Rabbit Radio had a chat with Little May while they're on their 'For the Company' Australian album tour, before they make their appearance on the Gold Coast for their Miami Marketta gig on Sunday the 29th of May featuring EAST and the RUIINS.
You guys started your tour at the start of the month on the 5th of May, how has it been going?
It’s been awesome, its been incredibly surprising the amount of people coming to our shows. We didn’t really expect the smaller shows to attract so many people s it’s been really lovely. People have been singing along and it’s been such a great vibe! So yeah it’s been really fun so far, a little bit tiring.
How does it feel to get up on stage and see the amount of people that have actually joined you, what feeling does it give you?
It’s really surreal, that’s the only way I can describe it. If you really focus on what’s happening it can be a kind of outer-body experience. The Metro was the scariest show we’ve ever played, for me, just because yeah the hometown shows are pretty anxiety causing. It was really cool having that really full; close to 1000 people were there, it was lovely.
At the metro you played with EAST and Australia, so you got to share that experience with them. What was that like?
I think having EAST come on tour with us for some of the big shows has been really good getting people there because she is a popular young Australian artist, and she’s incredibly talented and such a prolific kind of vocalist. Australia are a great band to play with, they’re so much fun, such high energy and really lovely down-to-earth guys. As well as Mel, who is EAST, she’s such a lovely young lady, only 18 years old. She’s just so mature, I don’t know thinking about me at 18 I’m like horrified by the difference between the two of us.
Did you guys know these artists before you went on the tour, or did you meet them as you went?
We have the choice of who we want to support us at the shows, we definitely heard EAST before her song ‘Old Age’ had been on triple j two years ago or one year ago. I knew of her and I knew she was kind of making waves in the Australian music industry. Australia had been suggested to us and Annie knew them, and was like yeah they’ve got an INXS vibe and yeah I listened to their stuff before they came on tour with us but I’d never seen them live or heard their stuff prior to the planning of the tour.
You’ve worked with Aaron Dessner (The National) for your latest album, what are the things that you’ve learnt from him during this?
I think the main thing that I learnt was not to be afraid of just being yourself in relation to the way you write music. I think we went over there and we were so nervous and we tried for such a long time, because we’re quite new as a band, we tried for so long to figure out our sound. But if you just let it come naturally and what ever feels good for your ear, whatever feels natural, that’s the way to do it. He kind of reassured us that that’s okay, and he’s a very subtle man with his musical choices. There’s so much beauty underneath a lot of the songs from the album that people might not notice unless you’re really listening or have really great headphones and you can kind of see these beautiful little subtleties. He’s just so tasteful, and I think yeah, that was a really important lesson.
Another lesson was you know, to restraint, to not put all your eggs in one basket so to say. For me, we tried to go all out, really rocky, dark vibe. He was like, you know, you can pull back a little bit you don’t have to try and put all these different genres in one song. I think that’s just insecurity, he just showed us that we can, as I said in the first place kind of just be yourself in relation to your music and let the little ideas, just, inject them slowly.
I know you guys love to dance, especially when you’re on stage, what is a signature move you love to whip out when the time is right?
Hahah, I don’t know if any of my dance moves have names, I just call them the ‘Daggy dad’ dance moves, I feel that’s just the way I like to dance. But I mean I am inspired byBruce Springsteen in Dancing in the Dark, have you seen that video clip? Well Courtney Cox is actually in it, she’s really really young and he gets her up on stage and they’re just doing this kind of side step thing and swinging their arms, and I do that in ‘Remind Me’ (laughs). So I don’t know, I’m a big Springsteen fan, he’s my inspiration.
So no disco moves or backflips just yet?
Haha no backflips just yet, I feel like if I tried a backbend or something I would end up in hospital.
You say that you all have very different styles and music tastes outside of Little May, what styles do you guys have individually, and how did this impact our sound?
Yeah good question, it’s been kind of obvious from the beginning that we have very different tastes in relation to music and also other things its really funny, like fashion and stuff like that. I guess with me, in the way that I write I'm quite self reflective, its not like I'm going out to write about things that are happening around me it’s more like internal. A lot of the songs are quite emotional and personal and lyrically that’s what comes out. I guess with Liz, she brings really strong melodies, she’s really intelligent in the way that she puts a chord progression together. She likes to mix it up and change it a little bit, so we work really well together. She’s a really good lyricist as well. Then Annie, she just reminds me of Aaron [Dessner] in a way, she brings these really beautiful little guitar riffs that are layered over the top of all our music, and when we write it brings this really beautiful… it just reminds me of a fairyland, cause she's kind of like a real life fairy to me. We all have a completely different music taste and that comes across in the way that we write. It’s really good because it mixes it up and keeps things interesting and you know, I think when you have different opinions and things it can make a song that little bit more special. It’s three different minds working together with different tastes, so it’s like ‘that’s really interesting I wouldn’t have picked her to do that’ or you know, ‘I wouldn’t have thought of that’. It’s really nice to be able to experience that and kind of get to a point now where we’re all really happy to work together, where as in the beginning it was quite scary because, you know, people are opinionated and I know definitely for me it was hard to let go of certain ideas.
How was the experience of working with City and Colour during his tour?
We went and did the City and Colour tour in March and Dallas was such a nice guy and a very professional musician so it was a smooth run with their crew and their band. They were really welcoming and not shut-off to us which was really surprising sometimes because touring with a band, they’re tired and they’re jet-lagged and you can totally understand why they wouldn’t want to socialise with people all the time. It was really nice to have those moments with the band after shows and stuff like that.
It was my birthday during one of the Melbourne shows and Dallas bought me a cake and it was so nice. It was a cheesecake!
You’ve had an interesting merch idea to create funky socks, who came up with that?
Hahah I think it was our manager Mon and Annie, so Annie’s kind of like the creative engine behind Little May in relation to merch and our design and album artwork and things like that. They’re a pretty good seller it’s pretty funny, I’m not a massive fan of patterned socks and stuff like that, but I’m really happy that everyone else appreciates them (laughs).
You guys only started as a small cover band in 2012, what were your favourite things to cover and did this influence the kind of music that you eventually started creating?
We were playing cover gigs kind of just to make a little bit of money because Liz and I were writing and Annie had only just joined the band and we’d written… like we never really saw ourselves as a cover band it was just a way to get by… but we got to a pint where we were kind of a Little May cover band kind of thing, playing our songs but not telling people who we were. In the early day we were playing a bit of Fleetwood Mac ‘Dreams’, Springsteen ‘Dancing in the Dark’, and (laughs) I think we played a Lumineers song at one point that ‘Hey, Ho’ song. It was good times, and you know you get a free pub meal and a glass of wine. It was great. I kind of miss it. I think we picked songs that we loved growing up and loved to play, but weren’t exactly inspired by them.
You’ve reached sold out shows in London, which is unreal, how did you get such a following over there?
Our label over there, Island, have done such an amazing job, we’ve got a really good team over there. They’ve done a really good job getting our music out there and getting us over there actually. But they, like before we were signed we went over there and played a show and it sold out, I think it’s just technology and you know, as much as its kind of sad now but people rely on Spotify and stuff for new music. My roommate was saying the other day, he was saying ‘Spotify send me a playlist every week’, because I don’t really know how it works, ‘and I found all of this great new music, and stuff I never would have thought of or known where to look for’. That’s great! It’s so good that he has found music that he really loves and probably wouldn’t have so I'm sure that probably played a part. People listening to random playlists and hearing our songs.
You’re finishing off your tour at Rabbit Radio’s home base Miami Marketta on the 29th of May, have you been here before?
No, is it cool? I love doing our Australian headline shows they’re really good. It’s really nice afterwards to get to know everyone and meet some people and have a drink so I'm really excited. It’s going to be great!