Selling out London gigs, challenging folk and singing honest lyrics, we’re obsessing over girl trio Little May.
If you’re not familiar with Sydney based folk-pop girl band Little May it’s about time you put their music in your ears. Their quant, floaty tunes have an understated beauty to them and their raw lyrics are transforming our folk perception one song at a time. The band, which is made up of Liz Drummond, Hannah Field and Annie Hamilton were titled as one of the 11 Breakout Acts of CMJ and they sold out at their first ever London show.
“Home” is taken from their highly anticipated debut album, which was produced and recorded with The National’s Aaron Dessner in upstate New York. The track is an old favourite for the band, recorded three years previously with Dessner, it derived from a place where a sense of belonging was being constantly chased. The video has a harrowing feel to it. Simple yet real, it’s reminiscent of an old horror film with its black and white ambience and slow paced intro. We quizzed lead singer Hannah on how Little May came to be and Sydney life.
How did you three meet and how did Little May take shape?
Liz and I moved to the same school when we were 16 and became good mates. We shared the similar music taste and preferred staying in on the weekends learning covers. We wrote our first song together a year or so later when one of our best friends left for exchange. It was real bad. Think it was called ‘Balcony Blues’ (we’d sit and listen to music on Liz’s patio most weekends instead of going out). A few years later and with a few song under our belt we decided that we wanted to pursue music as a career. Annie had met Liz at a previous school and we knew she was a talented guitarist. We asked her to join us on said quest and she said yes! Little May had officially formed.
You guys are based in Sydney right? What was it like breaking into music over there?
Yes, we’re based in Sydney. There is a really supportive and close music community at home which is great. It has made being in the industry a really positive experience especially in the early days. Bands just want to see each other flourish and have opportunities to showcase their art. We initially struggled getting shows etc but thanks to mates who were also in the industry offering us support shows it really allowed us to improve.
How do you feel the Sydney music scene compares to that in the UK?
We haven’t spent too much time in the UK but when we have it is obvious that the music scene is such an massive entity. There is just always something going on. Australia is so spread out and far away in comparison so it makes touring difficult for acts, financially and just to actually find the time.
Who would you say has most influenced your sound as a band?
We all have very different influences. Collectively though a big one that always get the creative juices flowing is the Australian landscape. We always try to get away on writing trips every now and then and a favourite location of ours is Jindabyne. There is an intense stillness to the Snowy Mountains. It honestly takes your breath away… they have a beautiful darkness running through them that I find in turn inspires me deeply.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
At the moment I’m listening a few different albums on repeat. Gillian Welch’s Harrow and the Harvest, New Gods’ Beloved, The National’s High Violet, Dorsal Fins’ Mind Renovation, Robert Muinos’ You’re Not Alone EP, Neil Young’s Live at Massey Hall 1971 and Blake Mills’ Break Mirrors.
You have an amazing track record of associated acts such as Mumford & Sons, Alabama Shakes and The Flaming Lips. What was it like playing shows alongside them?
Playing beside acts such as the ones you have mentioned I think will always be surreal. It is impossible to feel like we deserve to be on lineups alongside musicians we have idolised for years.
What excites you most about playing Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK this summer?
Having the opportunity to play Reading and Leeds is insane. I’m most looking forward to seeing Wolf Alice play. Ellie is such a bad ass.
Agreed! Your debut album is coming out soon. How was the recording process?
The recording process was incredibly intense and fast. We had a back log of songs we were keen to record and see what life they would take on. Aaron Desser (The National) helped us completley transform a lot of tracks. It was a beautiful period of time for us.
What was it like working on the album with Aaron?
Working with Aaron was so special. He is such a legend in everyway. The patience and energy he shared with us lent itself perfectly to creating an album I think everyone feels proud out and really connected to. We are so blessed to have met him, let alone to have worked with him and to now call him a friend.
What does the future hold for Little May?
Hopefully the future holds inspiration. All we want is to continue to have the opportunity, ability and freedom to create music that is honest and reflective of who we are. That’s all we can ask for. In the forseeable future we have LOTS of touring on the cards.