Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Eight questions with Little Red

(c) Charlie Landells
1. Who are Little Red and where did the name come from? (a short introduction)

We are an Alt-Folk trio from Berkshire and Oxfordshire, consisting of Hayley Bell (vocals), Ben Gosling (vocals, guitars, drums and bass) and Ian Mitchell (vocals and guitars). We play as a trio and as a six-piece with label mates Tom Hodges on Keys, Nathan Allsworth on Bass and Marc Challans (formerly of AMP) on drums. The name was inspired by the lyrical tendencies that Ian takes as the band’s principle songwriter. Often drawing upon children’s Fairy Tales and Urban Legends. Little Red sat well with us as it was hinting at our sinister underbelly whilst being ambiguous enough to seem a little ambiguous. We like to surprise people, so having a name that didn’t pigeon-hole us too much was important.

2. Looking online I can see that your influences include Tom McRae, Mark Lanegan, The Staves and Nick Cave. How does listening to them influence your own music, and what else inspires and shapes the music that you make?

Honestly, it’s a real melting pot of things. Yes, those artists have inspired Ian but Hayley’s and Ben’s favourites also play a part. What really drives the music is the lyrics. If there is something worth saying and done in a way that seems original, the song will be pushed to completion.

3. It must have been pretty exciting to sell out of physical copies of your debut album ‘Sticks and Stones’, is a follow-up in the pipeline? Perhaps another EP? What’s the recording process like for you guys?

Since starting in 2014, we have released one album and three EPs. We are working on the next album at the moment and it has some songs that we are REALLY excited about. One in particular, entitled “Siren Song” is sounding great. It’s part acapella, part Southern-gothic and part Low-fi Dub-Step. Ben is our producer and we primarily use his studio. Because of this, the process is relaxed and laid back. We know each other well and are always honest. We tend to not record until we are sure that what we are putting down works.

4. Who is your audience and how do you connect with your fans? Any crazy, fun, exciting stories are very welcome.

We have been amazed by the range of people who like our music. All ages seem to get what we do. The recent double release of “The Huntsman” and “Teeth, We Have", has really helped. Because of the versatility of our sound we are quite proud to say that our audience is quite simply people who like live music with harmony and driving melodies. We are so grateful to everyone who has bought our records, it’s still such a buzz to hear people singing along.

5. We see the music scene in Oxford as a really collaborative, productive community, and we love Tiger Mendoza’s remixes of your tracks on the ‘Teeth, We Have - The Remixes’ EP - how did this come about? How important do you think it is to work with artists, particularly local ones, on collaborations and remixes?

We approached Tiger Mendoza because we were blown away by what he had done for other bands. He’s a real talent and a real gent to boot. He showed a genuine affection for some of our quieter tunes such as “Petal” and “Bonnie and Clyde” (to our surprise) and the relationship blossomed from there. We think collaboration is such a great way to grow and enrich your craft. Tiger Mendoza, Fraud and Foci’s Left were so encouraging and inspiring by what they did with our music. That really provided the catalyst for us to develop our live sound and start working as six piece as well as a trio.

6. You’re playing at two of our shows upstairs at the O2 Academy in Oxford later in the year, first supporting homeplanetearth and then going back to headline a couple of months later. How will you prepare for those shows, particularly when making the transition from opening act to headliner?

Each show is getting the two different sides to what we do. The show with Homeplanetearth will feature our trio line up. Lots of harmony, space and subtlety. The headline show will be with our live band and whilst there will be the harmonies and quieter segments there will also be a more driving experience for everyone. A few new songs will also feature.

7. What does your dream gig look like? Any bands you’d love to play alongside?

It would be an honour to support some of the acts locally and nationally that we admire. We would love to support some acts like The StavesStornoway and First Aid Kit, whilst we are also big fans of local acts such as Cameron AG and Vienna Ditto.

8. What are your hopes and expectations for the rest of the year and looking towards 2017?

After a short break from Ian as his wife is expecting their first baby soon, we are keen to be getting back into the studio to record some new tunes. In the Autumn, we are very excited to be playing at the O2 Oxford twice, as you mentioned before, so we will be rehearsing hard for that. Getting the 6-piece band back together for the headlining gig in November will be sure to be a highlight to round off this awesome year! For 2017… hopefully releasing a second album and then organising some great gigs in order to promote it!

As mentioned above, Little Red headline the O2 Academy Oxford 2 for us on the 18th November, tickets for that show are available here. They also supported at the homeplanetearth O2 headline last Friday!

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