New Noise: Little Cub

Talking to the South London trio.

Made up of Dominic Gore, Duncan Tootill and Adrian Acolatse, Little Cub are about to become your new favourite band. Currently based in Peckham, the electronic trio have been making a huge buzz with previous singles “My Nature”, “Loveless”, “Hypnotise” and “Too Much Love”, and this week they revealed their newest incredible offering, “Death of a Football Manager”.

Full of synth heavy bangers, lead singer Dom describes their tracks as “sad music that makes you want to dance” and we are loving it. Now gearing up to release their debut album, Still Life, at the end of this week, the gang’s indie-electro-pop soundscape combined with their witty and intimate lyricism and beautiful vocals is making them a force to be reckoned with.

Entirely expecting the boys to become massive after their debut album drops on 28th April, we had a talk with Dom to find out all about them, and to let all our friends know that we knew them before they became ridiculously famous.

How did you all meet? Who broke the ice first?

Me, both times. I saw Ady across a crowded Fabric and decided that he was gonna be my friend so I think I just forced myself on him a little. Then Duncan and I were the youngest people at a jazz jam session by about 40 years. I think we were both pretty lost at the time so as soon as we started talking it was like “oh, great, this is what having a real friend is like”.

Do you have similar music tastes?

Ha, yes and no. There are definitely artists that we all love in varying degrees but generally speaking I think we probably listen to quite different music separately. Duncan is an incredible producer and DJ so he will be listening to something interesting. Ady’ll be listening to something banging and I’ll be listening to Hank Williams or something whiskey-driven.

What do each of you bring to the band? Is one of you the mayonnaise of the Little Cub sandwich who holds it all together?

Ady, probably. I always think he is the Little Cub in Little Cub. Duncan and I are both pretty up and down mood-wise so without Ady we would have imploded years ago. We used to have another drummer, but I think we scared him off.

Who came up with the name Little Cub?

The music industry. We wanted something that felt playful in the context of the tradition of bands we love. I’m probably more on the blow hard/Emo side of the spectrum so the band would have been called Dark or Death or Suicide something if I’d have had my way, but we all agreed early on no matter how heavy the subject matter we wanted to approach it with humour. Sad music that makes you want to dance. It’s like New Order always said, Ian Curtis was a laugh, you know, before he killed himself.

“Well, the album is all based on specific events in our lives and the things that sort of soundtracked that. There’s stuff about politics, relationships, football, suicide, death, sex, drugs… oh and The X Factor on there.”

You’re about to release your debut album, Still Life. How are you feeling?

Excited mainly. I don’t think anyone is doing what we do right now (whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen) and we really believe in the songwriting tradition that we grew up loving so the opportunity to be part of that canon is incredibly special to us.

What were your main influences for the album?

Well, the album is all based on specific events in our lives and the things that sort of soundtracked that. There’s stuff about politics, relationships, football, suicide, death, sex, drugs… oh and The X Factor on there. Musically though, Pet Shop Boys were the first band that I listened to as a kid so they’re a definite. I remember we were fascinated by Dan Snaith’s (Caribou) approach to production and we definitely listened to Swim a lot. Franz Ferdinand lighted my fascination with charismatic frontmen. Leonard Cohen made me think the melody could serve the lyric rather than the other way round. The first line in “Still Ill” by The Smiths gave me the idea of how I could write a sort of protest song. Jarvis (Pulp) weirdly taught me how you could incorporate poetic metre into a song, Nick Cave made me want to do it. LCD, Hot Chip & New Order inspired us to put down our guitars and buy synthesisers. Robyn showed us how you can write a contemporary pop song without it having to be overtly mainstream. Mainly though it was our friends George FitzGerald, NZCA Lines and Boxed In who inspired us to learn how this stuff works and persevere.

Which songs are you most looking forward to performing live?

“Television”, maybe. For the album release show on the 9th May we’re attempting to play the record in its entirety for the first time so there are lots of tracks that no one’s heard yet and that’s pretty exciting. “Mulberry” is always a special one to play live as for what ever reason it always gets a huge response

In the video for opening track “Too Much Love”, you go to a karaoke bar. What’s your go-to karaoke song?

“Are You Ready For Love?” by Elton John. I’ve stolen that from my housemate but he won’t mind because our versions are very different. That’s actually filmed at a real karaoke night that we go to all the time in Peckham. They have snacks on the tables and it’s open till 4 on a weeknight so it’s always a good one. Ady is actually singing “Teenage Dirtbag” in that video (true story).

What else do you have lined up for this year?

Well, first up is the album release this Friday April 28th, then the album launch show on May 9th (at the Lexington) and then we’ll be focussing on festivals and touring for a bit. It’s just exciting to have done it you know, we made an album and it’ll be out there and people will react to it. That was the dream when we were teens and now it’s happening so I think it’s important to bear that on mind. We’re always working on new ideas so we’ve got some good collaborations, remixes and other bits we’ve done to look forward to but right now just getting to see people’s reaction to what we’ve done either at gigs or on the album is pretty special in itself.

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Elly Watson
New Noise: Little Cub

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