A Chat With: Little Cub
Electro-indie pop trio Little Cub are less than a month away from the release of their debut album, Still Life. Band members Dominic Gore, Duncan Tootill, and Ady Acolatse now reside in South London, but they went through a period of time working as a long distance group, when Duncan relocated to New York. Through the years together, they were able to overcome those challenges and produce an 11-track diverse and dynamic album. Before the April 28th release date of said album, we chatted about everything from their influences, their struggles as a long distance band, and what's next for them this year. Get to know the up and coming group Little Cub now!
ANCHR Magazine: What first got each of you inspired to pick up an instrument and start making music?
Dominic Gore: I grew up in a musical family, both my parents were classical musicians and, even after they broke up, so much of my youth was spent listening to them. It was always the part of their lives where they best expressed themselves and even though their struggles should have been enough to put me off I was too young to appreciate how difficult their lives must have been until I'd been hooked myself. We always had good records around and even before I could really play, my friends and I used to collect and listen to CDs so it was kind of inevitable.
Combined with good teachers and lots of opportunities to play, I was pretty lucky... Though I didn't really feel any desire to write songs until my Mum passed away, and then it became the sort of central focus of my life after that.
Duncan Tootill: When I was little, I apparently used to appropriate my toys to use as musical instruments, no matter what it was; so after that (age 6) my Grandad brought a trumpet ‘round and I was instantly obsessed.
Ady Acolatse: I started on cello in primary school. There was this government scheme where everyone in my year at school could play an instrument if they wanted to and get a free instrument loan and lessons. Cello was the only instrument on the list I didn’t know and I remember asking my friend who was sat next to me in class what it was. He told it was a big wooden thing with a spike in it so I was instantly sold. I then moved on to double bass and piano. Bass guitar actually came a lot later for me.
AM: How are you feeling now that you’ve finished a debut album that will be heard by the world soon?
DG: Just excited really. These songs are very much snapshots of moments from the last few years of our lives and because a lot of the subject matter deals with our experiences of issues that are going on right now, it'll be interesting to see how people connect with them. We've been lucky so far that people who've heard the album seem to have a lot to say on it.
AM: In your bio, it’s stated: “Too Much Love", and much of the album is loosely thematically based on the Oscar Wilde quote "I represent all the sins you will never have the courage to commit.” What was it about that quote that inspired you, and where else did you pull inspiration from for the album’s theme?
DG: Yes definitely. I like the Dorian thing (and Will Self's retelling of a few years ago) because I think that feeling of seeing your emotional response corrupted as Dorian's is very much correlates to our experience of going through your twenties...particularly living in London. Be it through relationships, bereavement, partying, politics, pop culture or religion. A lot of pop music is by its nature self aggrandizing, but we're not really like that as people. I like the idea that Dorian is constantly trying to be outrageous and devoid of emotion, but at the same time he is sad and kind of ridiculous, so that seemed sort of fitting. That film The Comedy pretty much sums up the idea of seeing the absurd and grotesque elements of the whole thing, but still not being able to totally separate yourself from it. As the themes on the record all link to us dealing with real life situations, there are obviously references to people who helped us deal with those situations. We've commented a bit on poets and writers (Auden, Larkin, Ballard, Greene, Fisher) that influenced us, but one of the things I loved about being into bands when I was younger was all the influences [like] books, films, and artists, that you could discover just by being fans of a band. So a lot of our influences come from other musicians in that sense.
AM: When you were working as a long-distance band with Duncan being in New York, what were some of the biggest challenges?
DG: Not being able to play live and having to wait on the time difference. We learned a lot about Ableton, production, and recording over the course of the process, and as we're all quite thoughtful and like to really put something through the mill before we sign off on it. Perhaps it's better that sometimes things took a bit longer. That being said, now that we're discovering how great playing live is, I can't believe we weren't doing this sooner.
AM: What are some of your favorite songs on the album, or the songs that you’re most excited to share with your fans?
DG: "October" and "Snow." "Snow" is the most personal thing we've written and we're hugely proud of that one. ‘October’ reminds me of a lot of the pop music that I loved as a kid and it's a very thinly veiled jab at the previous leader of the UK Conservative party so it works on both levels for me.
AA: I think for me, at the moment it might be "Mulberry". I think maybe because of how it's been connecting people when we play the song live has given it a whole new meaning to me and changed how I hear it. We wrote the song to start almost as a ballad that draws you in and then let the song build towards a way more upbeat, emotional and hopefully satisfying chorus at the end. All the shows we've being doing recently we've managed to get the whole room dancing by the end which when you're playing to people who have never heard our music before is a great feeling.
AM: I saw you recently released a remix for Wild Beasts, how did that opportunity come up? Are there any other bands or artists you’d really like to either work with or remix?
DG: Well, they're on the same label and we know their managers a bit. We've actually met them a few times, but I'm a big fan so I've probably embarrassed myself to the point of erasing it from my memory. As we make a lot of more club friendly music too, we really enjoy and believe in the remix as an art form so any opportunity to remix an artist always appeals. We really like Dan Snaith’s remixes even though they often end up sounding more like new caribou songs than remixes. Working on John Grant,Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Jon Hopkins, Pepe Braddock or Leon Vynehall would be pretty special.
AM: You’ve got an album release show in the books, but are there any plans to tour more when the record comes out? Anywhere in the world particularly that you’d really like to play?
DT: Absolutely, we're hoping to sort out a tour with Rhythm Method soon as we love those guys. The album's out on April 28th so we'll definitely be out on the road round then. Right now, I think playing Berlin is on the top of our list.
AM: If you could curate a music festival, who are 3-5 acts (dead or alive) that you would you pick to headline?
Little Cub: Kraftwerk, Nick Cave, Peter Gabriel's Genesis....Would probably be a pretty fitting selection
AM: What other bands are you listening to at the moment?
LC: Hudson Scott, Leon Vynehall, [and] Boxed In. Sam and Oli are both good friends and artists we've worked with a lot so they definitely make the list. Leon Vynehall is a hero so....
AM: What are some of your favorite venues in London?
LC: Electrowerkz & the Lexington are favorites. Then Rye Wax, The Nines and all that Peckham's got to offer!