The haunting tones of Little John and The Avalanche can be seen in their first single, ‘Clay Feet.’ With their second release of the track ‘Tree Stump and Rum,’ it is evident that through acoustic elements, harmonies, groovy bass, and even flute, the duo (Anthony Martel, Connor Carson) can be classified under the genre of ‘cold folk,’ with their mature songs of adulthood and love, and sounds that are similar to Keaton Henson and Bon Iver. They are currently working on a full-length album.
Zach Benard for CLASH: How did Little John and The Avalanche begin?
Anthony Martel: I had a lot of songs from another band that didn’t really have a place in that genre, and I met Connor [Carson], and Connor had the resources to help me record the music. So we started recording my songs, and having that bit of input kinda gave us a certain sound, and that’s how it got started.
CLASH: What would you say that each of you brings to the table?
MARTEL: So far it’s been songs that I’ve written, that I have just a shell of music for it. And then I get together with Connor and he helps me produce it. And then he comes in with his input and he makes the song more complex, bigger.
CLASH: What’s the songwriting process like?
MARTEL: It depends on the song. Songs that I’ve written tend to be – I have a thought process on something, or a way that I feel. And I try to put that emotion into words. And then that emotion tends to come with a melody, and that melody is followed by chords.
CLASH: So, for example, on ‘Tree Stump and Rum,’ is it not until you produce the song more that you realize what you actually want in it? Or did you go into it knowing that you would want something like flute and bass?
MARTEL: That is something where Connor and I get together and we just mess around with a bunch of different sounds, and I had an idea for a melody that I wanted, but I didn’t know the best way to represent that melody, and that’s where Connor helped me with that, figuring out how to make a certain thing sound the way that I try to describe to him.
CLASH: The rain sounds on ‘Clay Feet’ – will there be more of an experimental ambience to other songs? Or is that more of a one-time thing?
MARTEL: I think it really depends on the mood of the individual song and how it makes us feel. With ‘Tree Stump and Rum,’ it was somewhat of a spooky sound, almost ghostly, haunting a little bit, whereas ‘Clay Feet’ was a little bit solemn and rain is an appropriate way to deal with that emotion.
CLASH: Do you plan on playing any live shows, or do you think it might not translate well?
MARTEL: I think a lot of it would be just simple acoustic shows. I play shows and I play all the songs at the shows. I think it’s more of, we’ll see what the EP brings and if people like it enough then we’ll try to play out as much as we can. But whenever I have a small acoustic show or a set, I still play under ‘Little John and The Avalanche.’
CLASH: Who are your main influences?
MARTEL: I like to think that it’s basically everything that I listened to growing up, kind of fermented or rotted down into something that’s a little darker. I used to listen to a lot of easy listening music, like Jack Johnson type stuff, and as I’ve gotten older, I guess I’ve gotten a little darker in my songwriting. And from that, it kind of is like an easy listening version of sad music. I’d probably call it “cold folk music.”
You can check out Little John and The Avalanche at these links: