Interview with THE SMALLEST CREATURE

The smallest Creature

The smallest Creature is a compelling fresh band from Cyprus. Although the weirdest thing about them is probably the irregular capitalization in their name (yes, that’s a lower-case S!) there’s no doubt that they approach the melancholic art rock formula with an energy that’s worth noticing. With an album soon on the way, we got in touch with the smallest Creature to get the latest scoop on what they’re all about.

Before we really get started, I’d like to bring up the name, specifically the strange capitalization. The smallest Creature would seem like a typo robbed a capital S in the case of any other band. What was the idea behind that, if you mind me asking?

I wouldn’t say there is much to read into there :) I thought it would be a bit quirky to spell the word “smallest” with a small “s” as a play on the word’s literal meaning. I wrote it down like this once and left it ever since.

Other than that, is there a story or general idea behind your band name?

There is a bit of a story there I guess, and an idea. When I was working solo and was about to upload a demo on myspace, I had to post an image along with that. So I thought I’d post one of a small animal and googled the words “the smallest creature”. Right there I liked the sound of it and decided to keep it as a band name. It certainly had to do with my worldview then (and now) in a rather two-fold way: socially as a person amongst others and, in a way, cosmologically as a human being. At the time I was living in New York studying physics, cosmology in particular – the universe at large. This felt humbling in both of these ways I mentioned. In New York you are surrounded by so many people, each one with their own story, intelligent and creative or special in their own way, and you do feel a sense of smallness as one single individual amongst this sea of them. And then, on the universe, when truly realizing its vastness or our own smallness we are simply awe-struck. The world is so large that it’s really hard to even comprehend it most of the time. And it’s good to be aware, and even live by this premise. A bit corny perhaps, but true.

How would you describe your sound to new listeners?

A bit grungy for sure – not necessarily in the 90’s “grunge”-scene meaning of the word – but in the sense that there is a loose feel in the playing, it’s not as tight and as technical like say, heavy metal. And rather minimal too, there are no excessive guitar solos or riffs, the idea is to give way mostly to the lyrical melody while having a hard rock sound and that power and loudness.

What’s the story behind the formation of The smallest Creature?

The name came about while I was a solo-act as I mentioned, but then it flourished as a trio after I reconnected with Stephanos and Iacovos, long-time friends and former bandmates.

You’re currently working on a TBA full-length; in the meantime you’ve released some singles for prospective fans to sink into. What can you say about these singles?

I think they are engaging to a decend extend as a first hearing sample of the band. And they do represent a bit the sentimental range that the whole album covers; Enchanting and Copenhagen have a more pop-like feel, more relatable melody in a sense, while Reboot and Spring are more of deep-cuts, hinting at something a bit darker if you like.

What’s the process behind writing a song for The smallest Creature?

I typically come up with the general idea, the chords and vocal melody, but it’s  when we play them together that they get defined as songs. The structure and vibe come largely from the bass and drums as Steph and Iacovos put it together. Lyrics usually come at the end.

What can listeners expect to hear on the upcoming full-length?

I think every song has a bit of its own character, and a bit of a hook to sing along :) Some more intense, some lighter. I do like the final sound, a bit raw and not overproduced.

What is the music scene in Cyprus like? It’s not a scene many people abroad are knowledgeable in.

I would say the whole country is sort of like a medium-size city in the US. You have a little of a lot, niche bands, jazz, blues, world music, heavy metal, rock, acoustic solo acts, cover bands and originals, electronic/dance, quite a few dozen acts throughout the country overall. It’s definitely growing and that’s a good thing. There is more local production lately, studios being set up, bigger venues over time, and some festivals that keep getting more popular. We could do better over time, it’s an inviting place I think, weatherwise at least, so we could attract bigger events, maybe bigger bands from abroad too.

What advice would you impart to other musicians, either from a technical or creative standpoint?

I am not sure if I am in a position to give advice, but if I had to, I’d say that I think every musician knows about this pure-er place in them, where it all stems from after all, and the most important thing is to hold on to that no matter the circumstances, in my humble opinion. Maybe I am talking about the simple raw fascination with music, and in the end that’s what keeps one driven to work on their craft and create. I am saying this because often, doing music involves a lot of dealing with not-music, be it a day job to support yourself, or music-business issues, and you have to smoothly wave through that.

What is the live experience with The smallest Creature like? Is it any different from bands you’ve played in the past?

It is surely something different and more special with the guys, as we’ve been really close as friends and musicians forever, and we bond and blend seamlessly when playing.

Any plans for a potential tour in the future?

Not at the moment, but there could be something locally soon.

What have you been listening to these days? Anything you might recommend?

I am always amazed by how much good music lies there amongst the noise of new media these days. And also constantly amazed by my own unawareness in the end. Check out Aloric for example, some sort of marvel of Radiohead meets Sigur Ros, or on the heavier rock front something like Defy The Ocean, their latest EP Elderflower is great. Other than browsing on newer things, I always listen to the work, newer or older, from long-loved bands, like say, the Eels.

What are your ultimate hopes for The smallest Creature as a band and creative project?

I think like most musicians, the ultimate hope is to stay creative and keep deriving from what working with music has to offer.

Anything you may want to add?

I just really want to thank you for the interview, and also mention that at this point the release date for the album, named “Million”, is set for November 18. One can stay tuned with us on social media or via thesmallestcreature.com

Thanks for taking the time to answer this interview.

You are very welcome, and thank you again for putting this together.

Links:

https://soundcloud.com/thesmallestcreature

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