Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Interview and Live Review: Little Big League, Club K (7/14/13)

Guest interview, show review and photos by Patt Hickey (

Little Big League is a four piece made up of members of Post Post, Titus Andronicus, and Strand of Oaks from Philadelphia, PA. Forming at the end of 2011, they have since released a two track 7” and have a full length These Are Good People coming out on Tiny Engines in August. For the month of July they are traveling the east coast, making stops in all the big cities. I was able to meet up with them at the Baltimore, MD show at Club K to get the scoop on their new album.

After getting the group photo of them, Ian was eager to answer some of my questions and talk about what they’ve been up to.

Right off the bat, what is your gear set up?

Ian: I have a pretty simple set up: rack tom, big hard ride, snare, floor tom, bass, and high hats. Give or take some of the pieces but a good ride is a definite for our big lush choruses.

You’re on the fourth stop of your fifteen day tour, is there any place you’re excited to be playing more than the rest?

I: This is our second tour and some of these places we’ve played before. Last time we came to Baltimore, we played a small coffee shop and that was cool. I am excited to go to Vermont for the first time! We are hoping to do a full US tour and get the west coast in the fall.

If you could tour with any band that’s still active, who would it be? Consider that it is somebody that you enjoy their music and want to spend a lot of time hanging out with.

I: We’ve played shows with another Philly band, Hop Along, and they are the nicest people. I would love to be able to do a tour with them. They are really good and good people to be around, so I think it would be fun. I would really love if that happened.

Your first full length “These Are Good People” is coming out on Tiny Engines very soon and features nine tracks. Do you have a favorite?

I: "Sportswriting". It’s our first collaboration track that everybody helped write. It has a little bit of everything, from a nice chorus to interlocking guitars. It’s also our longest song and very fun to play.

Could you tell me about the meaning behind some of the tracks or tell me what the album is about?

I: Michelle is who you really want to talk to about that because she wrote all of the lyrics. But to me, the album's title These Are Good People starts to spell it out. It’s about people and their moral decisions, living your life and the different dimensions of relationships.  It also has a lot to do with good people doing bad things and bad people doing good things.  It’s all very personal to Michelle, so let her tell you more.

(A conversation with Michelle is at the end, but keep reading for now)

The album is coming out on four different colors of vinyl, with some colors more limited than others; do you collect / listen to records?

I: I don’t really “collect” them just to collect, but I do like to buy records. I like when I can find records of albums that I love. I haven’t been buying them lately because I’ve been busy with the band, but I do like records.

To follow up on that question, what’s your prized record, something that you own and are stoked to have?

I: Definitely my first press of Cult Rituals first LP on pink vinyl. And actually, when we were discussing what colors our album should be pressed on, I really wanted to go with pink, and we did!

Is there any interest or in-the-works of a music video?

I: Yes! We have a video coming out very soon for single, “My Very Own You.” It involves skateboarding, despite the fact that none of us can skate. It’s almost done, there are just a few more scenes that need to be finished, but it should be out soon.

Are there any up-and-coming bands you want to give a shout out to?

I: The guys in Sirs are good guys and deserve it. They are on topshelf records and doing cool things. Also, one of my friends is “Liam the Younger.” He doesn’t play many shows but makes great music. Since we recently joined Tiny Engines, I still haven’t met some of the other bands on the label. I know Dikembe and am very excited to be able to meet and play with the other bands too.

I noticed you have a lot of artists doing cool stuff for you guys, from posters to shirts. Anything you could say about that?

I: Our good friend Daniel Hughes did our most recent shirt and tour poster. We like to work with our friends and put their name out there as much as we can. We do some of the artwork too, I designed our skull shirt and took the photos for the records.

Last question. Which fictional character is most inspirational to you?

I: Bart Simpson! Without a doubt. He’s a trouble-maker and lives his life to the fullest, but in the end he always does the right thing because he has a heart of gold. Is it bad that this is the only question that I didn’t have to think about at all? If I had to pick a second choice, it would be Charlie Brown.

Later, I spoke with Michelle and let her talk about what the album means to her.

Michelle: The album was written in and about 2011 to 2012, and is sort of about coming of age. One of the biggest factors of the album is my move from a small town in Oregon to go to a small all women’s college in Philly. The move was a shock because I wasn’t accustomed to a big city, but the biggest change was me becoming more conscience of being a woman in the world. I used to work late shifts and when we would leave my coworkers would often tell me to “stay safe.” That on top of the stories I heard about bad things happening to women in the city made me very aware of my surroundings and scared. After coming from a place where I always thought I was safe to somewhere more dangerous, I changed a lot and was uncomfortable. On top of that, I had a relative die and was just getting out of a relationship with a very possessive guy. I wanted to try to understand why these guys, from the possessive ex to the rapists I hear about, do the things they do. I wanted to put my mind in their shoes and write from their perspective. I wanted to know why these good people can do such bad things and why bad things happen to good people.

The conversation took a slight turn and Michelle graciously explained her thoughts on why people still specify “girl fronted bands” and indirectly segregate them.

M: From a young age, women are conditioned to let other people solve their problems for them. We grow up with it in our heads that other people will do things for us, while boys are more likely taught to work through it. Being in the band with the boys has really made an impact on me. One time we were in this building and the elevator broke, even though none of us knew anything about fixing elevators, they were trying to fix it. At the time, I didn’t even considered trying to fix it, but I am learning to embrace my own problems. When we started recording, I was having a lot of trouble with tones, but in that instance there was no one to help me; I had to just suck it up and figure it out for myself. At first, being a women in a band felt like a lot of pressure because of past women that have paved the way, but if every guy felt the same way too, there would be no bands. So here I am.

To close out the conversation, I asked what her favorite track off the album is.

M: "Dark Matter." It’s very personal and every time I preform it, it’s a haunting experience.

After talking with them for a bit, it was their turn to play. They had a killer eight track set, playing songs from both releases. They played clean and loud, with Michelle’s voice - powerful and hard to deny. Halfway through the set she jokes to the small crowd, “They hardest part about being a girl in a band with all dudes is that we can’t take the same multivitamins.” The rest of the set continued with a positive mood and music that carried a worried mood through smiling bodies. Right before their closing track, Michelle’s gear acted up but she pulled at her cables and plugs, trying and fixing the issue; conditioning herself to bring whatever the future holds. They closed with the first track off the new album and left all of us ready to take the record home. It was a shame that were not more folks the in crowd, because it’s safe to say that these are good people.

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