Tuesday, 22 May 2012

We're Only Here For The Banter - The Little Kicks

This week we offer a big warm Scottish Fiction welcome to The Little Kicks who join us for some banter.  Not physically you understand, as it is a long road down from hometown Aberdeen, but in spirit the guys are here.  Coming back with their second album; 2009's debut 'Boxing Clever' saw them bag support slots with the likes of Frabbit, Errors and The Maccabees; self titled 'The Little Kicks' was released November 2011.  The band are touring like mad just now in support of that and stopped by (metaphorically) to answer some questions.

Hello, how are you?

We are all very well thanks.  Enjoying a rare day of Scottish sunshine and looking forward to playing a couple of shows this weekend.

It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music and your influences?

I guess our music is essentially upbeat indie disco pop and we like to think we very much have our own sound/style.  Alongside a couple of synths we use an old Korg MS10 synth now which adds a lot to the sound and this takes in a much different direction to when we first started.  Our influences are pretty varied to be honest but as a unit we do share some common tastes; we all love Scottish music like Orange Juice, Frightened Rabbit, Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks and also bands like Phoenix, LCD Soundsystem, Soulwax, Foals, Whitest Boy Alive, Bon Iver and Fleetwood Mac.  We listen to a lot of obscure stuff too but these bands are probably our most common collective influences and most likely what you would hear in our van en route to a show.  Oh and Hall & Oates are in all seriousness a LKs favourite.

What's your song writing process like?

Usually I come in with a song which I will have written and if it’s finished and can be done justice solo I would come in and play to the band.  However, this sometimes does not articulate the full idea you have so often I make pretty grand demos with lots of parts for the band to hear.  It not only helps me work out new parts/hone my part and learn the song; it also helps to show the band the direction I have in my head.  I’m lucky to be in a band with some great guys so they are very encouraging when it comes to new stuff and really do take the threads of any idea I have and turn it into something of a group effort.  They are also very honest if what I'm bringing in isn't very good but it's good to have a quality control as the results of getting the band involved are always for the better.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

For our live show we play the guts of our second album and we play a couple off our first which have kind of become firm favourites among those who come to our shows.  We pretty much consider ourselves an upbeat party band and with the exception of one track where we take it down a little, we usually play best in small sweaty late night places with lots of people dancing.  In a live setting you can expect the songs to be a bit faster and louder than on the record but we were nominated in the SAMA’s for best live act this year so we must be fairly alright by now!

If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

I think our second album is probably so far our greatest achievement.  There have been lots of nice moments at shows and so on, but the sentimentalist in me likes having something physical to show for our efforts and were really proud of that one.  We are happy with both our records but for the second album we went from almost splitting up to making that record and then getting it positively reviewed in the NME.  When you’re an unsigned band that feels pretty good.

What have you got planned for the rest of 2012?

In short - a lot.  We are away to release a Remix EP which we are really excited about as we can’t wait to let people hear it.  Among others it features a mix from Discopolis, who are great, and also JD Twitch of Optimo (Optimo are heroes of mine) who has done a beast of a mix for it.  We are away to play a couple of shows supporting We Were Promised Jetpacks and immediately after that we have a show at GoNorth.  Following that we are playing a heap of the small festivals this summer, playing Tuts in July and are also playing in Berlin.  We plan to do a UK Tour in early September which will precede a break from gigs for six months to write and record the third album.  I’m sure we will be tempted out of our cave occasionally but that will likely be our main focus for the rest of the year.

What other Scottish artists would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

As I mentioned we love a lot of Scottish bands and think its really healthy.  There is definitely something in the water (or the beer) up here and I think Scottish bands are known to produce great pop music.  On the opposite end of the spectrum you have a pretty healthy alternative scene here in Scotland with lots going on so it feels like we cover all fields up here.  I'm biased as some of them are our pals and you will likely have heard of them but I really like heaps of Scottish bands and would recommend CS Buchan, JJ Bull, Marionettes, Stanley, Stanley Odd, Three Blind Wolves, Over The Wall, Phantom Band, Indian Red Lopez and Pictich Trail to anyone who has ears.

Thanks for speaking with us, would you care to share a joke with us?

This is awful but someone put it on my wall on Facebook once.  I will apologise in advance but I only know really unsuitable offensive jokes.

Q: What is the difference between a guitar and a tuna fish?
A: You can tune a guitar but you can't tuna fish.

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