Wednesday 6 October 2010

K&A with The Little Kicks

Having contributed a track to Kowalskiy EP #2 and being the L in my Scottish A-Z, Aberdeen's The Little Kicks are no strangers to this blog. That being said, how much do we really know about them??

With that in mind, I posed them a few questions. Here's what frontman Steven Milne had to say...

Kowalskiy: Who are The Little Kicks?
Steven: The Little Kicks are a four piece band from Scotland who are based in Aberdeen. We are four individuals who very much enjoy playing together despite somehow all liking different bands - maybe it helps to keep it interesting as somehow it comes together really well. We are Toby (lead guitar), Lewis (bass), Scott (drums) and myself Steven (vocals, guitar, keys). We may be adding people to that list very shortly but for now there's four of us.

Kowalskiy: How did the band get together, and what's the story behind your name?
Steven: I guess quite a while back, I was in bands (mostly awful ones) in my teens from 14 onwards in Aberdeen that basically fell apart despite my best efforts. None of them had ever been my own band as I'd always been a bit part but I had written a lot of songs and had found my confidence growing as a singer. From that I met Toby at a party who was into a lot of the same music and influences and from there we played acoustic for a bit and made an EP as the Little Kicks with a different rhythm section to what we have now. The EP did really well but following that the said rhythm section fell apart and (probably the best thing that happened to us) we recruited new friends (at the time) Lewis and Bobb to play bass and drums respectively. Very quickly we hit it off and collected a good following and found ourselves getting tighter and writing more and more. As a result we were being offered lots of good gigs and even festival slots so we recorded another two EPs along the way before we found ourselves (over the course of a summer) playing with the likes of Editors, The Kooks, Maccabees, Sunshine Underground and T in the Park. Following that summer we decided to take a break to write and disappeared for a while and the decision was we should make an album which we brought out last year in 2009. Shortly after the release of Boxing Clever, which we are all very proud of, our drummer Bobb got an offer to live in Japan and made a move abroad, so we again stopped for a while to re-group but decided to carry on. We are still pals. In November last year we began gigging again and writing with a new drummer (Scott) and also a new sense of purpose (you learn a lot when you put an album out) and that brings us up to date. We're now working on new songs and the plan is to work on a new album for next year. The guts of it is written but I need to show the band the songs and then we need to practice!

Kowalskiy: OK, one sentence. Describe the band's sound.
Steven: Upbeat, melodic, catchy, indie disco pop music.

Kowalskiy: You're about to hit the studio to work on your follow-up album to your cracking debut Boxing Clever. Can we expect something a little bit different? Any hints as to what (and when) we can expect?
Steven: We actually just came back from recording last weekend. So far we have done three tracks and they are coming out really well. I think our second album will surprise a lot of people judging by these early songs we have. We have very different influences compared to before and it's coming across in the music that we're prepared to be a bit more experimental than before. We were always hesitant to not add too much in the studio that can't be played live, but we've realised that is the point of doing an album! So I guess that's different for a start. The three tracks we have recorded are very different to each other but are still hooked by our style to be cohesive. One is called Do Something New and sounds like one of those catchy summer singles that get in your head for days, another is called Call of Youth and it was initially the weakest track in my mind but now it's recorded, it's really come together and is a possible single too so hopefully they all turn out like that! It will likely be aimed for a Spring/Summer release in 2011 - no point in rushing.

Kowalskiy: Will there be a tour to accompany the release?
Steven: There will be eventually but before we get to that point I have a solo album I want to promote for a while and we need to rehearse the new material and write as many songs as possible together so it will be a wee while before we tour fully. We have dates coming up with headline shows in Aberdeen booked to play some new songs and also some offers to do out of town shows so we'll see but from November 1st until likely end of December I'll be gigging the solo albums arse off so it'll be writing time for the LKs!

Kowalskiy: What would be your ideal gig?
Steven: I think we've been quite lucky to play with a lot of bands on their way up so that's a tough one. My favourite band live is LCD Soundsystem closely followed by The National so a triple bill with them would be a dream. Preferably in a tiny sweaty venue like The Lemon Tree or 13th Note if were talking really small. Or a packed tent at T in the Park - that would mean a lot to me and be very special.

Kowalskiy: What's been your highlight of being in the band so far?
Steven: Japan was cool but it nearly killed me! I think we overdid it shall we say at Hogmanay and gave Scotland a bad name! Highlight for me has to be probably either supporting Maximo Park in the Caird Hall to 2000 people - that was mental. OR when we played T in the Park, the T-Break tent was full. We worked so hard all weekend to spread the word and flyer the festival as we were up against Kasabian / Interpol and Kings of Leon! When it came to 8pm on the Sunday I couldn't look in before we went on in case it was dead and when we walked on we just got this massive roar - that is something I'll never forget. Weirdly, I know it isn't the be all and end all of gigging and we don't even play any of the same songs as we did then but we were young and excited and it was a big deal at the time!

Kowalskiy: Glasgow and Edinburgh seem to hog the limelight when it comes to new bands. Are there any local Aberdeen bands you'd recommend we sit up and take notice of?
Steven: We are quite pally with a lot of Aberdeen bands and I think there is a good, if small scene in Aberdeen. I'd recommend Indian Red Lopez, Right Hand Left, Stanley, Joseph Bull, Copy Haho and Debutant as acts that have come from Aberdeen and I think have great music/ songs.

Kowalskiy: What else can we expect from The Little Kicks in the future?
Steven: Hmm, don't want to guarantee anything but I think our second album will be really strong and I'm looking forward to working on that. I think we have it in us to make some really great music at the moment so that's the plan is to focus on that. Gig wise, we need to tour more and work harder at building a following up again out of Scotland (which we achieved for a while but lost after our writing break) and there is still a lot of life in the debut album to push also - so in short, we have plenty to get on with!

Kowalskiy: Any interesting/unusual/embarrassing facts about the band/bandmember you'd like to share before we go?
Steven: Hmm, I don't think there is anything that can be public - ha! We all have embarrassing traits that we like to mock each other frequently! Thankfully when your quite close you can go quite far without being punched. Scandalous items aside, its pretty boring - normally Lewis get his Warwick bass mocked for being a "Jazz" bass, Scott makes a horrific drum face when playing which we all like to mock, Toby is English so in a band of Scots that can be quite readily mentioned and its well known that among other things my in-between song banter is pretty shit so there's plenty to slag me for! But any real embarrassments I think would be best saved for over a pint as opposed to here.

Upcoming Gigs
23rd Oct - Snafu, Aberdeen
29th Dec - Cafe Drummonds, Aberdeen (DJ set)
27th Jan - Snafu, Aberdeen (supporting We Were Promised Jetpacks)
28th Jan - Hootenanny's, Inverness
29th Jan - Electric Circus, Edinburgh

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