Litte Daylight Slider

Synth pop is here to stay, it seems. Not that I’m complaining. The marriage of indie rock and slick electronic production might be the best thing to happen to electronic music since the masses started realizing there’s more to the genre than techno. With bands like Chvrches and Keep Shelly in Athens enjoying relative popularity, this little corner of the indie rock microcosm is bubbling over with catchy bands. Little Daylight is one of them.

Last year the Brooklyn-based group burst onto the blogosphere with an arsenal of indie-rock remixes. It was their first original single, “Overdose,” however, that put Little Daylight onto the radars of myself and like-minded synth-rock lovers.

They’ll be bringing their tour to The Troubadour in West Hollywood later this week. Before that, though, I got a chance to chat with Matt Lewkowicz, one third of the trio, about a lot of things: touring with Bastille, late-night piano jams, and the thin line between corny and cool.

So I first heard about Little Daylight about a year ago. I’m psyched to hear about what you’re up to now. You’re in Columbus today?

Matt Lewkowicz (Little Daylight): Yeah, we just pulled into Columbus about five minutes ago. We hightailed it to a place to get some good third wave coffee. I managed to get my coffee in hand so I could walk around the street and talk to you.

You’re very much on tour still. You’ll be heading to The Troubadour later this month right?

Yeah! We couldn’t be more excited about that. The Troubadour is a little bit of a dream venue for us because I actually used to live in LA and so did Eric. Our label is there, it’s an awesome place to go, and we have a bit of a fanbase there. One of the bands we’re on tour with is from LA. That’s one of the cool things about hitting LA. It’s like a New York show but on the West Coast.

One of the bands you’re on tour with is Terraplane Sun, right? We actually had them on our web show, the LA Music Blogcast, a few months back. How’s touring with them?

Yeah, they’re a bunch of assholes man, I can… I’m just kidding. [Laughs] I love them. I really like them. They’re a lot of energy. It’s really cool. This tour is a co-bill. We headlined a lot of the East Coast shows, and then they’ll be headlining a bunch of the West Coast shows. Flagship, the third band, is from North Carolina, so they will be headlining a bunch of the southern shows.

There’s no hierarchy in terms of the power structure of the tour like there is for a bunch of other shows, but it’s cool. We get to see what the different set orders do for the crowd, and Terraplane is really energetic. They really pump up a crowd, and we’ve followed them a few times in the past couple shows, and it’s been really cool to get right on stage after them. They’re just pros at getting a crowd involved.

Have you been on tour before?

We have. This is the longest tour we’ve been on. Probably the most significant one we did was with Bastille. That was a real run; it was just a little bit shorter than this one. We did a bunch of shows on the West Coast, some in Canada, and some on the East Coast. That was a really cool, really good tour. That was right in the middle of Bastille starting to get big in the US.

Yeah, and they’re huge now.

It was literally like during the month we were on the road with them. It went from them being kind of a buzzy band, which is always kind of exciting, to being a fucking huge band now. For us it was really, really cool. Couldn’t have been better.

But even Little Daylight has gotten a solid buzz. I first heard you guys on the Hype Machine. The song “Overdose” really took off after it hit number one.

“Overdose” has definitely been our mainstay for now. Although we still send stuff up to the Hype Machine every once in a while, “Overdose” has definitely been our main guy.

That was totally unexpected. We put “Overdose” out really early in our existence as a band; it was basically the first original song we put out. We were working on originals and remixes concurrently and had put a few of the remixes out just to test the blog waters, but really the whole time we were working up to our original releases. We’d been meaning to do that beyond all else.

When we put out “Overdose,” it shocked us. That thing just took off in a way we never expected, like, “Oh, shit, we’ve got more work to do now. We have to continue following this up. We’ve got to start getting on tour. We’ve got to get our live show together…” It was like the gears were turning a lot faster than we ever thought.

I think the remixes are also interesting. Little Daylight does a lot of remixes, but you’ve also taken on this live show aspect.

A lot of groups do that. There are a couple different ways that people are doing it. You’ve got The Knocks and the RAC version of it where they started purely as remixers, and because they were getting so popular as remixers, it occurred to them that it would be worth it to start writing songs and start producing songs and be a live touring act. I think part of being a musician or being a part of a band is saying, “OK, what’s the next step? How do we make this bigger and better?” I think for those guys, it was the next step.

For us, it’s funny because we were a bit of a hybrid. We always knew we were going to be a live band. We always knew we were going to put out our own records, focus on Nikki being the lead singer, write songs – these things were always extremely important to us, but the remixing stuff was the easier way of starting off. It was the first era for us.

I think some people kind of thought, “Oh, this is another remix group who also has some songs.” No one knew what to make of us right at the beginning. That’s a part of our existence, of our project. We do remixes, we do originals, and they both work with each other very well. It’s just two sides of the same coin.

How’d you guys get together in the first place?

There’s three of us. Me [Matt], Eric, and Nikki. Eric and I grew up together. We’ve been making music since we’ve been little kids. We’ve done a lot of different projects together. I’ve produced a lot of stuff with him. He’s produced a lot of stuff with me. It’s just gone back and forth.

Nikki actually dated a friend of ours. We both grew up in New Jersey, and Nikki is from Rochester, New York. Kinda early on we started collaborating with her. Actually, the first time I ever met Nikki was around a piano. We had some kind of epic all-night party where the two of us were sitting around a piano going back and forth between D major and D minor thinking we were brilliant artists.

It was humble beginnings, and we had a long way to go, but the three of us have been working on music together for a while. We didn’t really want to formalize it until we had the seeds of Little Daylight, which were a group of three songs and a couple stabs at remixes. That was in the spring of 2012.

Wow, that wasn’t that long ago! But even in that timeline, you’ve already released an EP, and you have a new album set to come out soon, sometime in the summer?

Yeah, we’re looking at July to have Hello Memory drop. I’m fucking thrilled about it. It seems short, but it’s been such a concentrated effort to get that album out of our brains and through our fingers and into the world.

It’s funny. As you go from an EP to an album, even though it’s just 20 minutes longer, it’s exponentially more involved in terms of the effort you have to put into it. Quality control. You want to make sure it’s perfect. We got this thing done and it’s going to come out this summer. It’s a summer album, and it’s always felt like a summer album. There’s a lot of joy of life in there, but there are also some darker bits, so it’s not boring. I dunno! I’m psyched!

One of the harder things in music production is to have there be a positivity and an impetus to party without it being over the line of cheese. That’s something we’re acutely aware of, I think. Ultimately, if you sit down and listen to our EP or a couple of our remixes, we want you to be having a good time, but we don’t want you to be feeling like it’s a “stupid” good time. We want it to feel like a “real” good time, like what you’d seek out on a weekend, or during an afternoon of feeling low and you want to pump yourself up. Strangely enough, I don’t think it’s easy to do that. The human brain has a filter for bullshit, and if you trigger it early, people shut you off.

*****

Pick up tickets now to catch Little Daylight, Terraplane Sun, and Flagship live at The Troubadour tomorrow, April 23rd.

More info:

Little Daylight