“Listen To Little Red”, the 2008 debut LP from croony Melbourne five piece Little Red, owes its quiet accessibility to a well of bouyant, delicately crafted earworms that borrowed liberally from the harmony heavy canon of R&B, soul and surf pop. Likewise their recently released sophomore “Midnight Remember”, produced by the omnipresent Scott Horscroft of BJB studios, mines pop music’s most gorgeous moments but hoists Little Red’s luscious take on guitar pop to weirder, more eclectic places. We recently caught up with Little Red guitarist/vocalist Dominic Byrne to discuss Splendour In The Grass fanboy moments, their evolved approach to recording and why perfectionism can be a bitch.
What have you been up to today Dominic?
Not a lot to be honest, Ash. I just went to the supermarket. And just before you called I was playing some Sam Cooke on the guitar and that’s it really.
What does a day in the life usually entail?
I sleep in really late and I hang around and play a bit of music. It’s not really that disciplined but if I’m home all night I’ll get a few things going then I’ll hang out at my mate’s place who lives just around the corner. He’s the songwriter from a really great Melbourne band called The Box Rockets and he just lives around the corner from me so often I’ll go to his house at 1am and we’ll hang out til 4am or so then I come home and usually go to sleep after that.
Sounds like he lives dangerously close to you.
I know. It’s true. But it’s good we’ve both adapted to nocturnal sleeping patterns as a result of that. I just find night time good to…lurk (laughs).
How was your Splendour by the way?
I saw heaps of bands and had lots of fun, it was awesome. I love the new site I mean I know they’re going back to Byron but I don’t know if they should it’s such a brilliant venue. Having said that I didn’t really have to battle the crowds or anything so maybe I have a biased view.
Not like us regular people. How was it backstage anyway?
The Plebs (laughs). I got my photo with Albert Hammond Jr. man, it was the highlight of my life. I was with Quang and our mixer’s son. And our mixer just said to him while he was coming back from the toilet “Excuse me mate can you take a photo with my son” then Quang and I jumped in on it and it was so good.
I suppose we should talk about the new record Midnight Remember…tell us about the recording process.
We recorded it at The Grove which is north of Sydney. We did some stuff at Big Jesus Burger but just little things like a few overdubs. But yeah, it was mixed at BJB and recorded at The Grove.
Was it easier this time round?
No I don’t think so. It’s a funny thing because we did these sessions for the first record within two weeks and we didn’t do anything with the record for a year. Then when we decided that we were going to release it ourselves we thought “fuck it we can do better” so we re-recorded some of the songs and recorded some totally news songs and did that in three days. It was really fast and we didn’t think about it too much. It was a simpler sound as well, the first record. That style of music and what we were playing, it really lends itself to being recorded live. The fact that it’s bass, drums, two guitars, a bunch of harmonies, lead vocals and maybe a tambourine here and there – you can be really sloppy and it just fits together because of the simplicity of the material. But on this, it’s not like I could have recorded “Rock It” live the same way as the first one, it would have done a real disservice to the song. So for this one we needed time and a proper studio and it wasn’t harder or easier it was just different.
Did the songwriting process change this time round?
When it comes to songwriting we don’t jam or anything, we just write songs. I just mess around at home and come up with stuff – same thing with Tom and Quang they come up with stuff at home. So we pretty much write separately but as far as our writing process there’s no common method. I’ve never had a consistent method for long, I have lots of different techniques to get stuff started and you just go along with it and add different bits and pieces later or write the song in one go.
It’s funny that you guys write separately then bring it to the table later because the songs sound so complete and fully realized.
I can’t really say if the album as a whole is coherent because I can see there’s lots of different things going on. And some songs if you put them next to each other you’d think it strange that they’re from the same album. But because pretty much every song is a little bit different it kind of makes it coherent. As far as finishing songs, some of them went through heaps of changes, lots of arrangement styles, different rhythms and beats. It we had more time we would have kept changing stuff, I’m sure. But I’m pretty happy with most of it. I hope they sound complete, I hope they’re finished.
Too late now anyway.
It’s too late now, exactly. I want to change stuff still, I would still change stuff but it’s too late. They pretty much set the date before the album was finished so in the end I was cut off from making those little last minute changes which is probably a good thing.
This is a bit of a tangent but I’m Asian, I don’t know if you can tell strictly from my voice, but at Splendour I would be walking around minding my own business and people would just yell “Little Red” at me. I was just wondering if Quang or Taka ever get confused with other people?
How funny is that? I mean, there would have been thousands of Asian dudes at Splendour, I wonder if they all got Little Red yelled at them. But yeah, people always mistake Quang for Taka it happens all the time. It’s funny, one’s Vietnamese and one’s Japanese and they don’t look anything the same to me. But I suppose there’s not that many Asian dudes in Australian rock bands when compared to skinny white dudes.
And you guys have two.
And we have two.
Thanks for your time Dominic.
Little Red’s sophomore LP Midnight Remember hits shelves today. You can download their new single “Little Bit Of Something” here, stream “Get A Life” below or catch them live on their national Midnight Remember tour. Dates below…
Thu 30 Settlers Tavern (Margaret River) WA
Fri 01 Prince Of Wales (Bunbury), WA
Sat 02 Astor Theatre (Perth), WA
Wed 06 The Uni Bar (Wollongong), NSW
Thu 07 ANU Bar (Canberra), ACT
Venue: (02) 6125 3660 & www.ticketek.com.au
Fri 08 Metro Theatre (Sydney) Licensed A/A, NSW
Sat 09 Level One At Newcastle Leagues (Newcastle), NSW
Sun 10 Penrith RSL Club (Penrith), NSW
Wed 13 Club Coffs At West High (Coffs Harbour), NSW
Thu 14 Joe’s Waterhole (Eumundi), QLD
Shopping Centre Maroochydore, Shake It Up Music
Fri 15 The Hi Fi (Brisbane), QLD
Sat 16 Coolangatta Hotel, QLD
Wed 20 Wrest Point Showroom (Hobart), TAS
Thu 21 Saloon Bar (Launceston), TAS
Fri 22 Bended Elbow (Geelong), VIC
Sat 23 The Gov (Hindmarsh) Licensed A/A, SA
Wed 27 Karova Lounge (Ballarat), VIC
Thu 28 The Westernport Hotel (San Remo), VIC
Fri 29 Forum (Melbourne), VIC