London indie-electro outfit Little Grim are to release their ahead of their 19th August show supporting Cassiawith Scruff of the Neck. We caught up with the duo to have chat about what their music is all about.
Tell us about your aims when creating music, and where does that aim stem from?
Writing music has always been a natural creative outlet for us. When we write songs, we want to encapsulate a raw emotion or idea and blow it up into something that sounds like what we imagine the characters inside the song would hear. It’s a really good way for me personally to overcome any frustrations or anxieties by packaging them into something that explains the way I feel. Playing and writing together has just been something we have loved doing since school.
What was the catalyst for picking up instruments and wanting to start a band?
We came together after Jeremy (guitarist) and I met in our secondary school jazz band, and discovered a shared love for playing music. He wanted to start a rock band, but he was lumped with my me and my super soft voice which was only familiar with songs from the school choir. We played Mr. Brightside and Baba O’Riley most lunch times in the run up to a big battle of the bands competition, where we also debuted a 7-minute original rock ballad comprising of a guitar solo, bass solo, and drum solo…
I think we’ve come a long way since then, but I remember that first feeling of the drums beating behind the song that you spent hours writing. It’s electrifying and addictive. All we want is to feel that again and again.
Were you very influential to music when growing up or did you establish your own musical preferences?
When I was younger my music preference was heavily influenced by what I heard on the radio and whatever my older brothers were listening to. Usually a lot of Blur, Red Hot Chili Peppers and (strangely) Kylie Minogue. It wasn’t really until I was 14 when I started to actively look for new music and realised that some of my friends at school were doing the same. What’s great about the band is that we all like very different music which has kept things fresh and unpredictable.
Tell us about what it was like when you first started writing?
It was really hard to trust the raw ideas we were playing with in the early days. When you start building a song from a simple riff or a couple of seconds of a melody, it’s really easy to doubt yourself. We’d spend hours sat over a table trying to hash out ideas to little or no avail. But what we’ve come to learn is that it’s a very personal and organic process which you can’t rush. I now know when a song is ready to be passed over to the band. It’s when I feel it has a stable foundation which they can build upon.
Sometimes you can write a song in an hour, but sometimes it takes can take weeks, but you just have to keep ripping it up and trust that you will find the place where it needs to go.
What’s the music scene like in London at the moment? Any band recommendations?
We spend all our time watching bands around London and seen some incredible talent in the smaller clubs. Three names straight off the bat would be Bad Sounds, Calva Louise and Tiana Major9. We’re originally from a town called Epsom which has no live music scene, so we prefer to spend our time in London where it is buzzing in places like Camden, Dalston and Shoreditch.
What upcoming shows do you have where people can see you next?
19th August we have one of our most exciting shows to date supporting Cassia at Thousand Island (above the Garage). We’ve seen and heard a lot of great things about the band and have made sure that we get the room well and truly heated up.
We also have our own headline shows at the Lock Tavern on the 6th September and The Old Blue Last on the 4th October.
What and who influences you musically?
I love reading. Splicing ideas from my own experiences with characters from books helps give the songs a bit of a twist. The rest is rhythm driven music which gets people dancing.
We each listen to an array of different music with Chris (bass) and Roger (drums) heavily influenced by the fluid rhythm sections of artists like Bill Laurance and Vulfpeck. Whilst Jeremy and I love music that is much more melody driven like Father John Misty and Villagers.
Describe your song-writing process?
Songs usually start from a simple melody recorded on my phone or laptop. I find writing melodies is much easier when I have a pulse or some kind atmospheric sound to bounce it off. Once I’ve got a feel for what the song should be about and either the first verse or chorus, I’ll take it to the band who will blow it up, stretching it in all different directions to give it a fresh sound. I only ever know one side of the song until the band have heard it in the rehearsal room. They always find a way to add something brand new and quirky to it.
What was it like recording your new single ‘Infectious’?
‘Infectious’ has been our most challenging songs to record because it is so stripped back and minimalistic – a bit of a blank canvas at the start. But working with our producer, Brett Cox, he really took the recording to a new level. After we’d recorded the foundation of the song together, we then spent the rest of the session looking around the studio for quirky sounds we could build the atmosphere of the song. If you listen closely, you’ll be able to hear the drip drops of a leaky boiler and the band speaking to each other between takes. It’s this special element which has given the song its personality. It’s also the first time we’ve incorporated trumpets and a synthesized banjo!
Although you are in a band, do you still have to work day jobs in-between live shows?
We do all still work day jobs currently, but we’ve got used to late nights and early mornings to keep fuelling this passion. We’ve seen every side of each other which has really cemented our relationship.
How would you like people to respond to your music? Do you wish to connect emotionally with the audience or is it just about having a party?
As long it gets a reaction, we’re happy. We want to know the music is being heard and if it makes them cry, then that’s great – just like if it makes them dance. Admittedly, I’d probably rather play to a room full of people dancing than a room full of people crying! But I think that the new material has the potential to do both.
Do you ever see your sound changing from the type of alternative rock you write?
The best part of writing the music we write is that we always endeavor to keep it fresh and adapt to new sounds and influences. It wouldn’t be exciting to me if I thought our sound would be the same in 2 years’ time.