Interview: Andrew Vait
Updated: Apr 15, 2019
By Marika Justad
First of all, congratulations on Little Wins! I've been familiar with your other band, SISTERS, for a while now. Has Little Wins been in the work for a long time, or was it slightly more spontaneous? Tell me a little bit about the genesis of this project.
Thank you! It started about a year ago - SISTERS had just returned from our first Europe tour and we were taking some time off to dive back into home life and I spent that time writing a bunch of songs that turned out to be the first batch of Little Wins compositions. I was suffering from episodes of depression at the time and took on the narrative through the music and social media to de-stigmatize mental health and to open a dialogue about it. That's mostly what Little Wins is about.
Your single "Let Me Into Your Heart" is a big fat juicy pop song. I read somewhere that you have a big hand in producing and engineering your own music- can you tell me a bit about that process and why you prefer to do it yourself?
I started producing at the behest of my friend Nate Mercereau, who is a producer in LA and was the guitarist in Phillip Phillips' touring band the summer I joined them keys. I showed him some demos and he was like, "the songs are great, but you should really finish them" and so I just dove in and learned "producing" as I went. I produced and mixed both these singles exclusively in Garageband using only stock sounds and then took them to Andy Park for mixing help and then to Adam Straney for mastering.
I know you've been considering moving to Los Angeles, is that true? If so, when can we expect you down here in sunny California?
I'll be dipping in and out of LA throughout the next year, so we will definitely see each other a lot!
A decent amount of Seattle artists have been relocating in the last few years, myself included. LA seems to be the primary place we end up. What are your thoughts on this creative migration? Is there something in particular driving artists away from Seattle? Is this something that the music community is aware of and discussing?
It feels like the entertainment industry and culture surrounding art has shifted in Seattle. It may be reductive to blame it on the rise of the tech industry, but it's hard not to point a finger in that direction. Bands aren't able to afford to live in Seattle and tour, so there isn't much of a music community like there was even 5 years ago. It used to keep me up at night, but since I've started producing and mixing, I've discovered a renewed sense of dedication to collaborating and working with Seattle artists. I've got some really exciting things lined up for this year.
What are some of your favorite "guilty pleasure" artists or songs that you enjoy? Have any of them inspired your music?
I have an audio plugin called MetricAB where you can compare your mix to any song of your choosing and I always have Carly Rae Jepsen's "Run Away With Me" queued up. Also on that list is Francis & The Lights' "May I Have This Dance?" I don't consider either of them guilty pleasures though - I used to be more self conscious about what I listened to - so much so that I didn't link my Spotify account to Facebook like everyone did when that was a new feature lol. Now, I couldn't care less - I think there's something to be learned from every popular song.
Mental health advocacy is a cause that is clearly close to your heart. Do you think musicians face any particular challenges in regards to mental health and stability?
It's a very isolating field that is driven by exceptionalism and a culture of comparison, so if one is susceptible to mood disorder or mental illness, there is a big risk of exacerbating symptoms. We lose so many artists to suicide and substance abuse - it's heart-wrenching. A good friend recently told me, casually over ramen, that people who partner their identity with their work are some of the unhappiest people in the world. That sentiment explains a lot, and it felt very freeing to me in that moment.
Ok a less series question now- if you could pitch a TV show about anything to Netflix (or HULU or Amazon etc). what would it be called and what would it be about?
Congratulations on your upcoming appearance at Capitol Hill Block Party! Do you have any other shows coming up where fans can catch you live?
Yes! May 18th at Fisherman's Village Music Festival in Everett (where SISTERS played our 2nd show ever in 2014, shout out to our dude RC). I'll be headlining my first show as Little Wins at Barboza on June 14th along with Scarlet Parke.
Can we expect more music from Little Wins in the near future?