TINY LITTLE HOUSES
Having spent the last three years winning hearts and minds around Australia thanks to a succession of finely-crafted indie pop gems including ‘Milo Tin’, ‘Song Despite Apathy’ ‘Easy’ and ‘Soon We Won’t Exist’, Melbourne’s Tiny Little Houses are set to release their debut album, Idiot Proverbs, on Ivy League Records on Friday 12 January, 2018.
The follow-up to the four-piece’s first two EPs – You Tore Out My Heart (2015) and Snow Globe (2016) – Idiot Proverbs finds Tiny Little Houses growing up and getting more confident with where they can push their sound.
“This record is far rockier then our previous musical endeavours,” Tiny Little Houses founder and singer/guitarist Caleb Karvountzis says.
“It’s a bit of a jump for us but we’re more comfortable in our skins than in prior recordings. There are some dumb, lighter songs on this record and some of our most emotional and heavy attempts.”
As well as being the band’s most raucous collection of tunes so far, the album also highlights the discernible progress of Karvountzis as a songwriter. Idiot Proverbs presents wry reflections on growing up, finding your place amongst the chaos and falling short of your own (and others’) expectations.
He says, “I think the tracks as a whole are more self-aware. There is more humour and reflection in the songs.”
“Mostly everything I write is based on personal experience, it’s usually more dramatic when it comes out in song but the catalysts of our music are lived experiences.”
Idiot Proverbs has already gifted the world a slacker anthem in the form of first single ‘Garbage Bin’. On some of the other stand-out tracks on the album, Karvountzis goes deep on suburban angst and awkwardness.
The ferocious, thumping ‘Entitled Generation’ finds him questioning some of the shortcomings of his peer group: “I think we have less resilience than our ancestors. We were raised this way. Who’s to blame? I don’t know, probably everyone. The song doesn’t answer any problems but maybe there aren’t any answers in this system.”
Inspiration for the chorus of the agitated introvert hymn ‘Short Hair’ came from an unlikely source: “The chorus popped out of nowhere when I remembered my girlfriend’s uncle told me this story about a guy he knew who was a little uptight. They used to tease him and say that he liked to ‘let his short hair down’. I thought that was such a funny image and I had told him I’d work it into a song one day. That line worked so well in the chorus that I finished the rest of the song in minutes. Ultimately, it’s about feeling uncomfortable at a party. I wasn’t a very cool kid growing up.”
Absconding to Kinglake in the Victorian countryside in winter 2017, the band rented an Airbnb that – with the help of producer Steven Schram – they turned into a makeshift studio.
Karvountzis says that getting out of town to put the album together meant they could create a comfortable and homely environment in which to work.
“Being in a place like that means you don’t feel pressure like you do in a studio because you’re not as worried about wasting time, which would generally equal wasting money. It also meant we could stay up late or start as early as we wanted in the studio. Al (Yamin, bass) and I stayed up to three in the morning recording vocals for tracks some nights. It’s very valuable to have the flexibility to keep going if you’re in the zone.”
The album finds the Tiny Little Houses continuing their relationship with producer Schram (also known for his work with Paul Kelly, San Cisco and Loon Lake among many others) who was also behind the controls for most of the band’s previous efforts.
Karvountzis says that Schram’s contributions to the album sessions were invaluable in a number of ways.
“He really has an ear for songwriting and knows when something’s missing or when something needs to be ruthlessly cut. We all have input in the band so it’s nice to have another party who we trust who can steer a tune back on course if we get side-tracked. He’s also got a really good balance between pop sensibility and leaving imperfection in our music.”
With most of Tiny Little Houses’ immediate future devoted to taking Idiot Proverbs’ songs out to the people – starting with a national tour supporting labelmates Cloud Control during September/October – Karvountzis is happy to take some time before thinking about the next batch of tunes.
“I’m always thinking about new songs but to be honest I’m very content with life at the moment. This record feels like a huge weight off my shoulders as I’ve got the songs I’ve been carrying around for years out of my head.”
“I’m far away from the solo project that Tiny Little Houses began as but I’m so happy that, as a band, we’ve been able to push my songwriting to places that I never would have thought were achievable when I started.”