcey Ayer (vocals, keyboard, guitar) leaving the crew following the tour to pursue independent projects.

Local Natives at the Boulder Theater. Photo by Jamie Miller.

Although Ayer is excited about embracing this new era in his creative career, deciding part from LN was difficult.

“It was a really hard decision. I don’t think a lot of bands could [separate] the way we are doing it and I think that speaks to our character. It feels good to be able to have navigated this as well as we have and I could not ask for a better group of guys to deal with such a crazy thing,” said Ayer.

The band said that Ayer’s separation from Local Natives has been a topic of discussion amongst them for a while and they are supportive of his decision to step away.

“We are family, so it is all love. Kelcey has been wanting to focus on new things and we are going to continue as Local Natives. It will be a new energy, new process, and a different one for us. But we still have this whole year together and a lot in the near term, and we will figure it out as it comes,” said Rice.

The short film seems like a celebration of their decades long familial bond and a tribute of sorts to the art and gratitude for the creative process that has kept them together all these years.

Appropriately, joyful nostalgia was evident between LN band members at the Denver screening, especially during one of their favorite portions of the film — an “outrageously goofy” unscripted scene of them playing music, unaware the cameras were rolling. The theater was a comedy hall as 100+ fans became privy to the chemistry of a brotherhood fueled by years of creativity and inside jokes. 

“We have inside jokes that are now going on for like 20 years. It’s crazy because for many jobs people just clock in and clock out. But ours is so wrapped up in our friendship, creativity, and it’s just the most bizarre thing to do for a living. I think the older we’ve gotten, the more grateful we are,” said Ryan Hahn (guitar, backing vocals).

The short film is available for streaming on Veeps and features band members Taylor Rice (vocals, guitar), Kelcey Ayer (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Ryan Hahn (guitar, backing vocals), Matthew Frazier (drums), and Nik Ewing (bass). Fans can view upcoming shows at localnatives.com


Jamie Miller
Jamie Miller graduated from the University of Georgia with bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Business Management. When she is not writing or working as a Business Consultant at Ernst & Young, she can be found exploring the Colorado mountains, checking out a local coffee shop or doing yoga. She aspires to produce diverse and valuable journalism for the world in the hopes that it inspires others to become lifelong learners who seek first to understand, then to be understood. Read her portfolio at https://jamiemillerorg.wordpress.com/

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