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Little May

Featured Artist

2014

1

May

Little May

Sydney, NSW

Indie-folk trio Little May are this week's feature artist. We spoke to them about developing their sound, their upcoming spot at St Jerome's Laneway Festival in Sydney and what's on the horizon in 2014...

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Tell us about your music - how did you develop your sound?
Our music would fall into the folk/indie/pop category.  We never set out to create a certain sound, but we have been concentrating on songwriting for a while.  I think it took years of us playing bad covers and writing really average songs to get to a point where we felt we were developing our own thing.

We have a lot of different influences which is really awesome when it comes to writing collaboratively.  We are still an acoustic trio, but there are a lot of influences coming through that aren’t just folk. It just so happened that we wrote these songs on acoustic instruments, because thats all we have ever played.  Going into the studio to record the EP played a massive role in developing our sound.  All the things we had originally envisioned the songs doing dynamically we could now do, and we weren’t limited to two guitars, a stomp box and Hannah’s attempts at using a Cabasa.  We were listening to Local Natives ‘Hummingbird’, Half Moon Run ‘Dark Eyes’ and Alt J when we were recording, and I think those albums really inspired us and gave us a lot to think about production wise.  From then, it was an obvious move to start playing with a band. We were writing songs that were asking for more.  I think we’re finally at a point now where we know what sounds like “Little May” and what doesn’t.

You’re one of the winners of our Laneway competition. What can the crowd at Laneway in Sydney expect from the Little May live show?
We are seriously so amazed and thankful that we get to play Laneway this year.  We were all literally beside ourselves that day it was announced. We have never played a festival before, so it will be a pretty new experience.  Our live show is getting bigger and a little darker at times. We’re gradually adding more people too. We’ve got three of our close friends playing with us; Cat, Mark and Sam, which should be good fun.

How did Little May form?
Hannah and I (Liz) had been playing together since we were about 17.  We met in high school and we instantly clicked.  We listened to a lot of the same music, and would spend most weekends playing really bad covers, namely ‘Save Tonight’ by Eagle Eye Cherry.  Eventually we started writing our own songs and started singing together and blending our voices.  The three of us formed under Little May around mid 2012 when we decided we needed another guitarist.  I knew Annie from early high school so we started jamming together, bought a PA and started doing open mic nights and gigs.

What are you three doing when you’re not playing in Little May?
We live in each others pockets so it’s kind of strange when we aren’t together.  We all have our jobs on the side, and have our own little things going on.  Annie is a graphic designer, she draws a lot. Hannah and I can’t draw. We go up to my parents farm in Wollombi quite a bit, sometimes to write and rehearse or to just to do nothing. We like going to gigs too.

What are your plans for Little May in 2014?
We will be releasing our EP around April this year.  We are playing Secret Garden and touring with Mikhael Paskalev in March which will be amazing. The main focus for for us is to keep writing, recording and rehearsing.  It’s all about the songs, so we want to just keep the ball rolling and from then we can see where the year will take us.  I think we will be recording all of our new stuff too.

Australian music is…?
...amazing right now.  It’s very inspiring to see what some Australian artists are doing, and to see them taking on the world is really cool.

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Gretta Ray

Featured Artist

2016

26

Sep

Gretta Ray

Melbourne, VIC

Unearthed High champ Gretta Ray is back with 'Unwind' - a stunning new song she recorded here at triple j.

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You've just released your new single 'Unwind'. Tell us a little about the genesis of that song and what it was like to be writing/recording again after the success of ‘Drive'?
Writing Unwind after the success of Drive was a fascinating challenge for me as a songwriter, due to the fact that Drive was one of those songs where all the elements kind of fell into place right from the beginning of the writing process; the piece came together in a rather organic way. For me, that rarely happens when writing music, and I had to consistently remind myself of that when writing Unwind, as it did not unfold as naturally as Drive did. That being said, once I had the bones of Unwind, I became excited about how different it sounded from anything that I’d ever written before, and once I arrived in Sydney to record it, I was so pleased that I had pushed myself to have a brand new song finished in time for that particular project. Concept-wise, the lyrics of Unwind intend to portray one’s thought process when going through a break up. More specifically, the moment when one comes to understand the extent of what they have lost, when they start to feel the weight of what the relationship became. I feel as though the lyric that best conveys that is “I am sure that there is more to this than I care to admit”. Hopefully this rings true with some listeners. This is a song for those that “feel it all”.
 
You recorded it at the triple j studios in Sydney. What was that recording process like compared to how you usually lay your tracks down?
The recording process at triple J was such an incredible opportunity; I got to work with some very special musicians and am so grateful for all of their time. The main difference between recording in Sydney and how I usually record was definitely the time constraints. We completed the production for this new song in the space of a day and half, which was a huge achievement for the whole team, considering that my usual producers and I spent a good few weeks on Drive. But despite it being a speedy process, it was as equally as fun and satisfying when we completed our work.
 
What's your greatest source of inspiration for making music?
I spend a lot of time examining the way that I and others move through the world. I am constantly observing human interactions and human behaviour on the whole, and find that most of my ideas are born when I am taking note of one’s body language or the way that they are conversing with another. For example, there is a lyric in Drive that talks about someone having the ability to make one’s “tired eyes widen and cheeks turn rouge”. I like to focus on minuscule details such as these, details that have the potential to mean so much if they are explored in depth. So overall, I would say that choosing to watch and listen to those in around me has always been what has inspired me to write.
 
What's your go-to snack when making music?
If I’m writing? Hmmm.. okay, this isn’t interesting or original at all, but vegemite toast is definitely my go to. I consume so much bread on a day to day basic, it’s out of control. When I’m recording and making music in a studio environment however, I am hungry the entire time, so props to triple j for bringing me pastries and pizza when I was working in Sydney. Saved my life. 
 
What's your vision for the ultimate Gretta Ray live show?
Oh man, I’m not sure. I sure do think about it a lot, but I am yet to put a band together, as I have always played my shows acoustically; just me and my guitar.
Although, touring as a part of Japanese Wallpaper’s band was an eye opening experience in regards to what it takes to put on a good live show. I loved watching our support act, E^ST perform each night. She radiates so much energy on stage and is jumping and dancing almost the entire time, keeping the audience in the palm of her hand. I found that incredibly inspiring, so when it came to singing lead in Japanese Wallpaper’s set, I attempted to channel a similar energy. When school ends and I can start thinking about putting together a show of my own, I’d definitely like there to be moments where I can put the guitar down and move around on stage.
 
What's the best advice you've been given and who was it from?
I am very lucky in the sense that I seem to have wise, supportive people around me all the time, so I am constantly being offered amazing advice. My family has always taught me to be thankful for everything that comes my way and to be considerate of others. Although that’s very broad, I would say that’s the best advice that anyone can be given.
 
What Australian track would you play to cheer up someone who was crying?
I Love Pop Music by Ben Lee. Maybe just Ben Lee in general. Ben Lee forever.
 
What Australian track would you play to someone to make them cry?
Consolation Prize by Montaigne. I cried on the plane to that song the first time that I listened to it.
OR Stranger In My Room by Kat Edwards. Hauntingly exquisite. 
 
You're the DJ at a party. The dance floor is pumping. What Australian track do you put on next?
Get Down by Jess Kent. Banger and a half. I will never get over how good that song is. 
 
What are your plans for the rest of 2016 and into 2017?
I am going to finish High School! HOORAY! Then straight after that, I’m flying to Nashville for 2 weeks alongside my mum to hang out with my producer, meet people, eat a lot of food and start work on what I hope to be a full length record. 2017 will consist of playing shows, writing a lot of songs and hopefully travelling back to the states if I can earn the money to do so.

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