“I’m standing in a changing room in Topman doing an interview, can you believe that?” is what Little Hours member Ryan McCloskey laughs about.
Since the duo formed Little Hours in March 2014 they’ve been going from strength to strength – from performing live for the very first time at Electric Picnic in 2014, to getting signed to Sony and to supporting huge acts such as Kodaline and James Bay.
How did you two first meet and start the band?
We started around early last year. We were both kind of writing ourselves, doing solo projects, then we came together because we had similar tastes in music and we started writing our own stuff. It was only in March we recorded our first two singles, ‘Tired’ and ‘It’s Still Love’, at Attica [Audio Recording] with Tommy McLaughlin from Villagers.
It’s actually weird that we done Electric Picnic this year, because our first gig ever was at Electric Picnic the previous year. When we started and it came to Electric Picnic we didn’t really think anything of the band yet. We were just kind of doing it because we loved to write music and we loved playing. It was also around that time that our manager picked us up and saw something in the music that we were doing. Then when we did Electric Picnic we thought that we should start doing this properly. So it was after that that we got PR on board and we signed with Sony. It’s just been a crazy year since then.
How long had you been playing music before Little Hours? Were you in any other bands?
We were both playing in different cover bands for years. I played electric guitar in loads of weird cover bands doing pop stuff and some wedding bands. John originally played bass but basically only took up piano for Little Hours. It was mainly acoustic gigs to get by when he was in secondary school and I was in college. I was playing gigs at the weekend basically to make a bit of money on the side.
How has your live performance changed since the first time you played at Electric Picnic?
Oh god (laughs). As I said that was literally the first gig we ever did. I remember I was practicing in Dublin before we were at the gig and we weren’t that nervous to be honest but when we stood in front of the crowd we were kind of like, “aw, crap…”.
The live performance has come on leaps and bounds. Things like John becoming so much better on the piano has been such a help and then confidence wise, even talking over the mic. At the start – John will kill me for saying this – John could not talk to the crowd and we still joke about it now but I’d be the one to be yapping away and he’d be sitting there quiet. He’s the lead singer obviously so you’d expect him to be the one that’s talking but he’s come out of his shell and starts talking at gigs now so hopefully we’ll get a few more words out of him.
Over the past two years you’ve performed at massive festivals and venues like Kilmainham. Do you prefer performing at larger venues or smaller, more intimate gigs?
I’m gonna say we prefer our own wee intimate gigs. It’s great to get the support with Kodaline and Walking on Cars and that’s unbelievable and it creates such a good platform for us for creating a fan base. When it’s an acoustic and a piano and that’s it, it’s hard to beat The Pepper Canister where it’s just you and the crowd opposed to Kilmainham. Kilmainham was amazing, it was so cool to support the lads, they’re so nice but it was a huge outdoor venue and it’s hard to do that as an acoustic two-piece. It went down really well but I find it harder to interact with the crowd on a personal level than when you’re sitting out in a chill venue.
We did Indiependence a few months ago and we filled the whole tent. It was crazy. We were standing beside the stage and there was nobody there, I mean about ten minutes before we went on, and I was just sitting there like “aw, come on”. Everyone was like “ah, don’t worry about it” but really they were pulling faces like, “this isn’t good”. Out of nowhere it just filled up before we played our first song, it was just rammed.
Your debut EP was released a few months ago. How did it feel to finally release some of your own music?
I know why you would think that but the EP was released last November but we only properly released ‘Tired’ after signing up to Sony. We released the EP off our own backs. We just threw it up online and were like “let’s see what happens” but then Sony took it up and were like, “let’s relook at this, let’s send this out again”. So we’ll probably rerelease ‘It’s Still Love’ again – ‘Tired’ has been rereleased with a video and that’s pretty cool.
What is your favourite track off the EP?
The EP is actually split in half. John wrote ‘It’s Still Love’ and ‘Tired’ and I wrote ‘Crossfire’ and ‘Ember’. Last year if you asked me I would have said my favourite song was ‘Tired’. Now my favourite song is probably ‘Crossfire’. It’s just kind of how the band has kind of changed, different fans react to different songs as well. We thought that ‘It’s Still Love’ is a pop song so everyone is going to love it but it’s nice to see every have different favourites. I absolutely love the whole EP.
Little Hours were only formed about a year and a half ago. How does it feel to be so successful in such a short amount of time?
It doesn’t even feel like anything has changed, we’re just country boys from Donegal having a great time. It’s unbelievable. Sometimes you’ve got to be reminded of all that’s happened. I remember doing a gig with James Bay back in November, this was before he exploded, and I was seeing this girl at the time and she got me tickets to go see the gig and then the next thing I got a call and I was told I was supporting him. We were just like, “what?”. It was the weirdest thing.
To keep a level head you just have to remember that we’re two eejits and keep doing what you’re doing instead of getting caught up in the whole thing. Some people get too big for their own boots and I hate to see that happen.
Interview – Sophie Butler
Photography – Dara Munnis