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Little Red - Interview

  by Owen Peters

published: 8 / 3 / 2016

Little Red - Interview


Owen Peters talks to Ian Mitchell from Oxford-based alt-folk trio Little Red about his band's three EPs to date and his label All Will Be Well Records

Little Red a three piece alt-folk from Oxford who can often be heard on BBC radio and gigging on the local circuit. Their recent EP 'Huntsman' and remixed 'Teeth We Have' is testimony the band are set up to wider their geographical net. The band see 2016 as being an opportunity to develop and expand, including an occasional set up as a six piece. A man with a plan is band founder Ian Mitchell. He took time out to indulge in an interview with Pennyblackmusic. PB: Little Red have built up quite a following in and around Oxford and Reading. For those readers farther afield could you introduce the band? IM: We are an alt-folk three piece with a strong DIY mentality. We have been together for two years and have released 3 EPs and one full length album, all of which are available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and Bandcamp. For Oxford locals you can also buy our records in the Truck Store. Before Little Red we played together in various different bands, dabbling in folk, indie and rock. 2015 was a great year for us. Highlights included playing to a packed hall as part of the Oxford Folk Festival, making three music videos, headlining and selling out the concert hall of The Old Firestation venue in Oxford and being named as ones to watch for 2016 in the highly regarded music magazine 'Nightshift'. We have also been invited to play on BBC Radio four times in the past twelve months. 2016 sees us playing as many shows as we can manage in the promotion of our most recent EPs ‘The Huntsman’ and remix EP ‘Teeth We Have’, and bringing our sound to a wider audience with gigs all around the country. PB: I would place you squarely as a Folk trio. Would that be a fair description? IM: Though our roots are as a folk trio, and we have grown up within a strong folk scene, we like to think we bring our own influences and styles to our approach which bring in elements of garage-rock, country, indie and in our occasional six-piece live shows even a bit of lo-fi electronica. We appeal to fans of First Aid Kit, Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes/Coner Oberst and the Black Keys, to name a few. Within the local scene we happily share stages with the August List, Bear And The Woods and Quiet Quiet Band (all fantastic bands from Reading/Oxford area which you should also check out!) PB: Tell us about your EPs 'Sticks + Stones' and your latest release 'The Huntsman'. IM: There are elements and themes that run through 'The Huntsman' EP to tie it together to create one cohesive piece. There are themes of darkness in depression, mental illness, the persistent relentless inhumanity and cruelty of humankind as well as loss and longing, all bound together with hope and recognition of the beauty of life, lightened by a lyrical playfulness and fairytale storytelling. Equally each song stands on its own legs and showcases the individual talents of Ben, Ian and Hayley. They can be heard on the Little Red bandcamp page, Amazon, iTunes and YouTube. PB: What are the major challenges Little Red face in terms of getting their name and music know to a wider UK audience? IM: With our strong DIY approach we tackle as many of the musical outlets as we can to make our music as readily available as possible. We live in a time of instant-gratification, so making our music available at your fingertips is a priority. Technology is constantly involving in fantastic ways, so staying ahead of the game so that our music is available where and when it is wanted is a must. We are constantly aiming to get our songs to new sets of ears. It has paid off, as we have sold and shipped records all around the world (Japan, USA, Australia to name a few). PB: Who are the bands/artists (past + present) who provide inspiration and direction? IM: I am inspired by the dusty retro Americana sounds of Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell as well as the soul and sincerity of Elliott Smith and the storytelling skills of Nick Cave and Tom Waits. Ben is a huge fan of Neil Young and has studied his various techniques. He also is heavily influenced by the early punk-folk singer-songwriter sounds of Billy Bragg, as well as the atmosphere, enigma and Southern-Soul of the criminally underrated AA Bondy. Hayley has absorbed every note that Eva Cassidy has sung, and is driven by a desire to match the beauty of the harmonies found so often in First Aid Kit’s recorded output. PB: Define Little Red in five adjectives. IM: Crooked, cuddly, ceaseless, capricious and clawed. PB: You are also involved with the record label All Will Be Well. What’s all that about? IM: I set up and runs All Will Be Well Records, a record label with a sixteen strong roster of bands and artists who all share a strong DIY ethos, with an emphasis on collaboration and shared exposure. Shows are regularly put on in and around Oxford and Reading to showcase the various bands and acts. Within the All Will Be Well collective there is also a music video/film-maker (Ant Appleby of FJ2K3 films) and producer/sound engineer in Little Red’s Ben. PB: What are the band's plans and objectives for the rest of 2016? IM: We will be ending the year with a headline gig in a prestigious Oxford venue that we’re not yet allowed to go into in detail (but watch this space!). In the meantime we will playing regularly in the South of England at venues and festivals (check out our Facebook and Twitter for details of upcoming shows) in support of our recent releases. Also, we will be releasing a double A-side single of two new and unheard tracks in the Autumn of this year which we are very excited about. We will also be featuring on the upcoming All Will Be Well Records sampler ‘Bloom’. PB: If someone put £250,000 in your bank account how would you use it to promote Little Red? IM: We will use the money to play everywhere and anywhere! We would love to take out music all around the world and play to audiences wherever they will have us (and also where they won’t!). I’m sure Ian and Ben might get a bit guitar-nerd on us and splash some of the cash on some obscene vintage guitars too. PB: Thank you.

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Little Red - Interview

Little Red - Interview

Little Red - Interview

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