Little Man: This record breaks down the walls between fan and artist
Photo by Becca Sabot
When was the last time you heard a voice like that of Little Man's Chris Perricelli? Bewitching and hypnotic, the singer fronts the Minneapolis rock band with his magnetic aura. The group's newest album Original Face is full of nuance and smart construction and is coming out on vinyl due to a successful Kickstarter that included rewards of vintage shopping or making pizza and talking music with Perricelli.
Before the band's album release at the Amsterdam on Friday night, Gimme Noise caught up with Chris to catch up on why he wrestled with the notion of crowdsourcing and find out the meaning behind Original Face.
Gimme Noise: You did a Kickstarter for your new record. Was it difficult to crowdsource for this album?
Chris Perricelli: I had a difficult time doing it, but a lot of people were urging me to use Kickstarter to fund the vinyl record pressing. I don't want to ask people for money, because to me, on a personal level, it makes me sound like I'm unsuccessful. "I'm unsuccessful, therefore can you help me out?" I had a hard time getting over that. I think my turning point of getting past it was I paid for the this whole record myself. It was already complete, and a vinyl record is just something extra special.
This was a good opportunity for me to pull in my fans on a personal level. I was making pizzas for people; I took fans out on vintage shop hopping around town. I got together with these people and got to see their styles.I got to talk to a fans of ours while eating pizzas, and it was a great way of connecting everybody together, pulling people in closer. That was a good experience. It was a lot to do, but it was worthwhile. We made our goal, and we're going to be having a release on vinyl, so we're super happy. Once you record a record, you're pretty much broke, so this gave us an extra boost.
Why did you feel it was necessary to do special things for your fans with this Kickstarter?
I feel it's good to be accessible to people. It's great when someone admires you or likes your music, but some people have that separation of fan and musician, or fan and band. This whole record conception is breaking those walls down. Being with these people and connecting with them on a one-on-one level was important. I think those people found it pretty cool, and it was good to be able do that with folks and not be so separated from them. I don't want to be separated from people that helped me out. It's worth my time and relationship.
How do you feel Original Face captured what you're doing right now musically?
This album is a combination of songs we've been playing for a few years but never recorded. The other half was written specifically for the record. It just so happens they came together to fit to make this record a conceptual album. It works as a whole; you want to listen to it from front to back. The sequence of songs works really well.
The theme is this zen self-realization theme. That's been a part of my life for a while now. I don't want to say that's my identity, because that's against all of this, but I want to share that with other people. If people are interested in zen and meditation, then these are the kind of themes that run throughout this record. A good portion of it is the realization of one-ness. We are the universe and not two separate things. The overture is the welcoming of this realization.
Do you feel that people are born with that sense of zen, or if you're not, can you learn it?
You're born with it, then you lose it. Then it comes back to us. The way our brain works and the way we grow up, it's very ego-centered. In a way, it's important to grow up this way, but it's also important to see it for what it is and have the realization that it's not completely us. That's one part of who we are; I think the ego mind is necessary -- that's the thing that's going to be transcended. In that is what comes out on a conscious true self. Original Face is your "true self" -- what's beneath all of the concepts and judgements you've grown up with your whole life.
You had said you had been holding on to some of these songs for a while. Why was now the time to let them go?
They didn't make sense on the previous records. I write a lot of music and certain songs fit together in a certain way -- some just won't. Some get pushed away to the side. Then there's songs that we played live and never recorded, and we would have people come up to us after shows asking for them on CDs. This was our chance to put them all together and share them.
You have a pretty energetic live show. How did Original Face capture that energy?
We did some live recording when we were in the studio; we wanted to play it together, close, so we could collect that in one place. Being in the studio, time doesn't exist -- except when I'm thinking about how much money I'm spending. [laughs]
It's good work for me; it's healthy and creative, finding tracks and creating layers. That's good for me.
Little Man will release Original Face on Friday, April 18, 2014 at Amsterdam Bar and Hall with Pink Mink and Fury Things.
21+, $10, 9 pm
Presented by 89.3 the Current.
Click here for tickets.
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