If you need fresh new music in your life, Small Pond Big Fish might just be the answer. This young and innovative band have been making waves in the London scene, landing themselves a sell-out gig at The Barfly and racking up gigs at a number of notable venues. VultureHound caught up with them to find out exactly what they’re about…
You describe yourselves on your Facebook page as ‘progressive pop-punk’. How is your band progressive and new?
Dhylon: Genres are really hard to fit on our music, and we find that progressive pop punk is the closest you can get to describing our sound. In terms of drums, guitars and bass we have a lot of progressive influence, but then the choruses and general feeling are more influenced by pop-punk.
Awesome! Have you got any particular songs or albums that stand out as influences?
Dhylon: It’s kind of like a pick-and-mix! We might hear something from, I don’t know, an R&B band that we quite like, or we might hear something from a heavy metal band like Periphery. We’re not trying to box ourselves in, so that’s why I think combining more than one genre is good. We can reach out to people who might not necessarily hear that sort of stuff.
Matt: For me, the drumming in Riot by Paramore has always been a massive influence, and also the new Issues album, in terms of more intricate drum parts. I’m always trying challenge myself to come up with more creative ideas.
Iga: In terms of singing, it would probably be the new Periphery album, Juggernaut: Alpha. They’ve got some very good vocals and have great range in their voices. We’re currently recording a song that’s stretching out the lower end of my range. It’s challenging but it’s good that I’m working on it!
Anthony: My album inspiration would probably be a mix between Deja Entendu by Brand New or What You Don’t See by The Story So Far. For those bands, the bass brings everything together – it’s like the glue.
That’s some really great choices! As a fairly new band, what do you think are the difficulties faced by bands who are just starting out?
Dhylon: I’d say the biggest difficulty is getting shows. The UK scene is heavily reliant on bands that can pull crowds. For bands starting out and trying to push their music across to different cities, it’s really hard for you to do that without having a fanbase.
Matt: I also think that booking agents should take more of a chance with bands that haven’t been around as long… Just give them a chance!
It must have helped coming from London with that great music scene around you though…
Dhylon: In terms of the London scene, we’ve headlined places like The Barfly and The Garage. One of those was a sell-out! We’re playing stages like the O2 Academy downstairs and we’ve played The Borderline as well. It’s just trying to replicate that success around the country, and that’s the big barrier we have at the moment.
You mentioned about your sell-out gig at The Barfly – what made it so special?
Dhylon: This gig we mainly organised ourselves, so we were able sculpt it into something we wanted, which was probably the best part of it. We were able to play an hour and 15-minute set, which is the longest we’ve ever done so far.
Iga: A lot of rehearsal time went into this!
Dhylon: We even managed to chuck in a few of our covers – it was around Christmastime so we pop-punkified a Mariah Carey song!
Anthony: It was nice to see that what we’d put in had paid off. All the rehearsal, all the planning, all the writing, everything that had been going on throughout the year, all the build-up to the gig, all the work, all the stress that had gone into it…it just paid off so well, in every aspect.
It seems like you’ve got a lot of other gigs lined up at the moment too… including one in Mansfield where there’s free cake?!
Matt: Yeah, originally when they put it up it said ‘free chicken’ or something like that!
Dhylon?: We’ve got a few shows lined up! The one that we’ve got up in Mansfield next Friday is going to be our furthest gig away. I don’t think we’ve ever traveled 4 hours in a car…
Iga: In a little beach buggy!
Matt: We’re just trying to get to some places that we haven’t been yet and expand as much as we can.
Some of your band members are still at college and university…how do you juggle this with making music?
Dhylon: Yeah, you can see the difficulties that arise with us having such scheduled timetables and such big commitments! It’s kind of hard to schedule rehearsals and book shows when there’s threeof us in full-time education.
Matt: Most of the time, if we’re playing a show on a Friday night, Dhylon and Anthony will get back from class and we’ll just have to drive!
Dhylon: We’re getting by with the current situation we’re in though. Come summer, when we all free up, we’re looking to get on a massive UK tour, booking maybe 10 dates in succession, which could either make or break this band!
Have you got any plans in place yet for your summer tour?
Dhylon: We haven’t got anything set in stone, but we’ve spoken to loads of places and we’ve definitely got an idea, which will solidify within the next month or so.
Matt: We’ve got bands that we’re thinking about in different areas that will be good to tour with.
You’ve also recently released a deluxe version of your EP Close My Eyes…looking at some of your earlier tracks, it seems like you’ve come a long way already!
Dhylon: We’ve changed so much in terms of both the line-up and sound, and we’re going to carry on changing until we cement a sound that we like. When we released our 2014 single ‘I Despise’, it was all self-produced. It was definitely something that we were proud of at the time, but it’s just carrying on that journey and progression to writing better stuff.
Would you say that your songwriting process has changed at all then?
Iga: It has changed in some ways.
Dhylon: The core elements of how we write our music hasn’t really changed though. A Closed Mind, Wastes Time from our Close My Eyes EP revolves around the riff that comes in at the start. That was like – ‘this riff is gonna be a song!’. Whilst the title track of Close My Eyes was worked on as a chorus. Our songwriting is more sophisticated now than it was before, because we’re chucking ideas back and forth. Before it used to be like ‘it’s done, let’s move on’, but now until we get something we can perform on-stage, we’ll work on it.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about Small Pond Big Fish?
Anthony: I think we’re a band that brings something new to the table.
Iga: And we want people to enjoy it!
Dhylon: Yeah, we want people to enjoy the new sound, we want people to think ‘oh, that was cool, we didn’t know that was going to happen!’. And come to our show, because we put on a pretty good live show!
Iga: There’s a lot of energy, gets the crowd going!
Dhylon: Yeah, we love our friends and family and some huge fans that we have…I don’t know if we’re allowed to say that yet!
The deluxe version of the Close My Eyes EP is available now.