Formed outside the Market Bar,The Little Mill of Happiness share a mutual love of Pavement, Tom Waits, The Replacements and Dinosaur Jr. The band consists of Steve Obern, Matt Campbell, Pete MacDonald, Willie Macaskill, Ali Brown and Craig Aitkenhead and have a host of gigs upcoming. We were lucky enough to get the band to answer a few of our questions
The band’s name conjures up all kinds of imagery, can you tell us about where the name came from?
The name comes from Saint Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes fame. She once described the home that she was raised in as a ‘little mill of happiness’. The name was only intended to be used as a possible title for the EP but for reasons that are deeply rooted in excessive alcohol the name became more like a collective noun, like a murder of crows. There is a fey, twee quality to the name that we have all come to love and enjoy. Its enormous fun turning up to a venue and an audience expects to hear a Cliff Richard tribute act!
While we are talking about origins, the band has been described as a super group and it certainly is an amalgamation of the great and the good of the local music scene, can you tell us a little about the background of the individuals in the band?
We have all played in various bands in the past and knew who each other were through the local scene. We got together because we enjoyed each others music but wanted to try create something different. Our previous bands have all been different to each others, so it makes The Little Mill of Happiness a really exciting band to play in. We got together sometime ago, but have worked really hard behind closed doors to create a volume of material. We are seeing the EP and future recordings as a fresh outlet.
The first EP from the band is just around the corner, can you tell us how the recording has come along and what we should expect from the release?
The EP was recorded at GRID Audio earlier on in the year. It was engineered by Gareth Ince and produced by Gareth and TLMOH. The EP should be out by the end of August 2011. It’s a 5 track EP and we are giving away a free track over on www.thelittlemillofhappiness.co.uk in exchange for an email address. (We promise not to spam.)
You have got a slot on the Bella fringe and for the festival itself, how important is Belladrum to you guys?
Bella is pretty much in the blood of all those in the band. It’s provided the venue for memorable gigs for all of us both watching and playing. The best thing about Bella is that it doesn’t feel like a festival. Therefore the things that usually go for you at festivals don’t apply at Bella because there appears to be only room for local community harmony. It has more in common with a village fete.
You are also playing the Summer Showcase at the Iron Works, have you managed to see or hear any of the other acts on the bill?
We have seen KOBI several years ago and we are looking forward to seeing them play again. We are really looking forward to playing this gig.
For people that have not heard you, what track best represents you and why?
We’d say “The Pioneer” or “Antonio’s Red Star (Villa Boas)”. There seems to be a pop sensibility and dynamic in our wee outfit that is demonstrated on those two numbers. If we were to describe the band to someone from outer space, we’d probably show them one of these tracks.
Have you got anything to plug?
Our new website has just been launched, with videos and a free track. We’ll keep our news/blogs up to date for any interesting news, if we have any.
We’d like to thank (and plug) Ladyface for doing some great artwork for the band. We highly recommend you go check out some of her work for sale (website here).
We’d also like to thank Marion Scott for being a champion of local music in the Highlands. She is an absolute star.
The Little Mill of Happiness are playing the following upcoming shows:
July 30th – Tartan Heart Fringe – Ceol Mor
August 5th – Tartan Heart Festival, Seedlings Stage, Friday
August 18th – Ironworks, Summer Showcase – 20:00
We wish to thank The Little Mill of Happiness for taking the time to talk to us and look forward to seeing them in the forthcoming weeks