NYC-based rockers Little Bombs recently released their 2-song 10″ LP, which as produced by Jesse Gander (Japandroids, White Lung). Their ear-catching music is best described as being in the vein of 90s/post rock – reminiscent of Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana or The Replacements. In addition to the EP, the band rolled out a music video for the single “My Oxygen” in support of the release. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently had the opportunity to do a little Q&A with Little Bombs guitarist/vocalist Kieren Smith to discuss his musical roots, influences and to get an inside look at the creation of Little Bombs’ music!
Who do you cite as your biggest influences as a musicians? Who do you look to for inspiration these days?
I think our biggest influences are our friends and peers. Obviously all musicians have their favorite rock icons, Page, Plant, Waters, Townsend, etc etc, but for us as a band its looking around at all the cool shit happening right now and wanting to be a part of it.
What made you pursue music as a career instead of going a different route?
When I realized that I really didn’t give a shit about anything non-music related. It was kind of a “Well, it looks like this is it, figure it out.” kind of moment.
For those who may not be familiar with the band, how did Little Bombs get started?
I took a bunch of mushrooms and a fairy came down from the ceiling and told me to start a band.
How did you arrive at the band name you chose?
I was talking to myself one day and I said it. I wrote it down on a napkin and found it in my pocket a few weeks later.
Give us the lowdown on your current lineup and what these talented musicians bring to the table.
Drummer is a kid named Henry Anderson from out in Queens. He loves Mentos and his favorite animals are camels. Mr. Bassist is Nick Cantatore from Queens. His passion for sandwiches often gets him in trouble and his best friend is a fish. My name is Smith and I don’t go to church but sometimes I enjoy baseball.
For the fans who haven’t had a chance to hear the band, what can they expect from the band sonically?
Imagine the Pumpkins shagging My Bloody Valentine and then cheating on MBV with Dinosaur Jr. to birth Pink Floyd.
You worked with producer Jesse Gander on your latest release, a two-song EP. What were the highlights of that experience and what did he bring to the table for this project?
Jesse is a wizard in the studio. He is a very articulate listener but also has great respect for the vibe and beautiful mistakes that come from recording without a lot of edits or punches. We tried to keep everything very pure and honest. I think we nailed it.
When heading into the studio for this release, what were your goals and or expectations?
I just wanted to get through it alive. It took me over a year to write the album. But with our self funding of the record, we only had about 6 days to get it done. I finished 11 tracks of vocals in one day and then drank a beer after. It was glorious.
What made you choose these 2 songs specifically for this release over any others that you had recorded?
“Strange” is one of our favorite jams and we just couldn’t wait to release it. We thought “My Oxygen” was a good counter part to “Strange”. PB & J.
Can you tell us a little about your typical songwriting process and how you typically bring a song to life?
I am usually wishing I was sitting in some utopia somewhere in the eastern hemisphere but I am usually eating chinese food in my tiny apartment in queens. I’ll be playing guitar mindlessly or listening to music and something will catch my ear and start looping in my head. I just put on my trunks and dive into it until I come up with something.
Do you do anything differently when approaching this EP, as opposed to the way you did on previous records?
Yes. I took more than 3 weeks to write it.
As an artist, what was the biggest challenge in putting the release together and recording sessions involved?
Paying for it.
You recently relased a video for “My Oxygen.” What were the highlights and challenges of putting that together?
Holding your breath and opening your eyes underwater for periods of times hurts. Never again.
Any plans on a return to the studio in the near future?
Not really. We are always writing but for now we are just trying to play out more.
What do you hope that people come away with after seeing your live show?
Merch and hopefully a good time. Also a hot date would be cool too.
The band will be hitting the road with The Company We Keep this November. When it comes to touring, what are your favorite and least favorite aspects?
Eating all the amazing food from different cities is definitely number one. Least favorite aspects… figuring out who’s the least drunk and going to drive after the show.
It seems like almost everybody has one – have you ever had a “Spinal Tap moment” on stage where something totally unexpected has happened?
Yeah. Our first drummer Derek combusted actually. He is no longer with us. RIP.
What has kept you inspired throughout the years as an artist and fueled your creative fire?
Desperation and stupidity. Only an idiot would think making money off of art is a sustainable lifestyle. Luckily, I have the IQ of 74.
How do you feel you have evolved as a musician along the way?
The most obvious way any musician grows is learning what you’re good at and realizing your limitations. I sing/play/write/vibe in a certain way. If I try to force anything but it won’t work. The greatest artists are the one’s who are the most themselves.
What is the best piece of advice that you can pass along to someone who wants to pursue a career in the music industry’s current climate?
Understand your goals and manages your expectations. Working/playing in music can be cool but it also is not a lifestyle that people who expect to make substantial money should be a part of. Leave it be for those who love it. This isn’t about who has the thickest wallet.
In your opinion, what does the future hold for Little Bombs? Both long term and short?
In MY opinion it is going to be an interesting next 6-12 months. Hopefully this release will give us legs to stand on and get out there to play for all of the lovely humans in the world. Hopefully my opinion is shared with others!
Where are the best places for fans to catch up with you and learn more about the band online?
Check out our xanga page. We also have a weekly Yahoo! chatroom. But for those who can’t appreciate traditional internet practice, head to Twitter (@littlebombs) or Facebook (Facebook.com/littlebombsmusic).
Anything you want to tell your fans before we let you go?
Will you still love me when I’m in my carbohydrate, sequined-jumpsuit, young-girls-in-white-cotton-panties, waking-up-in-a-pool-of-your-own-vomit, bloated-purple-dead-on-a-toilet phase?
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.