Interview with Jan (bass) and Rike (vocals & guitars)
Hamburg-based MY LITTLE WHITE RABBIT mesmerized me right away with their dreamy pop/psych sound ever since I saw them live for the first time back in 2018. Within these few years, I grew fonder of the band’s music and I was surely beyond excited upon hearing the news of the brand new release “Lowest Heights”. The record was released on 22 January via PopUp Records and with this one, the band takes their sound to another level!
Upon hearing the release over and over again, I had many questions and so Jan and Rike gladly answered my questions about the band’s sound, the new album and so much more!
Hello to you all! How are you doing?
J: Hi! Quite alright, I hope you are too!
R: Hi! Doing quite well and trying to make the best of these odd times.
Congratulations on the brand new release “Lowest Heights”! It has been on repeat for me for quite some time. It flows so easily and the melodies are very catchy!
J: Thank you very much, that means a lot. We are very proud of this record and are tremendously happy that people seem to enjoy it as much as we do!
R: Oh thank you so much! That is nice to hear! We really enjoy the songs from this new album, too!
Could you tell me a bit about the writing and recording process for this record? Was this a spontaneous and fast process or did you take your time with it?
J: A little bit of both, I think. We had already written and recorded two songs for the album before the pandemic started. Rike then locked herself in her flat in March of 2020 and came up with many, many new ideas and songs. We then tried to work on the ideas separately, as we couldn’t properly rehearse at the time. Later we met up, put all our approaches and ideas together, recorded some demos and went into the studio. The recording process was pretty quick this time because we already knew what we wanted and had almost all the songs figured out beforehand.
R: As Jan said, two of the songs on “Lowest Heights” were already written and recorded in 2019 (“Money Maker” and “Rusty Nail”). The rest of the record was written during spring and summer 2020, right when things already had begun to get weird and one gig after another got cancelled. I took my time then and recorded demos for new songs at home. As we were not able to rehearse at that time, most of the songwriting process happened via homerecording at the beginning.
Were there any challenges during the songwriting/recording process?
J: Obviously, the pandemic forced us to set the studio up properly so we could maintain the proper distance while still being able to record with the whole band. Other than that, the recording process went very smoothly. I think we were very focused and excited to record and it all came together very easily.
R: The challenge was of course that we were not able to meet and rehearse the new songs at once- but it was also an opportunity of taking time for a pre-production. During this process, I figured out a lot about how I want my guitar- and vocalsound to be like. As I spent plenty of time writing songs and recording demos at home, it was also nice to dive deeper into the process of recording.
I am sure anyone who listens to the record will realize that some songs such as “Hello Mister” or “Rusty Nail” also contain critical messages to society, which I loved! Can we say that the album is, in this sense, a message to society or are there also personal elements in there?
J: Again, a little bit of both. I believe that humanity faces many challenges at this point in time. Thus, we really have to reevaluate the way we live and how we treat the world around us. I don’t think we’re necessarily pointing fingers, but I applaud my band and especially Rike for taking a stance on important issues like misogyny and animal rights.
R: The lyrics of “Hello Mister” and “Rusty Nail” were motivated from personal experiences. Hello Mister deals with the discrimination you often receive as a woman, not only in music business. The song is meant to be a statement that people should hold against discrimination and speak up against those who act unjustly against others. The song Rusty Nail deals not only with the refusal of egoism and greed- I think if you want to be political and try to change the society for good, you have to begin with your own life. Questioning yourself ‘which products do I buy’ or ‘who do I work for’, for example, and ‘how can one personally do her bit to make our society or even our planet better’ may sound hippieish, but should be more focused on by everybody, in my opinion.
Which song stands out the most in your opinion?
J: Right now, I like “Slow Down Mister” the most. It’s an instrumental track and the last one on the record. It starts off like a heavy rock song and turns into this powerful wall of sound, like waves thundering against a coastline. Just beautiful and rough.
R: My favourite songs right at the moment are “The M-Word” and “Lucky People”. M-Word is fun to play and I just love the song! Lucky People is also fun to play (and I play my first guitar-solo ever in it… laughs) but it is of particular importance to me because it deals with animal rights and how Speciecism is a thing in our society. Many people are not concious of being speciecist, even when they might see themselves as “animal lovers”. Inspiration for Lucky People was a girl who talked to me on the subway about how cute my dog is. The curious thing about that was that she had real fur on her coat and did not seem to be aware of the contrast of petting a cute dog on one hand and carrying a dead fox on her hood on the other. Most people in our society are against violence, and lots of people do say they like animals- but how can consuming animal products become so abstract that one forgets that behind every glass of milk or fur coat stands an animal that was exposed to violence?
Speaking of songs standing out, “The M-Word” has quickly become my favorite…. but what is the M-Word exactly?
J: Thanks! The M-Word stands for the Molotow Club in Hamburg. It’s our favorite club, possibly the best in the whole world if you ask Rike and me. We had many, many long and eventful nights there. A lot of emotions, dancing, love and heartbreak. And a few drinks sometimes. It was just time to honor this special place with a song which reflects these experiences at least a little bit.
R: The lyrics and music for “The M-Word” were Jan’s, and I can perfectly go along with how he summarized the meaning of the song in this interview.
You incorporate elements from many genres ranging from garage pop to psych rock. How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before without all the categorization?
J: Loud but kind.
R: Lowest Heights is candy cane surfing on a multi-coloured wave of distorted guitars.
You have performed live online on January this year, how was this experience for you as a band? I can imagine that it is way more different than playing live in front of an audience…
J: It’s definitely weird. It’s still fun, but I definitely miss the people in the room. I realized how important the interaction with the audience is, even if it’s just a quick look, a cheer or a little bit of applause. Right now, it’s the only thing we can do in terms of performing live, but I hope that we can go on stage again soon with a real audience in front of us.
R: Playing streaming gigs is a great opportunity to get in touch with people again. It was wonderful to get all the feedback, even when it was just in the chat during the gig. Technological possibilities like this make the current pandemic situtation a little bit more endurable for a moment, but streaming gigs are no long-term compensation for real concerts and nightlife. The cancellation of cultural life still is hard. All artist- and cultural sector colleagues I know are struggling really hard on several levels. It is of high importance for people working in the cultural sector to get more acknowledgement from politics.
Are there any favorite albums that you enjoyed last year/this year or any songs that are on repeat?
J: Yes, definitely. “Punisher” by Phoebe Bridgers. She is close to being the coolest person on earth. Broncho’s “Bad Behavior” has been on my personal rotation for ages. It already came out in 2018 but I can’t get enough of that. I also love Caroline Polachek’s “Pang”. Her videos are out of this world, too. Great dance moves and choreographies. And Sunflower Bean’s “Moment In The Sun”. Just a single, but I’m anxiously waiting for their next album.
R: I love the debut album of Bad Nerves! Great sound and fast forward songs! All-time favourites of mine are Broncho’s “Bad Behaviour” and “Just Enough Hip to Be Woman” and The Growlers’ “Chinese Fountain” and “City Club”.
Any upcoming plans that you wanna share with us?
J:We will try to play more online gigs in the coming weeks. As soon as we can play concerts again, we will probably be on the road as well. We are also working on new songs with the next album in the back of our heads, but there is no precise schedule for that yet.
R: As Jan already said, there will be some more online gigs and we’re already working on new stuff. We also will shoot a music video to our song Lucky People.
Last words to the readers?
J: The heart of a shrimp is located in its head. Think about it.
R: Stay weird and eat more vegetables.
Thank you so much and hope to see you soon!
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