The last time that Little Kingdom came to the Inverness was to play Belladrum last August, and they make a welcome return to the area to play the Eagle Bar this Saturday, the 15th of March. We caught up with Samir Diab of the band to find out what has been happening with the band, and firstly how they found the Belladrum experience.
“Belladrum was one of the best experiences we’ve had – it was our first festival slot we’ve ever played, and the atmosphere and environment we were playing in was just incredible. The weather was amazing for the whole weekend too which made it even better.
For our first 2 songs, there was a problem with the PA system, so after waiting for a while to get it fixed we just gathered everybody around the front of the stage where we sat and played acoustically to them. The PA eventually got fixed and we managed to amplify ourselves for the rest of the set, but those first 2 songs sounded the nicest.
We were the first band playing on the Free Range Stage on the first day of the festival too, so once we’d played our set, our duties were done and we could relax and enjoy the rest of the festival – Admiral Fallow, King Charles, Julie Fowlis and The Lorelei were all amazing. We’ll definitely be returning one year, if not playing then just as attenders.”
The festival made such an impression that they also put together this little video of their Bella experience.
The band has moved on from just Samir and Fraser Lennon. Once a duo, they are a four piece, as Samir explains.
“After Belladrum, we began recording one of our songs “Fortune Favours” which was probably our best recording to date. Fraser recorded a lot of drums for the track, and we added electric guitar to make the choruses a bit punchier. After that, we realised it was time to expand our capacity a little and add some more instrumentation to the line-up. We’d been performing as a duo for a year by that point, so adding new members seemed like the next step forward.
When we moved to Edinburgh last September, in one night we met a violinist/vocalist/guitarist, Eleanor Dow, and a drummer, Gary Cameron. Within a month, we’d rehearsed a decent number of songs for a set and began gigging in Edinburgh as a full band. We’re still currently looking for a bassist.
Eleanor and Gary make the songs a lot fuller and much more fun to play – the quality of our playing has definitely improved in the last few months since they’ve joined. Little Kingdom has always had other influences than just folk, but the addition of violin, backing vocals and drums to the mix really highlights these other sounds we have – we’re very lucky to have them both.”
With the new line-up in place it was interesting to hear what the immediate future held for Little Kingdom, and Samir was keen to keep us up to date.
“Since Eleanor and Gary joined in September we’ve been refining our performance, writing new songs, and more recently we’ve been recording our song “Bella” which we named after Belladrum (the song used to be called Festival, but Bella is a much better name.) We’re also beginning the recording of some music videos which should be finished, along with “Bella”, in the not too distant future.
We’ve also applied to play at a whole load of festivals all over Scotland (Belladrum included for sure!) so we’re waiting to hear back about those – fingers crossed!
Other than that we’re looking to write new songs, play lots more gigs, and just to improve as a band.”
With this in mind I had one final question for Samir and that was, what can the Eagle expect from Little Kingdom on Saturday night.
“We’re hoping for a well-attended evening – it’s a Saturday night so here’s hoping. We’re going to deliver a wide variety of our material so people can see how we’ve developed since last year. It’s the only gig we’ll have ever played that far North since September, but we’re hoping for it to be a lively evening of music that everyone can enjoy. We’ll get your feet stomping.”
Little Kingdom will be playing the Eagle this Saturday, 15th March, alongside Dr Wook and Shaped.