I have been speaking with Little Grace…
about their latest song, Higher Ground, and what its story is. They speak effusively about its creation and the sensation of hearing it on tape; what it was like working on the video for the track; which album the guys hold dearest – they let me know whether there are any gigs coming up.
I was keen to know how the band came together and whether they share a love of the same music; whether their base of Liverpool is thriving right now; what they have planned for the rest of the year – the guys select some new artists worth a second look.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey. It’s been good; busy, but productive/creative as ever. It feels great to be releasing music again!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We’re an Electronic-R&B band from in-between Liverpool and Manchester. We’ve been creating, collaboratively, for a few years now and searching for our sound.
Higher Ground is your new track. What is the inspiration and story behind it?
The concept of Higher Ground came from a true place at the time of writing…
I’d just come out of a relatively long-term relationship, and I felt that the last time we spoke was something that I wanted to document. It was important to understand that I wasn’t the only person in the world going through the motions of this at the time.
I met other people in the same position and, at that moment, it felt right for me to share my experience in a way which I could help these friends going through something similar.
The video looks like it was quite an intense and passionate experience! What was it like filming it?
After watching the director’s material and seeing what he was doing for his local scene, we felt like Jay Bannister was the right guy to go with. He understood our concept and also liked the tune, so was able to transpose our ideas into the video. We had discussed the idea of having passionate yet aggressive dancing (argument through dance if you will) and he comes through with Shameer and Anna, who both killed it.
The dancers work with each other regularly, so they seemed to be very comfortable with each other and the whole video is freestyled, too - so it was pretty impressive to see this dance just coming straight from the sounds they were hearing.
Do you think there will be more material later in the year?
100%. We’ve spent quite some time going through some intense situations and emotions and writing about them; so, it’s definitely about time we share them with people.
How did Little Grace form? When did you all meet one another?
We actually all got together, musically, when we were about seventeen/eighteen. It started off as a college thing: about five or six of us started writing and doing covers together then, as we all went to different universities, we stuck together as a trio.
Was a shared bond of music the reason for the formation? By that; did you all form because of a love of the same artists?
I think, subconsciously, yes. We had a relatively small friendship group in school and each of us had our own tastes; we all clicked initially with our love for early R&B and Soul/Motown artists. Then, as the years have progressed, each of our music tastes has grown.
You are based in Liverpool. What is it about the city that compels and attracts? Is it quite an active music scene there right now?
We’re actually based in the suburbs of Liverpool; pretty much between Liverpool & Manchester. We spent our early years around Liverpool, but now, we try and work around both cities. Liverpool’s starting to get interesting, though.
A lot more artists are noticing that you can be based in Liverpool and not have to sound like The Beatles, which is refreshing; especially when you’ve been trying to make something a bit different for a while – and, more recently, producers and other artists are breaking through. It just adds and assists the scene - and everyone is pretty supportive of each other which is great.
Do you have any gigs lined up? Where are you heading?
We’ve been working hard on our live performance in the run-up to the release of Higher Ground in a bid to portray the right image and story to a crowd when playing live. Whilst doing so, we’ve been keeping our want to play live satisfied by playing Sofar Sounds across the country to see the physical reactions of the public when hearing our material.
Our main priority, right now, is getting track two out...
If you each had to select the one album that means the most; which would they be and why?
Ben: John Legend - Get Lifted
I chose this one because I remember my college tutor showing it to me when I was about sixteen/seventeen and I was obsessed with it (and always go back to it). It’s just a timeless classic. I love John Legend’s writing and his tone and (just) the way that the album carries itself in terms of narrative.
Adam: George Benson - Give Me the Night
I always find myself going back to this album for inspiration or nostalgia. The man is a Jazz genius and this album holds some of his more Pop-based material. The main reason for this being my choice is that the album was always played in my house whilst my mum was cleaning or decorating. Even my dad played it in the car: an overall family favourite that brings good childhood memories.
Callum: The Streets - Original Pirate Material
This album was passed down to me from my brother; I remember reading somewhere that the vocals were done in Skinner’s wardrobe. That kind of independence for some reason really stood out to me, as it was the first kind of project that I’d listened to that didn’t have a massive studio budget but, somehow, had this magnificent, modern sound to it. As I grew up and paid more attention to the social side of the album, I then realised just how much of an impact on a scene this had.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Right now, we’re focusing on putting out music: this is still very new to us and a lot has changed within the industry since we last released, so we’re learning a lot as we’re going. We’re just looking to reach out to people and get as many people as possible to relate to our music.
Of course; it would be great to play a few more established gigs and maybe even some festivals next year; so, we’re just building up a profile to enable us to do that.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Ben: I’d say my personal favourite memory to date was probably writing this track, Higher Ground. Initially, both Adam and myself went to vocal a track for the producer of the track, Dan Casio. After a few hours of doing vocals and finishing the track, Dan turned around and asked us to write a song - and it was a lot of pressure at the time. But, around about three-four hours later, we came up with this track and I was super-proud of it.
Callum: Planning the release of Higher Ground has been something I’ll always remember. Our last few releases have been as a featured artist, so they haven’t been too hands on - but we’ve been able to work with other creatives and really work on getting the concept through.
Adam: As Ben and Callum both stated; it was completely refreshing to both have the ability to write and produce Higher Ground with Danny Casio. The process felt very natural and everything just fell into place.
I remember sitting in the room with Ben and Danny after writing the song and listening to the first draft; getting shivers realising that we would be releasing it into the world for, potentially, millions of people to listen to and thinking that, if the song benefits one single person, for example, makes them happy or helps them get through a tough situation then my mission is accomplished.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
As cliché as it may sound: just do you.
There is no time like the present; don’t wait around for the right moment because it may never come. You just have to trust your gut instinct and do whatever feels right to you at the time.
IN THIS PHOTO: XamVolo/PHOTO CREDIT: Robin Clewley
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
We’re really liking XamVolo’s work at the moment. The guy is a lyrical genius. We’ve also been blessed enough to work with the likes of Emily Burns, who is killing it right now…annnd there’s Raheem Alameen and IBEN who both have new material coming soon!
IN THIS PHOTO: Emily Burns/PHOTO CREDIT: Lauren Maccabe
Do you all get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
When we’re not making music we’re still working part-time but, I guess, making music definitely eases that. We do tend to try and go to watch/listen to live music to gain inspiration as well - but we genuinely have a love for music, so I guess you could say that’s all that we know.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
HONNE - Sometimes
XamVolo - Lose Love
Follow Little Grace