Link to our Facebook
Link to our Instagram

Album Focus: Little May

23 September 2015 | 7:09 pm | Claudia Nathan

Firstly, how did Little May begin? Can you tell us a bit about the name and the whole formation of your sound?

We all went to different schools at different times and met each other along the way. When we were out of school Liz (Drummond) and Hannah (Field) were playing a bit together, doing some stuff and playing some covers. I was keen to play in a band with someone so I got in touch with them and then the three of us started playing, which was back in 2012.

The sound you have now, is that the sound you all originally wanted to go with?

Yeah, I think we always envisioned having songs that were big and full with drums and textural layers, but it was originally just the three of us playing acoustically so it was really hard to achieve that. We then started recording our EP and putting all these extra layers on in the studio and realised we would need other people to join us live to help us flesh it out, so that’s when we got Kat and Mark on board for our drummer/keyboard player, and the sound really just progressed from there.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Was this band formed just for some fun or did you see big things ahead for yourselves?

At first it was really just fun, but then it started going well, and it was so enjoyable that we thought, ‘okay, let’s try and do something with this’. So we got a booking agent who started booking us some gigs that weren’t just open mic nights, which was cool. We started playing heaps of gigs and everything kind of went from there, put our first two songs out independently and recorded with friends and now we’re here.

What are some inspirations behind your sound for all three of you?

The three of us all had a few communal inspirations, one of them being The National. So it was pretty amazing that we ended up working with Aaron (Dessner). We went up to New York and recorded it all in Future Past Studios, an old church that was a 19th century church converted into a studio, and Aaron was just so great to us. Everything sounded amazing and he really brought out the best in us as individual musicians. Definitely a surreal, dream-come-true kind of moment finding out that we were going to work with our idol.

Your music feels a lot more raw and emotional and responsive than a lot of the music on rotation on triple j which is really nice, is it emotional for you guys? Does that really soft and powerful emotive aspect come through because of personal influence and experience or is it just the way you write?

I think we have always been drawn to writing sad, emotional songs (laughs). Well, not necessarily sad, but songs that are a bit darker. We all naturally just like that kind of thing, it’s just what comes out of us. We’ve never set out and said ‘let’s write a really depressing song’ but that’s just what we happen to gravitate towards. There’s definitely a bit of a rawness to it.

Your music feels like it might have really strong concepts behind it, it sort of feels like something out of a movie soundtrack, is it like that for you? Can you talk about some of the concepts behind this new album?

Well I did the graphic design, I’m into that so that definitely comes through in terms of visual aspects of music. For me it’s like a creative outlet so I guess it goes hand in hand. I would love our music to be in a movie.

How did the songwriting process go for you guys with this new album? Obviously this is your debut album, how did that process change when it came to concentrating on an entire array of songs rather that just singles and EPs?

A lot of the songs on this album are actually quite old ones, like Home, for example, we wrote probably over two years ago, and then we just kind of left it and forgot about it and came back to it just before we went into the studio. Whereas on the other end of the spectrum we’ve got other songs that we actually wrote in the studio, so they’re really brand new. There’s a big mix between new and old, and a massive variety too. Some of them we all wrote together, like Home where we sat down for a few hours and just wrote really collaboratively. Then there’s other songs like Oh My My that Liz wrote entirely on her own, so yeah there’s just so much variety.

So are you guys able to fully dedicate yourself to music these days? Is that something you want?

It’s very, very full-time for us at the moment. I’m still doing a bit of design stuff on the side, I work at FBI radio and do graphic design for them but that’s just one thing, really. Apart from that it’s a full on band, it’s kind of impossible to be doing anything else at the moment because we are touring so much. We’ll be touring in Australia for two weeks and then heading overseas for six weeks, so it’s really hard to even have a bar job. We all had casual jobs on the side and then they all got pissed off at us because we were away all the time. It’s what we want though, it’s the aim for us.

What’s been the coolest experience you’ve had on tour?

My favourite gig was our last show on our most recent tour, we’d been away from home for a long time and we were all pretty ready to go home and it was this German festival called Hurricane. We were one of the first bands playing in one of the side stages so we weren’t expecting many people. But there ended up being way more people than we expected and some of them were even singing some of the lyrics, which was really, really cool. We were in Germany and we’d never been there before, we were surprised they’d even heard of us.

Any majorly dedicated fans yet?

Not really… a girl in Mexico drew a picture of us on Instagram which was really cool (laughs).

Name your favourite song on the album...

The opening track Cicadas, I think. It’s meditative and mysterious.

Originally published in X-Press Magazine