Feature for The Mill magazine:
If Ladbrokes were to offer odds on the next unsigned Scottish band to ‘make it’, one of the favourites would surely be the Little Kicks. The Aberdeen quartet have steadily built their reputation over the past few years, playing to packed tents at the T in the Park and Connect festivals and supporting bands of the calibre of Editors, Glasvegas and Maximo Park.
Having already achieved a certain degree of success, I asked lead singer Steven Milne whether he thought the bookies could be paying out (metaphorically at least) anytime soon. “Maybe, hopefully, but who knows,” he says. “We’re a pretty mainstream act but we’re under no illusions that EMI will start banging on our door, we just play music we enjoy and enjoy playing it live. And I guess it depends on what people judge as success. If we play gigs out of town and put together a CD and people come to shows and buy it – I’ll feel like we are achieving something.”
Unlike the stereotypical unsigned band of mates in it for the adulation of the local pub scene, the Kicks have higher ambitions, and maintain a strong work ethic: “We love playing so we used to say yes to everything but lately we’ve been stricter and turned a lot of things down – sometimes with gritted teeth. I write about three songs a week but sometimes don’t finish those songs quickly. Lately I’ve been taking ideas in earlier and we’re racking them up faster than ever.”
The Little Kicks make – in their own words –”tight, melodic, pop-indie-disco songs that are predominantly about love, life and loss”, although when I put it to Milne that the songs already sound like the finished articles, he’s surprised by this reaction: “Funny you should say that as until recently we have never been satisfied with our recordings. I have a constant cold so I often have a nightmare with vocals. We put a lot of pressure on each other to play well on the takes – sometimes too much pressure and you need to take a break before tensions get high. It’s good to be like that though – it means you all care.”
But creative tensions are unlikely to cause this tight-knit group any problems. Milne sums up their motivation simply: “The day we stop enjoying it is when we stop, and I think that’s a long time away.”
With a debut album and single planned for 2009, now’s the time to place your bets.
The Little Kicks play Limbo @ The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh on 26 March and the ABC2, Glasgow on 27 May