Interview: Little Cub

Little Cub band

London trio Little Cub radiate the timeless electronics of Giorgio Moroder with the homespun sonic textures of kindred spirits Boxed In.

Part Hacienda circa 1986, part Wild Beasts, they have one foot in the eighties discotheque and the other immersed in fluid 21st century pop.

Bonding over a love of analogue synths and bands like New Order and Pet Shop Boys, Ady Acolatse, Dom Gore and Duncan Tootill have been making music together for a couple of years now.

The culmination of their efforts is the cracking debut record Still Life, released last Friday (28 April) through Domino Records.

It’s a flavoursome sonic stew that bubbles over with Dom’s keen lyricism and political wit, best tasted on Hypnotise and Death of a Football Manager.

They’re celebrating its release with a string of live dates including slots at this year’s Stag and Dagger, The Great Escape, Dot To Dot and Latitude festivals and a special headline date at London’s Lexington on 9 May.

We caught up with Ady and Dom to learn more about the album’s concept and their wider musical and political cues…

What’s the thinking behind your debut album Still Life?
Dom:
It’s like a series of snapshots from our lives. We wanted to make a record in the tradition of the records we love and whilst we tried to keep it all relatively personal there’s stuff about nihilism, politics, nature, death, football, sex, suicide, drugs, religion, depression oh and X Factor on there. Oh and lots of synthesisers.

Where and when was it recorded? How did it come to life?
Ady:
The album was mostly recorded in Duncan’s room over the last couple of years. We did try recording some of it in a studio but it didn’t really work out so the process of making the record was very much about getting what gear we could and learning to use it at the same time

What did you learn about yourselves/making music during the process?
Dom:
Trust. Because initially we were taking it in turns to work on tracks around working jobs you would come back at the end of the day to find the idea completely changed. We didn’t really save multiple versions at that point so once it was changed it was changed. This meant we really had to trust each other and not be too precious about ideas.

The album feels political – especially Hypnotise and the accompanying video. Why has the outside world inspired you so much?
Dom: I don’t really understand how it could not inspire you. There is so much going on right now to just ignore that seems baffling to me. You don’t have to write a protest song to write about politics and as with Death of a Football Manager the subject matter is so ubiquitous I think to ignore it is harder. That being said Hypnotise is about being comfortable with maybe not having all the answers but still stepping up and joining the debate. I think for a lot of people it is a fear of being caught out that stops them getting involved but it is this dialogue where you learn and engage with power structures etc.

How do you feel about the record now it’s out in the world?
Ady:
Excited, mainly. We put a lot into it and we think it’s pretty different to what’s out there right now. We’re pretty grounded as people so we haven’t put the deposit down on a Ferrari just yet, but I don’t think there’s anyone doing what we are doing right now, hopefully that’ll be a good thing.

What artists and tracks helped inspire the record?
Dom:
Pet Shop Boys, Pulp, Caribou, Smiths, Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, Talking Heads, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, New Order are the big ones, but our friends Boxed In, George FitzGerald Rhythm Method, NZCA Lines, Hudson Scott too.

The opening line of Still Ill by The Smiths made me think about how I would go about writing a protest song.

What artists and tracks helped inspire the record?
Dom: Festivals, touring, more music. We put on shows around the South East and work a lot on remixing other bands and producing etc so they’ll be plenty of that.

What was the last great record you heard?
Dom:
Cass McCombs’ Mangy Love. Not an obvious one for us but I think it’s an incredible summer album. I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time and he always seems so chill sometimes when I’m stressing about things I try and imagine what Cass would do in that situation.

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Top photo: Megan Eagles