Re-introducing themselves to listeners with a bolder and more rock influenced sound, Little May have slightly departed their indie-folk roots to explore a new found vulnerability and empowerment. Reflecting on their personal anxieties and reminiscing on experiences from their early twenties, ‘Blame My Body’ is a very personal and honest affair. With the singles ‘Lover’, ‘Apples’ and ‘As Loving Should’ providing the foundations to this directional change, thy dive ever deeper on tracks like ‘River’, ‘Girl and ‘Blame My Body’. With this sonical rebranding, they are also re-introducing themselves to listeners as a duo after the departure of Annie Hamilton. But fans of the original trio shouldn’t worry too much as the roots of Little May are still very much in tact.
I recently chatted to Hannah Field and Liz Drummond from Little May about the new musical direction for this album, the raw vulnerability behind opening up about their anxieties and discuss how they’ve found navigating their twenties whilst being the chaotic midst of the music industry. Check out the chat HERE;
TB: Melodically ‘Blame My Body’ is a lot bolder compared to ‘For The Company’ and hears you amping the production up. So what was inspiring you sonically to go towards this new sound?
LD: The intention of the record was to be bold in general, so naturally we wanted the production and mix to be more raw and direct on a few songs. Our producers Rob Muinos & Dylan Adams really helped us take the sound where we wanted it to go. John Congleton also mixed the album. He has worked on some amazing albums and his mixes really took the songs to a new level.
TB: The record hears you opening up about both of your personal anxieties and reminiscing on experiences in your early twenties. Was there anything that you were reluctant to talk about or did you go into the writing process of this record very open?
HF: We went into this record very open and ready to wash away any residual constraints we’d created for ourselves creatively but in saying that there was never any conscious decision between us to explore those parts of our histories. For me there was definitely some anxiety over the lyrical work in ‘Blame My Body’ and ‘As Loving Should’ mainly because I’d never felt comfortable enough to share those experiences on a public platform before. I realised that withholding or censoring those parts of me weren’t helpful for anyone, myself or the people who connect with our music so the anxiety pretty quickly turned into finding a strength in the vulnerability of it all.
TB: Theres site a 90’s nostalgic feel to some of these songs. So who are some of your favourite 90’s bands/artists?
LD: Some of my favourite albums are actually from the 90’s from bands and artists like PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Elliot Smith, Weezer and Garbage.
HF: And the Spice Girls and Aqua
TB: What would you say is the most vulnerable moment for you as songwriters/artists on this album?
LD: For me it is on the song ‘Girl’.
HF: ‘As Loving Should’ still hits me pretty hard when we perform it live. Liz and I have been friends since we were 15. She was there when I was struggling during that particular time in my life. It’s cathartic for me to sing this one but I find I have to take an extra deep breath before we start playing it.
TB: Navigating your twenties is hard in general before factoring in social media, anxieties and a career in music. So throughout your career how have you made sure you’ve maintained control over your mental health?
LD: My relationship with social media can be alright, but I definitely find it hard some days, especially if I need to be active on it for Little May. I like to lessen my time on it when I can, so I’ll delete the apps when I can. I also meditate and I have generally gotten much better at taking care of my mental health as I’ve grown up.
HF: In the early days of Little May I was a bit of a ratbag. As I got older I realised I seriously needed to take care of myself because the way I was treating my body and therefore my mind was not sustainable. For me these days exercise, vinyasa yoga, meditation, sleep and a healthy, mainly plant based and whole grain diet minus all the pizza is what keeps me centred.
TB: Following on with the intimacy of this record, I think it is quite confronting being vulnerable and authentic in this current state of the world. So what would you say to young women who are currently confused with figuring out who they are or are confused by the current political and social state of the world?
LD: I can only offer advice based on my own experience. I have found overthinking doesn’t help me personally, and I don’t do well when I place pressure on myself to know more and do more. Being vulnerable and authentic might be easy for some, but for many of us it isn’t. I feel like it might take some of us our whole lives to undo our conditioning. For me writing songs, being in nature, exercising more & taking time to get to know myself through meditation and spirituality has helped me figure out who I am, and how simple I actually am. I agree that life is complex right now, but I think it doesn’t always need to be internally, and I think there’s lots of ways to protect yourself from chaos and social & political anxiety. But that’s just my opinion.
TB: What is the most important thing you’ve learnt about yourselves as artists from playing live shows? And is there anything you want to improve on for upcoming shows?
LD: I used to get very anxious before shows and now I rarely ever feel that level of nervousness. Preparation and practice is so important and that has made all the difference over the last 2 years. We have all improved so much to the point where a bad show still feels pretty good.
HF: One thing I’ve learnt is you’ve got to practice ten times more than you think you should, even though you may have some natural ability, if you want to feel confident onstage and therefore give the audience the best possible show you’ve got to put in the hard yards. I want to keep working on my conviction as a front women. I feel I’ve improved, but I want to keep going and to always be pushing my own boundaries.
TB: Have you found that the foundations of your live show have shifted a little with the introduction of the new sound? Or has it just being more fulfilled and groovier?
LD: The live show is definitely way more energetic than it’s ever been. Sometimes it feels like being in a completely different band. I really love playing this new record live, it’s pretty rocky but it’s still got a lot of dynamic and softer moments too.
TB: What new song are most excited or nervous to perform live in this next run of shows?
LD: ‘Blame My Body’ is probably technically more difficult to play than other songs at the moment. But I don’t really get nervous which is nice. I think I get more nervous for the stripped back songs like ‘Night Blindness’. But that’s probably just because I haven’t practiced it for a while.
HF: ‘Blame My Body’ is slightly nerve wracking to play live but I recon that’s just because we haven’t had enough time yet to rehearse it solidly. The stripped back ones are scary too. I really enjoy playing ‘River ‘as I can just go a bit nuts. It’s also my favourite song to play tambourine to.
TB: Lets play a little game of rapid fire questions where I’m going to ask you some questions that you just need to answer with the first thing that comes to mind.
TB: Our pre-show pump up song is…
LD: ‘Keep On Movin’ by Five
HF: That’s the one!
Pineapple on pizza is…
LD: The pits!
HF: Very silly
TB: The emoji that best describes our new album is…
LD: The arm muscle
HF: The pink flower
TB: If we were rappers our rap duo name would be…
LD: Ploosh & Farge
TB: The messiest person out of the two of us on tour is…
HF: I feel we’re both pretty tidy to be honest thank you Elizabeth.
Little May’s new album ‘Blame My Body’ is out now