This past week I was able to have an in-depth conversation with Colin Dieden, who has launched a new project called Little Hurt. Colin discussed his decision to leave his previous band (The Mowgli’s), how his new EP is coming together, and what the future looks like in this band in terms of touring plans and creating a grassroots campaign of getting the word out about Little Hurt.
I’m here with Colin Dieden of Little Hurt. Thank you for your time today! After nearly a decade of being with The Mowgli’s, why did you feel the time was right to start this new project?
Well, I think the time was probably right a long time ago, but it took me a long time to sort of realize that. I was starting to write about different things that didn’t necessarily have to do with that part of my life and the story started to become more focused on me and less about the experience of being in that band, so I thought the most honest and the way I could best relate with my fans was to come at it alone so there’s no confusion as to where these songs were really coming from.
What do you find are the major differences between writing as a solo artist versus being in a band?
As terms of the writing process, it’s not a whole lot different. I work with a lot of the same folks, but I guess the main difference is that I have the freedom to say what I want to say and I don’t have to worry as much of whether or not it doesn’t relate to what is going on in my life. With this, I can say whatever I want to say whenever I want to say it and not really worry about anyone’s feelings.
Do you find it easier being on your own, since you’re basically the one calling the shots?
Yeah, it’s easier man. For some reason I feel a lot lighter and it’s almost like that motto, “You wanna go hard, go alone. If you wanna go fast…” You get what I’m trying to say? (Laughter) I kinda just want to go fast and hard. I really feel freed up and I feel like I have more dexterity and it’ a really nice experience for me to really do whatever I want and not feel tied down to any one thing in particular. It has kind of revitalized the way I think about music and for awhile it felt like I was just going through the motions. But now I have this whole new energy and new life that got breathed into what I do. It’s exciting to fall in love with what you’re doing all over again, and that’s what I’ve been experiencing right now.
You have been very active on social media and creating a grassroots campaign to get the word out about Little Hurt. Why do you feel the importance of connecting with your fan-base early and often?
I feel like I have to connect with my fan base since really there’s no better time than now. I think so much of what makes a successful band or artist is uniting your fanbase and making them feel like they’re a part of something. For example, I’m a fan of tons of artists and it’s nice to feel like you’re all together mutually experiencing this something. It’s kinda like why you have a partner in life or friends, because it’s nice to experience life with someone. And in that same way, it’s nice to experience that same mutual love of an artist, too. I found that a united fanbase is a much more exciting thing, and that’s why I make it a priority to connect with these fans and let them know that they are a part of something.
That’s great, and it seems like people are appreciating that and responding to that from what I’ve seen in your interactions.
They’re really responding in an awesome way, and I’m really grateful for that. It feels like we’re building some momentum, and I like it a lot.
Let’s talk about your new EP that features some great singles such as “Good as it Gets,” and in particular I really enjoyed the new single, “Better Drugs,” which will be released this Friday. Tell me a little bit about who you worked with on this record and why you are particularly excited about this collection of songs?
The first song that I wrote for this project, will be the next song to be released this Friday, which is called “Better Drugs.” That was a song that really made me realize that I wanted to do this project and I wanna leave my band (The Mowgli’s). The song was super important and integral in making my decision to do this in the first place. I worked on this song with Ruffian, who produced the whole EP. Cameron, from Twin XL who’s signed on the same label as me and a guy called Elijah Noll who sings for a band called American Teeth. So honestly, it was just me and my little crew that were writing, there was no Little Hurt yet, and we’re just jamming songs at Cameron’s and then we paused and said, “Wait, this song is really good. Like better than most of the other songs that are out there right now.” We probably would have written 100-200 songs just to get to a song like this, but everyone was like holy shit, we really have something here! But the cool thing was it was my story and it sounds like what I imagined I would sound like. Really, it was what I imagined what I would sound like alone. So from that point, we decided we really needed to make this a real project and that’s what we did.
What was it like to get almost instant positive vindication of the direction of your new sound from major media outlets such as Billboard magazine and Entertainment Weekly?
Yeah obviously it was especially flattering since you don’t know how people are going to initially respond to something new that you’re doing. Like, “I wonder what that The Mowgli’s singer is going to do on his own now…” and you don’t know if people are going to be lukewarm on it or if people are really fired up about it. For me, I get so close to these songs and I don’t really know if they’re good or not. I’m probably the worst person to ask if something is good or not, and I wrote them! When people tell me that they are actually good, I really have no choice but to believe them. (Laughter)
After this EP is released, do you anticipate venturing out on tour in support of the record?
I do, I actually just signed with an agent a couple days ago and so that is definitely something that’s in the works. People are working as we speak on getting some type of tour going. Not sure exactly what it’s going to look like, but I do know that it’s on the horizon.
Would you start with headlining shows right off the bat, or work up to new audiences with supporting other acts?
I would imagine my first tour would be a supporting tour, but that being said I don’t know exactly what my booking agents will come up with. But, I think it would make sense for me to start of with supporting someone.
How do you think the new material will translate into your live show? Do you have a certain vision on how you think the live show will come together?
There’s already been a couple of shows now with the band, but as being a solo artist I’m basically hiring people to kind of round out the band. And with that, there will be times where one person is there one time, and then I’ll have someone else a different day. I think I view it a little bit like the record. I’ve always been a fan of bands that can sound exactly like they do on the album and in my headphones. I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to do full new arrangements on things. Especially right off the bat, I’m too new. I want people to come to the show and say, “Damn, this sounds just like the record. This is also hitting me in the same way as when I had it on blast in my car.” I want to fill that same space, and I really just want to fully learn these songs.
I think that people will really gravitate towards this sound you’re going for on this EP and I feel like the live show that I’ve gotten used to from your projects such as The Mowgli’s will be just as high energy with this project. It sounds like you also have a strong vision for what you think your show will look like too, right?
Totally! It will still be a super high-energy show and that’s really just what I do. But I want people to see that I’m still the same person and not try to alienate my fan-base who came to knew me through The Mowgli’s. Because with that band, I wrote most of those songs. This is the kind of music that I make and just because I left that band I’m not doing a huge 180 and dress differently or do things that aren’t true to myself. That’s just who I am as an artist. It’s kind of similar to what I’ve done in the past.
Yeah, and this record has a very authentic feel to it, just from listening to it a couple of times already, and I wish you nothing but the best in terms of your future and your career.
Thanks, man! I really appreciate that and authenticity is what we’re going for.
Last question: Looking back on these recordings, what will you remember most from these sessions?
I guess the fact that I wrote them all with people that I consider my best friends. A lot of times when you go and make a new record, you start to work with outside producers and musicians. But we didn’t really do a lot of that with this EP. I knew who my crew was, and we kept it really close. Looking back, I remember a lot of conversations about making the songs more honest. What can we do to fuck people up, or make them hurt, or feel something? That’s something I’ve never really done before. This time we really steered it that way, because we wanted it to feel authentic. For me, it’s always been easy for me to write catchy songs, it’s being authentic that takes more effort. For me, I’ve always tried to write really honest songs that can be catchy and authentic all at the same time.
I look forward to keeping in touch with you as you progress in your career!
Thanks, Adam. I really appreciate that!