Interview: Anthony Catalano and Celeste Spina of Little Hurricane (California)

In the middle of their whirlwind Australian tour, blues rock duo Little Hurricane (aka Tone and C.C.) caught up with Larry Heath to discuss their second album, due for release early next year.

Welcome to Australia! Have you played in Melbourne yet?

We’ve done some acoustic things, but we haven’t made any significant noise yet.

You’ve got that in a couple of days.

Yeah, tomorrow here, and then Thursday and Friday in Melbourne.

So what are you hoping to get from the shows? We’ve only had a teaser so far.

After all these acoustic shows, I cannot wait to play a full drum kit, so I’m really anxious.

What do you do in the acoustic sessions?

I bring a kick-pedal, and I play the kick-pedal on this guitar case, then I put a tambourine on it, and play with drumsticks. But what happened today is I realised I had to be half as loud as what I normally am. So I’m excited to just be able to play our full show and see if people like it. To see the music venues, and what it’s like on stage in a different country.

Where have you toured overseas, other than here?

Nowhere! We haven’t even played along the east coast of the U.S. yet. We’re going there as soon as we get back, but we’ve stuck mainly to the west coast; California, Seattle, Portland…

Is that just due to logistics?

We’re kind of a new band, so we’re just starting locally and branching out.

Well, your album was released over a year ago now, in America.

We released it ourselves over a year ago, then it was re-released this May with Distribution, then it was released here in August. So we’ve had three releases.

A long cycle, as the first album often is.

Yeah, but it’s cool to see that it still has this much traction. It feels like forever ago that we actually recorded it. Since then, we’ve recorded another album, but it’s getting finished up, and probably won’t be released until next year.

That was going to be my next question! You couldn’t have released an album that long ago and not be working on new material, but you’re still promoting the first one! I remember I was talking to this French electronic artist, and he was saying how he lives two lives at the moment, because he’s working on a new album, but he’s still promoting the last one. It must be like that. But…are you looking forward to the Electric Six tour?

It’ll be a twist. I’ve known their “Danger! High Voltage” song from years ago. I don’t picture our music going with that, but it’ll be interesting to see what kind of fans show up.

One thing Electric Six have always had are really good support acts, that are really good bands, because they’re a good band but they make silly music. Aberdeen City supported them when I saw them in Vancouver, and they were amazing, it’s an interesting choice, because you’d think they wouldn’t want to have bands that outshine them.

They seem like fun guys.

It’s the tenth anniversary of their first record, so you’ll hear a lot of “Danger! High Voltage”, I’m sure.

Every night. All the hits. Was “Gay Bar” on that album?

Yeah. And they haven’t really had a hit since. They did that cover of a Queen song, but that was on a different record. But that’s going to see you for the next few weeks. What takes up the rest of the year?

We go through November with Electric Six, I’m going to spend a little time with my family in November for Thanksgiving, which is necessary. You kind of have to plan it into the schedule or else it never happens. And then hopefully just finishing up the new album, which we’re really excited about. Like I said, it’s all been recorded, and now it’s just a matter of mixing it. And since we do all of that, it takes a little extra for us, when we’re on the road.

When it comes down to your history with the bands you’ve worked with in the past, how does that translate into your process when you’re working on your own music?

In multiple ways. I think one is that I see things that I don’t want to do, like certain bands,nameless bands… it’s like ‘Oh’. Seeing the way they treat the people around them, whether it’s an engineer or a stage tech. It’s things we don’t want to do. But then we see things we do like too. Like the amp I play, I first heard it in the studio, it’s a Matchless, and I was like ‘Wow, this amp sounds killer, the sound is huge!’ So the next day I found one on Ebay and told my friend, and he was like ‘you should get that.’ They don’t show up very often, cause it’s from a certain year. So things like that which I pick up along the way, and it all comes together in Little Hurricane.

Moving forward, you say you’ve almost finished another record, how has your sound developed? I imagine it’s just a bit bigger, a bit more refined.

Yeah, we’re trying to make it bigger. I think the songs are going to be starting to venture away from the simplistic blues song, and more into some different types. Still keeping our sound, because it’s just the two of us, but bigger. Some of them are more upbeat for more festival crowds, and then some are really, really dark stuff that’s bluesy and sad and dark.

That’s what the genre’s all about, right? You’re going down those dark routes.

Gotta keep some of the melancholy side of it.

I look forward to hearing the new music. Will you be playing some sneaks of it at the new shows?

I think we will, a couple of them. We can’t resist.

You’ve had such a crazy year, what have been some of the highlights so far? I guess releasing the album in a big way, and getting the press out of it has got to rank up pretty high.

Well coming to Australia is definitely pretty high. When we met, I think the third or fourth time we were playing together, Tone was like ‘we’ve gotta start figuring out a tour because I want to go to Australia.’ It was more of a joke, but it happened. So for this to be the first time we come to visit outside of the US, is awesome, that two years ago he said that, and we’re here now.

Most bands do four years of going back and forth to Europe and South America, and you’ve skipped all that and just come straight down here.

We haven’t even gone to Canada.

Are there plans for that sort of touring?

Plans, no. Desire, yeah.

Well if you put it out in the universe and it delivered you here…

I think as long as we come up with music we like, and other people like it.

It’s like, with the next record it will almost be easy by comparison, because it’s not going to be a two year process of putting it out and talking about it and promoting it.

Now that we’ve met some people that can help expedite that, yeah. I think the first go round, we just had to do it ourselves, not just wait for people to help release it. Let’s do it, get the ball rolling.

Well I’m bummed that I don’t get to see the show tomorrow night, because I love the record, and I’m a big fan of that sort of music, so I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing you in New York. And… Oh, there’s a remix competition going on. What’s happening with that?

Yeah, it’s got a couple of days left. That’s really cool to hear other people’s point of view on the song. Someone remixed it all orchestral, like a ballad. They used the vocals from our version, which is more rock vocals, so it would have to be tweaked a little, but it’s really cool to hear other people’s point of view, sonically.

Did it give you any ideas of ‘Oh, we should maybe do something like that’? Add some violins?

It’s too late now, we’ve released the song! But it keeps that door open for other versions.

And for future recordings. It’s just the two of you for this next record, but in the future, would you bring in other people in that process?

I kind of cheat a little bit and play extra guitar, and we have a guy who does some strings on it, but I try not to do too much where it’s distracting live, where people are like ‘where’s that violin?’ or are missing something.

And I pray at this stage you’re not relying on a five piece band behind you.

No, I want a 22 piece band behind us. And then maybe a children’s choir.

Let’s get you to the Opera House, we’ll get the Sydney Symphony Orchestra behind you.

Could be amazing.

If Kanye West can get away with doing it, god knows you guys can. Have you decided what to call the next album yet?

We’re still debating a name for it. We’ve got a few flipping around.

Thematically, does it go down a similar path?

I’d say yes. We’re sticking with the blues of it, but expanding a little. Some more rock… We have a song called “Superblues” that we didn’t put on the first album, and we re-did the song and it’s going to be on the second, and it’s kind of themed around that. In the way of “super”.

I just pictured a t-shirt. Massive words: SUPER BLUES. Smaller words: Little Hurricane. I want to wear that shirt.

We’ll send you one when we make it.

Thanks for your time, guys, and best of luck with your shows.

Thank-you, and we’ll see you at the Mercury Lounge!


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