Little Red: music that loves you back

Interview by Joyce Quach. Photo above and below courtesy of Universal Music Canada.
Interview by Joyce Quach. Photo above and below courtesy of Universal Music Canada.

A twist of fate sparked a chance meeting between two aspiring musicians, Tiffany Lamson and Taylor Guarisco. In time, Kirby Campbell, Josh LeBlanc, and Nick Stephan were added to the mix, forming what is now known as Givers. The rest is history.

For Givers, making music begins at an organic state of improvisation. Songs are allowed to flourish on their own, band members get opportunities to show off their chops, and sounds end up blending together in new and inventive ways. The result: a debut album titled In Light, which sounds one part Mardi Gras dance party, one part romantic comedy, and all parts uplifting, infectious, shake-your-hips pop.

The group will be in Vancouver on September 5th at the Media Club, so make sure to check them out (tickets are $13 in advance, get yours here). For now, we sit down with Taylor (guitar/vocals) and Tiffany (vocals/percussion/ukulele) to learn more about who Givers is.

Congratulations on the new album In Light.

Taylor: Well, thank you. It’s like our little child. We love her dearly.

How did you reach a sound that really defines the band?

Taylor: I think with any group of people playing music, if you take your time and you don’t rush anything in that process, and if you trust each other, eventually you’ll find something that speaks to some place you have inside of yourself. In that way, you personally have a better chance of speaking to other people.

The male and female vocals on the album compliment each other really well. What was the process in figuring out who would sing what?

Taylor: We just flipped a coin.

Tiffany: Whoever could do the best back flip. [Laughs] We don’t really know exactly, just whatever was in the moment, whatever the song felt like – I’d bring a song idea, I’d obviously sing to the parts I’d written and same goes for Taylor. A lot of it was really natural… it wasn’t like, “okay, you sing this”.

With such a wide range of instruments, do you have to work through songs many different ways to find the right mix of beats, riffs and melodies?

Tiffany: We definitely take our time arranging the songs and put just as much energy and effort into each individual song as the next one. Every song deserves the same amount of love and tender care… each song has its own personality, has its own vibe and formula, and it’s own individuality.

Ceiling of plankton sounds like it belongs in a romantic comedy. How did that song come about?

Taylor: That’s funny. Every time people mention that song, I say that it should be in a romantic comedy… I had a classical guitar and I was just playing this dance-y, poppy, afro guitar part all day and I just knew there had to be some kind of song to go with that kind of groove. I had never written any song to that kind of groove. I just kept recording. Sometimes you just have to hit record… just let all your shitty ideas come out and eventually you’ll get one good idea. That’s what happened with that song.

How does being from Louisiana influence your music style?

Taylor: Being form Louisiana is like this gift. We’re able to be born in a place that is, like, all about dancing and all about having a good time. That’s why a lot of our music is so upbeat, so happy. It kind of speaks on behalf of Louisiana… Our music reflects that kind of upbeat environment that you experience when you go out to most clubs in Lafayette.

How has the summer festival circuit been treating you guys?

Tiffany: The crowd is so varying. There are so many different kinds of people that probably would’ve never gotten to see you otherwise. It’s just something that’s uplifting and uniting about playing festivals. It’s really refreshing. They’ve treated us really well and we’d love to continue playing festivals on the radar.

When at one time, successful bands were the ones backed by huge labels, the music industry has come full circle back to where a lot of stuff is found through word-of-mouth, now via online blogs and press. Do you agree?

Taylor: Totally. Before we were with Glassnote [Records], the response we were able to get just through the blog world… just people’s voices are a lot louder than it used to be. Spreading the word, spreading the music all throughout the Internet, it really makes a huge difference in bands’ lives.

With so much do-it-yourself music out there, is it hard to compete for audience attention?

Taylor: There’s more bands to inspire you, more bands for you to check out at festivals, more bands to be your favourite band. There’s room for everybody in the world. I don’t care how many millions of bands there are, you’ll find the ones you like and throw away all the bad ones.

What are some things you look forward to this fall?

Taylor:Just playing more shows to more people. It’s always awesome going back to a city for the second time and seeing more people there than the last… there’s so many things about the experience that’s really cool – keeps us in awe.