Interviews: Little Destroyer by Indie Dan Tait

Feature header image photo credit: Little Destroyer Facebook

Vancouver Grunge-Pop Trio Whips Through Kelowna on the Let’s Hear It Live Tour, Supporting The Juno Festivities This Weekend.

March 23rd, 2018

Dan Tait

Photo Credit Shelly Vida

Little Destroyer is an East-Van Grunge Pop Trio fronted by Allie Sheldan, and she’s flanked by brothers Michael & Chris Weiss. Allie is an entrancing frontwoman, and the Weiss brothers are stalwart musical pillars. For these three musicians their career has already been a winding road, but since forming Little Destroyer a little over two years ago this trio’s trajectory continues to extend higher and further.  I had a conversation with them just before they sound-checked on Thursday night.

Little Destroyer will be featured throughout the Juno weekend in Victoria and Vancouver, so be sure to look for them if you’re in the area this weekend.

Indie Dan: Before I go any further, I’ll admit I’m new to Little Destroyer – although I’ve seen your name on the Ponderosa Festival lineup, and the BreakOut West lineup, I hadn’t heard you until I found out I was going to meet you today. I caught your new music video for the single Little Destroyer, and your singles on Spotify.

So, with all that being said – first, what is your genre?

Photo Credit Shelly Vida

Allie Sheldan: I think we jump around a lot of things because when we began this project it was primarily about genre-mashing, so when you inherently have that as your foundation it becomes a hard thing to define. As we’ve gone on I do go between just saying ‘Alternative Music’ to maybe ‘Grunge Pop’.

ID: Grunge Pop…

AS: Yeah, that’s one I’ve recently decided kind of makes sense, because we’re mixing alternative and pop together, and we’re so much live. We’re so much heavier and more intense than alt-pop, so when you see it live you’re going to feel more like it’s punk music.

ID: So with genre mashing, how does the writing happen between you three?

Chris Weiss: It’s usually a mix, and the best way has been when the three of us brainstorm something and come up with a loop and develop it from there.

AS: Yeah, I’ll do concept and lyrics, and these guys will have a track that they’re building and then they’ll say “Here are three or four tracks that we’re working on,” and I’ll bring three or four sets of lyrics that I’m working on. We can come together and go through it, and something’s going to stick. Then we’ll cycle that idea and once it turns into something then we’ll take that song into a co-writing or producing session.

This project is so much more collaborative than anything we’ve ever done before, and it’s very much based on the three of us.

Photo Credit Shelly Vida

ID: So you guys have all been at it in the scene for a long time individually, but how long has it been together as Little Destroyer?

AS: Probably two years, but it started with a year of figuring it out, writing, rehearsing, and then a year of playing live. So I would say, in terms of the band really existing it really started being a thing when we started playing shows [about a year ago]. It was so new for us to make this type of music, so we spent a long time writing and had to learn how to adapt it to a live show.

CW: We always get those comments after hearing our recordings, “That’s not what I expected,” which is great, because we want it to be a surprise.

AS: Yeah – and I always think that people have paid for a show, y’know? My mantra is respect your audience, and these people have worked hard to come out, they want to have a good time, so put on a goddamn show.

ID: So I can only assume that that’s a key to your current success. In a year of performance, you were on the Ponderosa Festival lineup, then you did BreakOut West in Edmonton, and you just returned from SXSW in Austin, TX. That is a rate of success that you rarely see bands get anymore…

CW:  And we’ll be taking off to perform a bunch of big festivals in Europe pretty soon as well!

ID: What’s that all about? How do you attribute that success to this project?

AS: I think it’s kind of one of those things. I remember actually when Bon Iver won ‘Best New Artist’ at The Grammys a couple years ago, and if you’ve followed his career he’s been doing it for ten years. Whether or not it was the current project or not – and that’s like us, we’ve all been doing music for our whole lives. And it just so happened that we did something on this last project that -…

Photo Credit Shelly Vida

Michael Weiss: This has cracked the code. It’s clicked.

AS: And it can definitely seem like that on the outside, because it is hyperspeed – but for us it seems like molasses because we’re like ‘It’s not happening fast enough! We’re all getting really old, fast!’ (laughs) We can’t keep up the charade of makeup for much longer! Don’t get too close!

ID: So are you guys working on another single?

CW: We have a ton of music currently on the go.

ID: Your single Little Destroyer just came out this year –

AS: Yeah, and we have another song coming out in April. We’re always writing, so we’re writing lots of new stuff and the stuff we’re releasing now is from that year of writing. So we have all this new stuff that we’re working on constantly. We’re gonna keep releasing singles.

ID: I really liked the video you guys put together for Little Destroyer, it was a very cool take on tech.

AS: Thanks! And you know what – fun fact; so that was made by Connor McGuire who’s an old high school friend of mine, but his dad is the singer of Trooper. ‘Here for a good time, not a long time!’ [Connor’s] just this amazing artist and he does these videos with us, and goes over and above with them.

Photo Credit: Little Destroyer Facebook

MW: He did the Rattlesnakes video for us as well.

ID: And that’s the single you dropped in 2017, correct?

AS: Yeah, we’ve been slowly putting stuff out, and we just have to figure out what the next move is. We’re getting to the point now where we need to have a record, or at least a 7” that we can sell at shows, because we don’t have any physical copies of music. We’re so DIY still – we have wicked management, but I think based on the era we grew up in and who we are is very DIY.

ID: I’m sure you’ll get some requests for them with your performance tonight, and plenty more in the future by the sounds of it. When do you take off for Europe?

CW: Two weeks! We’re playing in Tallinn, Estonia – on the Baltic Sea for two shows at a festival, and then we’re back home for a month and in the middle of that month we’re doing a release party for a new music video, and then we’re off to Wales, then through the UK and Bristol for a few more festivals.

ID: And then are you back in Canada for the summer, or…

CW: I doubt it… (laughs) I feel like there’s nothing, because we haven’t heard about it yet, but usually it just lines up and our summer gets full.

AS: What we’d really like to do is play Ponderosa again.

MW: Oh man so much fun!

CW: Take us back!  

AS: Those guys do such a great job of curating such a unique experience every year, so I know that they don’t like to double up… But if they have any slots available we would love to play it.

CW: That was the best vacation we’ve had.

ID: Well thanks so much for stopping to chat with me – I won’t hold you guys back from sound check! Good luck tonight, and on the rest of this mini tour for the Junos!

Little Destroyer: Thank you! We’re gonna go check!

Photo Credit: Gonzo Okanagan

Little Destroyer performed on Wednesday night at the Kelowna Community Theatre, along with Vernon’s Andrew Allen, The Boom Booms, and Juno nominee DJ Shub. This is all part of the Let’s Hear It Live concert series, put on by the Vancouver Juno Host Committee. They’re putting on performances in Victoria and Vancouver on the weekend, and it’s all part of a huge set of concerts that are coming to a head on Sunday Night, at the official Juno Awards.

There are a number of events going on for the Juno Awards – although hotels are booking up quickly, so you had better get on it if you’re planning on going. If you want to see some of the best artists that Canada has to offer look into the Let’s Hear It Live concert series, and Juno Fest as well. A number of all-Canadian record labels are hosting their own concerts in Vancouver on the weekend as well.

Little Destroyer Website:

Little Destroyer Single Video

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Daniel Tait is a driven singer/songwriter and composer with a finger on the pulse of modern-day issues and stories. Born and raised on the river in the Ottawa Valley, he spent his formative years paddling, writing, singing, and watching the world move around him. As years passed, he has spent his time travelling and honing his musical and lyrical talents, proving his mettle as a hard-working blue-collar musician. He is a story teller, with an aptitude for satire and political humour.


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