It’s catch up time again, and this time ITM? has tracked down Steven Milne of Little Kicks to ask: what’s the craic?
itm? – So, how was your holiday?
Holiday was great, aside from me getting very sunburnt on, like, the second day. True pale Scotsman style – I can’t handle the sun. So I retreated to a lounger in the shade for a lot of the time and between there and the pool was the extent of my activities. Had a really good time though and I think I only appreciated how good it was to be away when I got back.
itm? – What’s the influence behind the debut album ‘Boxing Clever’?
I guess musically we took a from lot of influences for that album as some of the songs were written for some time before we recorded, but then some were very late on. So they range from everything from early Strokes, and Franz, from when we started on the last Phoenix album, and things like Whitest Boy Alive and Errors. Lyrically I had a pretty bad time of things for a bit so the lyrics are kinda related to how I was feeling at the time and there was a relationship involved which I guess I didn’t think had influenced me but looking back on the words I know it definitely did.
They say you have forever to write your first album and in our case that was certainly true, but then our drummer got offered a job abroad halfway through recording so we suddenly thought it would be our last album – so the album is a kind of ‘best of us at that point’ record. We knew he would be leaving the country a month after when the album came out and we didn’t even know if we would carry on. Hence the reason the thankyou list on the CD is like a bad Oscars acceptance speech.
itm? – I see you lot are playing a good handful of great festivals this year, have you ever considered organising a festival of your own, and who would be on the bill if you did?
I have thought about it but you need money, time and preparation and to really put a lot of work in. I’m not afraid of work but I wouldn’t have the money or time to do it properly, and I think you need to commit 100% to do it well. Having said that, I have thought about a small scale one. Maybe with the best of just Scottish bands? – that would be good.
I’d pick a mix of the best of each city and put an all dayer / weekend thing on sometime – that interests me a lot. My idea of a good weekend would be Over The Wall, Frightened Rabbit, Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Errors, Broken Records, John Knox Sex Club, Three Blind Wolves, Rachel Sermanni, Mearsault, Olympic Swimmers, Stanley Odd, Edwyn Collins, Indian Red Lopez, Copy HaHo, JJ Bull, Pictish Trail and likely many more! But I’ll stop.
itm? – I always ask this, but you must have a track on the album that you like more than the rest… which one is it?
I always liked ‘Don’t Give Up So Easily’ as its probably the best song I’ve written. Also it was a song that came from nowhere. I remember the first time we played it was a Tuesday night supporting some random band somewhere and even though it was a bit rough around the edges people were asking what it was. So that was the first time I felt we’d really hit home with a song, and the encouragement I got as a writer from that was invaluable. It’s quite an old song but I think it’s maybe our ‘Sweet Disposition’ in waiting – it still gets played on the radio a lot (BBC 6 played it last night) and my friend heard it in a club in Glasgow at the weekend. All we need is one emotional film scene / soundtrack to feature it and we’ll be temporary superstars. Ironic fact is that I wrote that song a week before I quit university to follow music-related pursuits so I guess I don’t always follow my own advice.
itm? – There aren’t many bands with your sound in Scotland right now, which bands do you think are worth the love?
I need to go out and see more bands in general but of late I’ve really been digging Over The Wall, Three Blind Wolves and Discopolis. Over The Wall played our clubnight and they were just outstandingly good fun. The Wolves are a proper hard drinking, rocking band but with great songs and harmonies. And although I’ve only heard a couple of tracks by Discopolis I really like them. It’s good to see a band trying something a bit more exotic and I like to think that’s where we fit in also. They have keyboards and a nice rhythmic edge which is kinda what we’re going for on our new stuff.
itm? – Ok, what’s your favourite food?
I would say hand on heart I have really simple tastes which I am routinely mocked for by my pals. They say I have childish tastes in food and they’re maybe right.
If someone bought me a spaghetti bolognese, chicken korma curry or a steak pie… then we can be friends forever.
itm? – If you were asked to dj right now – tonight, what records/music would you grab for your set?
I would make sure I had Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’, The Rapture’s ‘House of Jealous Lovers’, The Clash: ‘Rock the Casbah’, anything by Talking Heads, ‘Rip It Up’ by Orange Juice, Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ and The Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’. Strange choices I know but in six years of DJing they’re the records that both boys and girls ALWAYS dance to.
itm? – Oh no, the sky is falling, you can only take 3 items to save before you’re transferred to the underground empire !
That’s really difficult! My answers wouldn’t be very resourceful for survival and quite immature – I would say an acoustic guitar, a Playstation 3 for the long nights and a DVD boxset of the American Office. I actually think I would be quite happy with just those three items for quite some time.
itm? – What are you most afraid of?
I can’t deal with heights – at all. So flying, ladders and generally anything high up is a stress for me. I think it relates to me being a little bit scared of dying. Nothing really scares me but I do have a fear of leaving this planet too early and not achieving all I should do. As I’ve been getting older I’m maybe becoming slightly more sensible, but not much as I have had a few sleepless nights over this thought – but at the end of the day you can’t do anything about it so its bad to dwell on it.
itm? -If you could go back in time to save one person, who would it be, and why?
That’s also a tough question. I think maybe Jeff Buckley would be a good one. I’d just go back and maybe not let him go for a swim. I was well into Grace when I was younger and it would have been great to see him have a long career. He was a pretty ridiculous musician with an amazing talent.
itm? – Best gig you have ever played?
My favourite gig we’ve ever played would have to be either one of our first headline shows at the Lemon Tree – the venue is a big deal in the city and we sold it out – or when we played at T in the Park. T in the Park was unbelievable so it probably shades it – the tent was going mental and the support we felt when we walked on was such a rush. It passed so quickly but if you could bottle that feeling of euphoria I’d be an addict. We were up against Interpol, Kings of Leon and Kasabian but the T-Break tent was full of people – inevitable Aberdeen football chants aside, the crowd was insane. I saw Frightened Rabbit at T in the Park last year and it was pretty amazing to see them fill the King Tuts tent – I still remember the days they were a new band – and that inspired me to think maybe one day we’ll be able to go back and feel that feeling again.
itm? – Favourite person today?
Today I would say my favourite person is you for asking me such good questions.
To catch these lads live and check out their tour dates and tunes, visit http://soundcloud.com/the-little-kicks, http://www.myspace.com/thelittlekicks, and on their Facebook page .
Or you could visit Ashton Lane and see Little Kicks at Brel, Sunday, June 26. You can’t say we’re not good to you.