Inner city Melbourne isn’t the best breeding ground for a Beach Boys inspired Motown outfit with matching suits; however Little Red ignored this and went about their ways regardless. So how did these swinging suckers find each other? Taka Honda, drummer and part time dancer reveals all. “Well four of us met up at high school, as friends. Then I met the bassist, Quang Dinh, at a house party. I’ve played drums with him before, he kept asking me to join band, bugging me come to rehearsal. Eventually I did and then we made the band.”
When they hooked up, Motown records were unleashed, the Beatles were debated and American Soul music was mutually appreciated. Honda describes, “We thought ‘Yeah that’s our influence, early sixties, Beatles, classics,’ also Motown and American soul music. We wear the suits and have the melodies but we aren’t trying to be a sixties band. People have to classify us a band and they classify us as a retro band, I guess we’re inspired by that era but we’re not trying to be a sixties band.”
Little Red may need a delorean but for now they’ll have to settle for swell harmonies and old school rock ‘n’ roll which has earned them slots at all of the biggest festivals in Australia. Something that Honda says is as intimidating as it is exciting. “We started playing festivals last year and enjoyed it. We had to change the way we play, playing at small venues we are close to each other but at festivals the space is bigger. I have to make sure people can hear my drums and I have to make sure I can hear the other guys; it takes some time to learn. Otherwise you end up not hearing anything.”
What the band can hear is the sound of success, thumping loudly in their collective ears. Winning the Garage to V competition saw them play alongside Smashing Pumpkins at V Festival then they recorded their debut album, with a title about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the head. Honda explains, “Haha yes, it is called Listen to Little Red. Recording was good; we spent three days recording but only in two sessions. In first session, which took two weeks, we were in another studio but we didn’t like it, so we left and went to the Sound Park. Some songs from the first session made it to album, like Jackie Cooper we kept that on there, but the rest was finished at Sound Park and Martin St Studios in three days.”
Bursting out of this studio session was the deliciously sweet single, Coca Cola, which Triple J flogged and Underbelly the TV show whacked (scuse the pun) on the official soundtrack which all brought the band a new legion of fans. “Yeah it has been received well, maybe not as well as Beyonce or Coldplay but you know, still happy. It’s infectious. Makes you want to get up and dance! That’s what it is about, well that and Coke,” says Honda. Despite the song being a marketing dream the band has yet to be approached by Coca Cola Amatil who are presumably too busy counting their squillions. “They really should call us, it’s like a match made in heaven. All I can say is that they haven’t sued us for using the name, which is good enough.”
It is this happy go lucky attitude that makes Little Red so popular, their live shows are famously energetic and their music is as innocent as a milk parlor in the sixties.
But the band aren’t content to settle down just yet with a more explorative release planned for next year which Honda explains sees the band getting horny and strung out. “Hopefully we get a bigger budget so we can get some horns and a string section and change the sound. Not so much soul music any more, something a little different. Next time when we do recording we want to do a bit more production too, get involved in that side of things.”
The calendar will be busy baby with the band hoping to crack the lucrative international market in 2009 but before they jet set, catch them at The Espy on NYE and at the Big Day Out.