Little May’s Current “Whirlwind”

Although Little May’s career may still been in its infancy, Hannah Field, Liz Drummond, and Annie Hamilton are lifelong friends.  And despite the fact that the band is still...

Although Little May’s career may still been in its infancy, Hannah Field, Liz Drummond, and Annie Hamilton are lifelong friends.  And despite the fact that the band is still kinda a new thing, they’ve already achieved some pretty lofty accomplishments: more than one million Soundcloud plays in just a year and a half, three million Spotify streams, and comparisons to the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Haim, and First Aid Kit (who are, let’s just face it, the absolute greatest of all of the Americana revivalists).  Little May also proved to be heroines of last year’s CMJ, when they were promoting their recently-released self-titled EP.  And while the roots of the album would seem to be folk, their songs ring far more of ‘90s alt balladry than people like Haim and Mumford & Sons (who they’ve also been compared to) – think somewhere between Mazzy Star and Poe (Shit! Wow. Yeah, remember Poe?!?!?!)  Well, the Sydney, Australia-based trio are currently working on finishing up their debut LP, but they’re taking a break for a very brief US tour, which begins with the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Tour in Seaside Heights on June 6th, has them opening a major show for The Vaccines in DC, and eventually has them making an appearance at Bonnaroo.  However, Monday, June 8th, will have Little May at Johnny Brenda’s for the first of only three headlining shows in the states.  I recently got a chance to chat with Hannah Field about both the band’s history and their current state of mind.

Izzy Cihak: You’ve achieved quite a bit as a band, including some amazing critical praise, despite being a fairly new band.  Have there been any particular highlights of the band so far?

Hannah Field: Yes, this past year has been a bit of a whirlwind. It’s all been pretty surreal but I think one of the definite highlights was playing Splendour in the Grass last July. It’s one of those festivals that is pretty much a rite of passage for Australian youth. You can’t wait until you turn 18 and can save up to Road Trip up to Byron Bay with all your mates. If I had been told that one day I would be playing Splendour with four of my best friends, I would have belly laughed pretty darn hard. After we played our set and I was walking off stage looking back at the audience I let myself feel that moment. It was quite emotional.

Izzy: And do you think there is anything especially important for fans and potential fans to know about you as a band and your process of writing and recording together?

Hannah: The way we write varies. The three of us really love when we get the opportunity to write together because there is so much creative energy in the room. It’s really nice to be able to connect in that way. Ideally we find it really helpful to get out of Sydney. Getting down to Annie’s grandparents place in Jindabyne has become a favourite destination for us to get into our writing. The landscape just revives memories, inspires, pulls ideas out of you. It’s hauntingly beautiful and nostalgic for some reason.

Izzy: What would you currently consider to be your most significant influences, whether they be musical or just some aspect of life?

Hannah: At the moment we are travelling a fair bit. We have been away from home for a couple of months now and I know for me personally this time away from home is really opening me up creatively. The places, people, highs, lows… having space to reflect on relationships and think about home. It’s hard not to be inspired.

Izzy: For that matter, is there any music that you find to be especially inspiring, or just that you’re especially into, that fans would never guess?  You’ve been compared to a lot of really cool acts, like First Aid Kit and Haim, but often the artists that musicians are compared to are not exactly in-line with their actual favorite music.

Hannah: When I want to feel inspired and I don’t have time to go looking these days I still tend to reach for Van Morrison, James Taylor, Crowded House or The National.

Izzy: You’ve put out a pretty great EP, but I understand you’re currently working on your debut full-length.  What can be expected of your first LP?  Is it just a natural progression from your EP?

Hannah: Making the album has been such a great learning experience for us. We’re very new to this process so we went into it thinking the songs we had would end up being pretty much the same on the other side. They all changed and developed in ways we couldn’t have expected and I think we all feel pretty positive that they are a good representation of us as writers. The EP was written such a long time ago so it feels expected that the LP has a more mature sound.

Izzy: Your music videos have a very cinematic quality to them.  Are there any aspects of cinema history that have an especially significant impact on the visual elements of the band, whether particular films, filmmakers, or film movements?

Hannah: Not from my corner, to be honest. Annie is a really talented artist and graphic designer. That helps. Liz has a great eye and good taste when it comes to most things. That also helps. I just love a good Rom-Com. Not sure if that helps.

Izzy: Finally, you’re going to be playing Johnny Brenda’s (which is definitely Philadelphia’s best venue) in early June, which I’m super excited about.  What can be expected of the live experience?

Hannah: We always just try and do the songs justice. Give people a deeper understanding of where this music comes from. If an audience can walk away feeling like we connected with them and vice versa, we honestly can’t ask for much more.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.