A grotty Friday night on West Street and I’m sat in a cosy corner on the Wick at Both Ends with Jim and Ross from The Little Million. These guys used to be Mybe (not Maybe, Miby or even Meby) a band who toured incessantly and bounced around the edges of the UK pop music scene. Flash back four years or so music changed, Mybe got a new member and their music transformed. We then flash forward to more recent times they became The Little Million.
A contradictory name it has to be said, so where did it come from? Ross eagerly starts us off with this and a history of Victoriana Britain. The name, it turns out is taken from the story of the great beer flood in London in 1815. Basically it involves a huge vat (the million) and a little vat (little million) that exploded killing people in what sounds like a heaven, death by beer!
Jim states that the term little million stood out, ‘it feels quirky, it’s about beer which we like a lot, it fits with us and we didn’t think we’d find something that’d sits with us’. Ross then brings up the fact that someone pointed out ‘it’s along the origins of how 10cc got their name (Google this one kids, I had to!).
Names aside and while sat chatting it was plain to see that these guys have got a lot going on at the moment.
They launched their first single, catchy tune called ‘You and Me against the Universe’ in March at Sheffield’s Boardwalk. Having signed a management deal and to a record label late last year, they are pushing their single to as many places as possible. The song has already received a fair amount of airplay, épée wielding Bruce Dickinson being one person who has touted them.
Jim remarks that ‘it’s a weird one relating to the first single, as we’re not expecting it to sell. It’s a very strange idea. It’s more about acquainting yourself within the industry’. So they aren’t expecting top ten hits, a million downloads or even world domination? Jim continues ‘it’s not about getting anything that the public would perceive as success in a way. It’s almost like a lost leader kind of thing’.
So with introducing their music to the world how would they describe their sound? Jim iterates the fact that they aren’t reinventing the wheel here…’it’s poppy, rocky, punky and bit of indie’. He also acknowledges the fact that it’s an awful answer as most bands say it, but ‘we’re just a fusion of everything’ Ross slides in the fact that this is a ‘cop out answer’ and follows with we are either ‘pop or rock or indie, we can’t work this answer out’ and then politely tells us to make our own decision with a case of are we ‘more NME or more Kerrang’. Personally I would say more NME but then I would change my mind and go for the latter. Jim adds that there’s not a natural home for The Little Million to sit, it’s somewhere where roughly in between. Ross then follows with ‘essentially what should be mass but appeal, works out as nought appeal.’
Comparisons have been made with Weezer, Maximo Park and the enemy, though these have been made on their live shows. Which both Jim and Ross confirm live they have a heavier and rockier edge encompassed in a high octane set. So while they keep on discussing this between them I sneak in and ask whether they consider themselves a Sheffield band. Ross affirms yes, but then no. ‘We’ve played in Sheffield a lot, but we’re not part of the scene. You can see the bands that are part of or want to be part of the scene. They’re a lot more indie or electro, which obvious as that’s what the most successful bands, apart from Def Leppard, sound like.’ Jim then negatively but with tongue in cheek, states that it’s the ‘kiss of death being a pop rock band from Sheffield’. As Ross then ponders and alerts to the fact that ‘because we’ve been together so long what we write is what we enjoy doing, it’s not a passing for or it’s not based on what’s popular at the moment.’
It’s true to say these guys have put in a lot of effort gearing up towards the launch of the single, not just with writing and recording. Alongside the song there’s a funky little video and an amazing website. Their website is purely spectacular given the fact it’s interactive with games, events and music of course. It entices you in to play not just the video but also find out more about the band itself. The first Webeo ever, so I am told. So how did these ideas come about? ‘The video concept was are own, we involved out own friends and it feels like we’ve had a hand in everything so far’, Jim goes on with the fact that ’even though, we’ve got a team working behind us, we’re doing a lot of work and because you work so hard, you kind of wish you got lucky’. These guys do in fact work hard, having a hand in everything from photograph concepts to the online video editing. Ross laughs and says that ‘Jim’ll get a name in the industry for being awkward, as he won’t let go of things’. With this Jim prospectively states that it’s’ odd to do that much work and still not know where we stand.’
Given all this and the pressure of uncertainty it’s true to say that The Little Million are in the middle of an exciting time touring a plenty, a second single and an album due to be released in June. Stuck in the midst of the early days in terms of the music industry all feedback, both Jim and Ross iterate ‘has been good, no negatives’, Ross then slides in, ‘well not yet anyway.’