Need a mood booster for your day? Check out the upcoming band Little Monarch who you may have noticed fluttering around the Spotify world here and there. I know I certainly have heard them once or twice. This Los Angeles based trio (Casey K, Lanita Smith, and Nick Setter) is everything you need to hear when you need something fresh on your playlist and something uplifting because we all need a bit of that in our day, don’t we? Check out our interview with the band below!
TYF: Since you are an up-and-coming band, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourselves?
Little Monarch: Sure! We are an LA based band made up of Casey K (vocals, synth), Nick Setter (Guitar), and Lanita Smith (Vocals, Keys). Our vibe is a fusion of pop, rock, and soul that some have described as “sun-soaked” indie pop. We just came out with our first EP in Nov. 2016 and are currently writing a follow up EP. We really try to keep our music filled with uplifting messages and heartfelt grooves. Songs that help whatever way they can to brighten your day.
TYF: How did you get your start in the music industry?
Little Monarch: We all have pretty different stories of origin. Casey grew up in Hollywood but also has roots in Hawaii. She comes from an acting, Musical Theatre, and Jazz background and first got into music as a session singer back in 2011. Casey has released solo projects and also has appeared as a featured artist and topline writer on various songs throughout her career. Nick is originally from New York area and came out to LA to pursue music after attending Berklee School of music in Boston studying guitar. Nick’s background is a session player and songwriter on both coasts. Lanita is from Memphis and came out to LA around 2013 to pursue music. Shortly after moving here Lanita won The Guitar Center singer-songwriter competition, which helped launch her solo career.
TYF: I think the way you three all got together to form a band is pretty interesting. What a small world, right? When you guys were first coming together, how did you go about deciding how you wanted to sound like, who would do what, etc.?
Little Monarch: It all just happened naturally. Nick and I (Casey) met at a Music school I was teaching at the time. Nick was the engineering intern. When we first started hanging out it was just casual jam sessions and messing around. Nick would create these amazing guitar licks and then I would start to build the vocals around them. Probably 8 months into us writing I met Lanita after a performance where she was playing keys. I thought that might be a nice addition to the stuff Nick and I were working on and then it turned out that Lanita was also a powerhouse vocalist on top of that. Then the sound just kind of happened. It’s really the blend between all of our unique tastes and styles as writers and singers.
TYF: Congrats on releasing your EP last year. What was the process for that like since you all have projects of your own on top of being in a band?
Little Monarch: In one word, Hectic, but we got it done. Thank God! Who knew organizing the schedule of 5 working musicians wasn’t going to be the easiest thing in the world? The main thing for us is always to keep the vibe alive and not put too much pressure on anything, but creating together and having fun. We are constantly navigating how to keep a constant stream of creation and inspiration going as a group even if our schedules don’t all line up perfectly. If some of us aren’t available then those that are get together and after we make sure everybody is up to speed.
TYF: How or when did you know the EP was finally completed and can no longer be touched?
Little Monarch: When we got a date from our distributors and absolutely had to be done. A mix is never really done, you could always go back and tweak but at some point you just have to let go and trust that it’s going to sound good.
TYF: Is there a song that didn’t quite make the cut but hope to release in the near future? If so, why didn’t it make it onto the EP?
Little Monarch: Yea there were a few songs. We will be including those and some other new ones on our next EP that will be out this summer. The songs that didn’t make the cut, were left out primarily due to budget restrictions. We are an indie band and are self funded right now so we have to be deliberate with what songs we spend money on.
TYF: What was it like performing for the first time on stage altogether? Did it take awhile to fall into the groove of things or did it just work naturally?
Little Monarch: All of us have a long history of gigging so that when we first got on stage together it felt natural. We really love playing our stuff live and everyone has an amazing synergy on stage.
TYF: As a new band, what have you found the hardest thing to be so far? Is it getting your name out there? Finding a name for yourselves? Was it finding your groove? Etc.
Little Monarch: Yea I think getting your name out there is definitely tough. Also figuring out how we can transfer the love that we have been getting on spotify and the various playlists we are on to our social media pages and more direct fan interaction. We are hoping that as we put out more music and continue to find and refine our own brand and sound those things will just naturally build.
TYF: Now that we’re kicking off a new year, what is the band’s hopes/goals for 2017?
Little Monarch: As we mentioned before, the new EP due out in summer is very exciting for us. We would love to start touring a bit and not just playing locally (which we love). Right now we are really focusing on the new EP and how we can elevate our sound and deliver a follow up project that gets our sound out there even more.