“It’s always very nerve-wracking to release something that is personal to you.”
Fans of Melbourne indie-folk act Tiny Little Houses will be familiar with Caleb Karvountzis, the founder and frontman of the band. While he’s been writing music for six years and performing for five of those, his emotional intelligence outweighs his years, as reflected in the lyrics of their new album, Idiot Proverbs.
What started as a basement project with friend Sean Mullins, has since expanded into a four-piece, rounded out by drummer Clancy Bond and bassist Al Yamin.
Following on from two Eps—You Tore Out My Heart and Snow Globe—Idiot Proverbs marks a natural evolution for Tiny Little Houses, voicing the struggles of being a 20-something facing down the struggles of modernity.
We caught up with Caleb ahead of their national tour.
Your debut album, Idiot Proverbs, has already been well-received. How does that feel?
It feels really great, it’s always very nerve-wracking to release something that no one has heard before and that is personal to you. I’m just glad people find something to connect with, in it.
Musically, who are you influenced by?
Sonically we are influenced by bands from the ‘90s like Neutral Milk Hotel, Modest Mouse, The microphones and pavement; but lyrically some older bands like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Chet Baker.
Where do you draw inspiration from when writing songs?
A mix between reading books and personal experiences. I like finding interesting phrases or ideas in old history, philosophy books or the bible and trying to work a song around them.
How do you prepare for a live set?
Usually our bassist Al writes the setlist but it’s usually the first person to suggest a list, wins that night. We put our list together by trying to judge the crowd for the night or who we are supporting.
Talk me through the recording process.
We worked on 15 songs in 10 days and recorded the 10 songs that made it on to the album in that time. We usually spend quite a while writing and working on our songs so when we get into a studio we don’t waste any time. Generally, I write the base chords and the lyrics and the guys in the band flesh it out but a few songs on this record came from riffs or ideas of Sean, Clancy’s or Al’s. It’s getting more collaborative the longer the band is together.
What can we expect from Tiny Little Houses in 2018?
You can expect us to play some more shows and hopefully some more music. We have a bunch of leftover songs from recording sessions which would be nice to release.
Do you have a favourite track off the new record?
My favourite track is probably Drag Me because it was the most uncomfortable song to write sonically and the most scathing about myself.
And what about one that you particularly love performing?
I looove playing Garbage Bin live!
Have you got any festivals/venues on your bucket list to perform at?
We would love to play Laneway, Splendour and Meredith!
Catch Tiny Little Houses at The Brightside on March 10.
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