30 November 2011

Scots Way-Hay #78 - The Little Kicks

I had fully intended to make last weeks Scots Way-Hay post my last of the year, that was until The Little Kicks new album popped through my letter box at the tail end of last week. Having spent the weekend with their album on repeat I decided that I didn't want to wait until the new year to feature them, so I cheekily asked them if they might be up for answering a few questions for me, thankfully they said yes. So to sign us off on a high for 2011 we have the last Scots Way-Hay interview of the year from Aberdeen's finest, The Little Kicks...

Would you care to introduce yourself to the Peenko readers?

My name is Steven Milne and I am part of the band The Little Kicks. I sing and play guitar and keyboards.

It’s that question that all bands seem to hate answering, but how would you describe the music you make?

We are predominantly described as an "indie rock pop" band but as much as thats true we also like to get people dancing so we often throw the word "disco" in there whenever possible. NME described us as having "a nice line in brittle funk" as well as having "pocket epics to be proud of" - I can live with that.

How did the band come together then?

We came together some time ago as a group of guys who had vaguely similar tastes in music and liked hanging out together in the same places and groups of people. Somehow were still a pretty tight gang and even on a recent 12 day tour together nobody killed each other - which is maybe a rarity in band circles.

So where does the band name come from then?

We needed to come up with a name as we had songs ready to record and maybe even had a gig booked. We had literally no ideas between us and I can barely even name songs despite writing them so I had nothing in mind. Our very first drummer (way way back) was a big fan of Seinfeld so he found a font he liked and pasted all the episode names into a word document. The Little Kicks stood out as it looked good written down and the rest of the band liked it. It was the only episode of Seinfeld I had seen at the time so I (initially reluctantly) agreed but then it stuck and I grew to like it. In recent times I have been grimacing when bands like Rizzle Kicks and Little Mix are announced on Radio 1.

Is there a certain process that goes into the way you write songs?

I guess firstly I write and bring it to the band to work on. Sometimes songs and lyrics come quickly out of nowhere and sometimes I have to really work on them for up to 3 months or more. I try not to force it as it then comes out wrong. I write mainly at home or in the practice room on my own ill maybe make a demo for the others. The demos used to be quite detailed but I have found its more fun now for us to work it out together so ill maybe write notes down but not direct in a particular way. The new album has been a big step for us as it is a lot more collectively written than anything previously. Sometimes that means a bit of creative tension but usually more than often that makes us work harder and we turn it into a positive thing. Im lucky that I have such a good group of guys to bring things to as I feel they always make my ideas better or turn in a more interesting way.

What artists would you say have had the biggest influence on the band?

We all collectively like very different bands but there is the list of things which we all collectively like include Fleetwood Mac, Talking Heads, Foals, LCD Soundsystem, The National, The Strokes, Frightened Rabbit, Radiohead, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Phoenix and more recently Bon Iver and Bombay Bicycle Club were added to the tour bus playlist. When we were making the album or if were in the tour van thats who would be on the stereo.

What would you like someone who’s listening to your music for the first time to take away from your music?

Thats a tough question but a good question. I have always found that music goes hand in hand with a feeling of emotion so one thing I've never understood is when people say "they like everything" or that they just treat music as a background thing. If music is on I find myself listening in to it and bending my ear to it to the point that im being rude to present company so with the new album I guess it would be nice if someone heard it and it made them take a moment to listen properly. I think people are really used to the I-pod attention span now where after a couple of minutes they switch off and losing yourself in an album is a rarity but that is ultimately how I would love people to listen to our new album. Hopefully people will grab a set of headphones and switch off their worries for 35/40 minutes and just enjoy it and get something of an upbeat feeling from it.

Do you feel that where you come from has had much of an impact on the music that you create?

I think we would write the same music and write in the same way no matter where we were based but on the other hand deep down it probably does influence other aspects. Being based in Aberdeen we probably feel very slightly out of the inner music loop in Scotland and certainly a long way from the hub of London's industry. But all in all we do pretty well up here (otherwise I wouldn't be speaking to yourself!) and we still recently managed to get in the NME and play Death Disco in London so I'm not complaining. Logistically it can be a pain and shapes what gigs are more do-able than others but were more than happy to do the drive back and forth as its our choice to live here. You speak to bands from Canada who do 12 hour journeys as standard so when you hear that you count yourself lucky.

What has been your most memorable gig to date, (be it good or bad)?

We have played better gigs and played better as a band but most memorable gig to date is probably T in the Park T Break tent. It was during our first real year together and we were still finding our feet as a band (we don't even play any of the same songs) but the buzz playing to a full tent is something you cant really forget. We were on onthe Sunday night and up against Kasabian, Interpol and Kings of Leon but flyered the hell out of the festival over the weekend and when it came to our slot we had filled the tent. That certainly gave us a taste for it and a big encouragement to carry on.

Aside from world domination, what are your plans for the rest of the year and beyond?

In the near future we will be picking and filming a single from the new album for release asap. In December we are doing some dates as tour support to Broken Records which we are really looking forward to. Following those we will be playing the AECC in Aberdeen at Hogmanay with The View, White Lies and Twin Atlantic which will be a big show to end the year! In the new year we will be releasing a remix EP and touring in the spring across the UK and hopefully keeping ourselves on the radar enough to get booked for the summer festivals. We've also set January and February aside to work on some new songs but the main aim is to spread the word of the new album as we are really proud of it and its great to finally let people hear it!

The Litttle Kicks - Call Of Youth

The Little Kicks new self-titled album is available on CD Format from One Up Records, HMV (Aberdeen), plus it's also available to buy on CD along with other stuff directly from the bands Big Cartel page. It's also available to download from Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon and all other major online retailers.


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