A dark tangle of raw lyrics, honest and haunting melodies and voices upon voices upon voices; Little May represent a new generation of songwriters.
Undefinable and expansive, Little May’s sound is created by age-old friends Annie Hamilton, Liz Drummond and Hannah Field, who in 18 short months have acquired almost two million Soundcloud plays, three million Spotify streams and whose debut EP has made its way into the ears of fans and tastemakers far beyond their Sydney home.
Hamilton recounts how the three first met. ‘We basically all went to the same schools at different times times. We started the band in 2012 – I had been playing guitar for a while by myself and I didn’t know many people who were keen to join a band. I heard that Liz was playing. So she joined the band and then we asked Hannah. It really weird; we got together because we are all friends and it could have been crazy. I guess it’s lucky we really did click.’
The girls’ sudden success took them by surprise. ‘It was very strange,’ says Annie. ‘Even before we put the EP out, we just released independently on Soundcloud and then we had the Hype Machine pick us up, and then suddenly we had blogs overseas! We had only played gigs in Sydney and then only to our friends and parents most of the time…’
Last year the girls travelled to the US where they performed to sold-out rooms across New York City for CMJ, where they were officially selected as one of the ‘11 Breakout Acts of CMJ’.
‘We ended up recording in New York. It was amazing – the whole experience was absolutely surreal. ‘We recorded the first part of the album in upstate New York in Hudson – this small town.
It was freezing cold living in a rickety old house from the 50s and we were recording in an old church that had been converted into a studio – it was a huge space – and working with Aaron Dessner from the Nationals. It was amazing, he really helped pull it all together.
I guess because we have so many differences, we find it hard to define our genre; they would say we are folk but we don’t feel like a folk band or a pop or rock band – we were confused about what to go for, to go for variety or one sound, and Aaron was so helpful in getting us stripping away all the stuff from the songs that we had put in there for the sake of it and getting down to the fundamental part of the song. In one song we had a couple of verses and end section and we took out the end section because the best part is the first verse and then back to the start again. Aaron got us focused on using just the best parts of the song.
Little May are one of the featured acts at Falls Festival this year. With tickets on sale, and lineup announced last week, now is the time to grab those tickets before they sell out! Go to byron.fallsfestival.com.au for tickets and more lineup information for this 31 Dec–3 Jan event.