Friday, 22 November 2013

It's My Kind of Interview - Liz Drummond (Little May)

Little May: Hannah Field (L), Annie Hamilton (C), Liz Drummond (R)

The last time we checked in with Liz Drummond, Little May had just released the beautiful track 'Boardwalks', the first single from their upcoming self-titled EP. Only four months later, Liz, Annie and Hannah have taken the second single 'Hide' to the #2 spot of the Hype Machine charts, released another stunning video and announced a tour that will feature stops in Brisbane, Melbourne, Wollongong and Sydney. Not too shabby, am I right? Liz, being the awesome person that she is, took the time to answer Lou's questions about 'Hide', the upcoming tour and more. Enjoy! 

Interview by Lou Endicott

First of all congratulations on the new single 'Hide' that you have released. It’s another stand out track of 2013 and dovetails perfectly after the release of 'Boardwalks' early this year.

Liz: Wow - Thank you so much. It doesn’t feel all that long ago when I did my last interview with you guys when we released 'Boardwalks'.

We are always happy to have you back! 

Can you tell us a little about the reception that this new single has had? At last look it seemed to be a bit of an underground hit on Soundcloud and even hit the Hype Machine Charts in the top ten.

Liz: We have been very surprised at how ‘Hide’ has been received. We were beyond shocked when it made the Hype Machine charts. It amazes me how these things work... there was like a 72 hr period where it happened. I find it so weird that I’m waking up and reading emails and notifications from people in other countries.  All the while I am still living with my parents, wearing the ugliest pyjamas ever and unashamedly spooning my dog. The internet is just something else.

There was a story and theme behind your last single 'Boardwalks'  that looked at a coming into oneself after a heartbreak. Is there a similar theme behind 'Hide' or a story that spurred on the writing of this beautiful track?

Liz: Kind of. We wanted to really encapsulate the raw intensity of relationships, and to really hone in on this notion of betrayal. I had been sitting on these chords and a hook for a while, and had written the first verse based on my own experience.  On the way down to Melbourne we stopped at a motel in Mallacoota and fleshed out the song lyrically and in it’s structure. It was kind of like “how do we wrap up a whirlwind of emotional baggage into a 3 minute song?” Han wrote the second verse based on her own experience. We wanted to create something that was dark, delicate, vulnerable, snappy, catchy and powerful all at the same time. We tend to write with our hearts on our sleeves a bit. Personally, I feel like there's no better way to get things off my chest.

You are about to tour the east coast of Australia (I cant wait!!). Where are you most looking forward to performing? Is there a town or city that you are looking forward to exploring outside of your gigs?

Liz: I am really excited about going everywhere to be honest. I’ve never been to Brisbane, and last time we were in Melbourne I wished we could have stayed longer. I love Wollongong, we have played quite a few gigs down there and have friends there who are always good to see. Sydney will be awesome too, of course :)

Little May was launched after playing open mic nights. Do you still ever go to these (as performers or audience members)? How do you think these events help emerging musicians?

Liz: The pub we used to play open mic nights actually stopped the open mic nights, which is a huge shame. They were so much fun, and there was a little community of people who would be there every week. But yeah, it’s a shame. It meant a lot to a lot of people, and I know for us it was a huge part of us gaining the confidence to play live. You have to start somewhere, and open mic nights are one of the best ways to do this.

Do you have any advice for emerging artists that you could pass on?

Liz: Hmmm, I don’t really know.  I guess if I could talk to my 19 year old self I would say this - don’t doubt yourself and don’t hold anything back. Figure out what your sound is, back it 100% and work really hard at it and don’t be scared to try weird shit and push the boundaries.  Don’t rely on what everyone else thinks, even if you think they might know better. No one knows better than you. Trust your instincts, write honestly, sing and play with feeling, and remember that if your music sounds good, it sounds good. Don’t over complicate something for the sake of proving you know more. Some of the best songs in the world are one voice, three chords and a guitar. Do what’s right for the song. Sometimes people want to hear the obvious. Push yourself, be hard on yourself, but also reward yourself.  Don’t expect to get far by relying on natural talent. It’s the hard work that gets you there. This is something that we are really learning right now.

Your film clip to “Hide” contains snakes. This writer has a morbid fear of them! (*SHUDDER!!!!!!!) And apparently if sources are correct, you also gets the creeps from them. What was filming with snakes like? 

Liz: Oh, wow. Those sources are correct. I was SO uncomfortable. I don’t understand how Hannah and Annie did it. I really love animals, and I actually genuinely cared about the snakes (especially around the fire). But I really didn’t appreciate it when they were firmly wrapping themselves around my neck, or sliding up between my legs. One minute I’d be swearing at them, the next I’d be trying to save them, which was confusing for everyone involved. The worst bit about it was that when snakes are around fire they move quickly... it just wasn’t my cup of tea, really. It’s hard to mime and act as though you’re super chilled, when you’re literally dying of fear on the inside.

Can you spill the beans and tell us any other phobias you have? I’ll start. I am terrified of worms....

Liz: This is really weird, but when I was a bit younger I used to have a fear of Dencorub (muscle pain relieving cream). I used to do a lot of competitive athletics and at carnivals there would be a constant smell of Dencorub in the air. It just made me really anxious when I would smell it years later. Weird, I know. Great product though.

You have cited Canadian “Half Moon Run” as an influence on your writing. Having seen this band play twice in the last year (and meeting the lovely fellows themselves) I can see how you share a similar sound and approach to your music. Have you seen these guys live? Is there any band you would love to see live and perform with?

Liz: At the beginning of 2013 I went to watch a friend's band play at the Vanguard in Newtown, and they were supporting Half Moon Run. My friend Sam and I were literally blown away and became obsessed with them, particularly their percussion.  It has a real rawness to it - similar to that of Local Natives, who are one of my favourite bands. Sam (Thomlinson) actually ended up producing ‘Hide’, and most of our EP, which was around the time we had launched into this Half Moon Run obsession. I actually think we started recording ‘Hide’ a few days after we saw them.

I imagine that touring is a process of organising EVERYTHING. What instruments will you take on the road with you?

Liz: For our single tour in December we will have the whole band behind us.  In the earlier days it used to be a matter of me bringing my acoustic and stomp box, Annie would bring her banjo and acoustic, a bag of tangled leads, and that was it. Now Annie’s got her banjo, electric and amp, I am also probably taking an electric and amp on tour, as well as my acoustic. Then we have Cat on drums, and Mark on bass. There’s a lot more stuff to organise now...


Last song you listened to:
Liz: Cloud Control - Scar

Food to eat during rehearsals:
Liz: Pizza

Most organised member of Little May:
Liz: Annie

Most hilarious member:
Liz: Annie

The song you would all sing to on a road trip:
Liz: Ironic - Alanis Morrisette 

Massive thanks goes out to Liz Drummond for the chat and Little May for the music! The 'Hide' tour kicks off December 7 in Brisbane and you can get all the tour details and ticket info from the Little May Facebook page!

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