Sunday, February 04, 2018

Sing & Tell :: The Small

The Small are a new three-piece guitar pop band based in West Penwith, Cornwall and one member, drummer Ben, in London, who make short, energetic pop songs which they describe as 'wonky guitar pop / enthusiastic cry punk'.

Who are you? 

I'm Johny Lamb and I'm one third of The Small, on vocals and guitar; with Ben Murray on drums and vocals, and Sam Murray on synth, bass.

Tell us something about yourself and how you came to be where you are today? 

Ben and I used to go and see each other's bands when we lived in Brighton, before we met. I was a big fan of Ben's band (La Frange). Later on we both ended up playing for Chris T-T and we toured together for ages. We became really good friends doing that, and we've done bits and bobs together ever since. I have been doing a project called Thirty Pounds of Bone since the first version of the small imploded, and it started to feel heavy, ponderous and over complex, so a return to the simpler, more pop driven stuff that the small was seemed good. I asked Ben if he'd be up for it, and he was straight away. Sam, I know down here in Cornwall. He's an exceptional guitarist, so I asked him to play these squashy bass lines on my old Jen SX1000 synth. Maybe that just made him laugh enough to agree. i don't know, but it feels like a good fit somehow. He's enjoying himself!

Give us an idea of your musical style and influences.

The idea here has something to do with simplicity. Like those great old Stax records or girl band stuff. Everything under three minutes. Good choruses, and simple hooks. But, we like Kraut stuff a lot too, so maybe that's there too. But also (and we wrote this down somewhere) we like the idea of everything sounding like one of those forgotten b-sides that bands have.

Explain the production and writing process behind your songs.

Writing is basically me. I'll write the parts. The others will learn/adapt them. They'll get hashed out, mangled, and made shorter - that'll be the song. Recording/production is simple. A few mics carefully placed, complete performances (i don't like to edit), not much else. there's not a load of plug ins here. Guitar effects happen at the point of performance, as it always feels weird to me to add effects that that you haven't play with. It should be part of how you play right?

Tell us a little about your new single.

This is our first release, which came out last week. It's called 'Lungcutters'. It's a true story with every useful detail taken out. More like a mist of a story. We like that. It's not a manifesto or anything, but I suppose it sets the scene of what the band is about. It's 2 minutes 11 seconds long. It's loud. It's simple. Maybe it's like a six by seven song with all the epic sucked out.... We want it to feel like pop music.

Can we catch up with you at any forthcoming live shows?

We'll be doing gigs in the summer. We just said yes to a festival in the Northern Ireland, which is exciting. Hopefully that'll come off.

How's the rest of the year looking, plans-wise?

We'll be recording new songs next month, which we'll put out quickly. The thing that happens where you make something and it takes about a year to come out is so frustrating. We won't be doing that. Then gig booking, and play as much as possible in the summer.

Where can we hear more of your music?

Theres a Soundcloud and Bandcamp, and I dare say there'll be demos and sketches appearing as we go along. BBC Introducing got on 'Lungcutters' quickly, and the Fresh On The Net 'fresh faves' vote was a nice surprise. We didn't expect to happen to this song, and we hadn't told anyone about it. So other than gigs, we've not had to self-promote in this new system of digital distribution and introducing and stuff. We like it, it's fun and more transparent. It's very reassuring that people seem to like what we've made.

What social media platforms can we find you on?

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