By Nicholas Jason Lopez
On Sep. 9, 2020, Canadian alt-pop rock act Little Cities released their eponymous EP, which follows up their debut EP ‘Friends Floors,’ which garnered five Music PEI Awards nominations.
The new EP explores the search for self-worth and what to believe in during your twenties and discovering who you really are as a person.
They wrote and recorded “Can I Come Over?” with Gavin Brown (Billy Talent, Metric, Three Days Grace) and made progress as they created the EP, before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic turned the remainder of the process remote. They recorded “Wasted” with producer Davor Vulama over Zoom and eventually, “Bout You” and “Ditch Flowers” were enhanced from their original versions.
Little Cities is singer/guitarist Mat Hannah, Mike Hannah, Josh Pitre, Mitch Gallant and Ryan P. Gallant.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with the group about the new EP and more.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Canada to someone who has never been there before?
Mat Hannah – Canada is a pretty large place to describe in one way. We’re from the East Coast of Canada on a tiny island called “Prince Edward Island,” where you can only arrive by plane, boat or cross an 11-kilometer bridge! We’re surrounded by the most beautiful beaches and it’s a little piece of paradise in the summer, but winters can be quite long and tough! We’ve been very privileged to be from PEI during COVID. I truly believe it’s one of the safest places in the world!
Music Bugle – How did you decide the name Little Cities for the band?
Josh Pitre – Back in 2014, Mitch and I were living in a crummy apartment, writing songs in a makeshift studio. Any time I thought of a potential band name I’d make a Facebook page and keep it hidden. Fast forward to late 2017… While recording demos with Mat, the topic of band names came up. I suggest “Little Cities” – a name I had thought of from years prior, Mitch liked the alliteration, Mat and the rest of the band agreed. It is too an homage to the small towns and villages where we grew up on Prince Edward Island. Coming full circle, one of those songs created back in 2014 turned into “Ditch Flowers,” the last track on our new EP.
Music Bugle – What was it like making your latest EP?
Josh Pitre – We were so fortunate to once again work with our great pal Colin Buchanan. Having him at the helm definitely put us at ease and made the recording process such a blast! We ended up recording in three different sessions, bringing in producers Gavin Brown for “Can I Come Over?” and Davor Vulama for “Wasted” to the mix a year after the initial sessions. This was the first time we had written a song remotely, as due to the pandemic, Mat and Davor collaborated via Zoom.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Ryan P. Gallant – “Trying to please everybody is impossible – if you did that, you’d end up in the middle with nobody liking you. You’ve just got to make the decision about what you think is your best, and do it,” by John Lennon.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Mitch Gallant – We have had to write more separately and bring ideas to the table instead of feeling it out as a group. Everything was done remotely and it was sometimes hard to stay motivated without being able to work personally with the band members. We were all very happy to start being in the same room again and spending time together making music.
Music Bugle – If you had the chance to go back to this past New Year’s Eve, what would you tell yourself about 2020?
Mitch Gallant – “Really soak up this last live show. Really enjoy this last drink in the jam room with the band. You’re going to have to miss this for a while.”
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for a band to stand out these days?
Mat Hannah – I think that social media is a great outlet to get yourself and your name out there, but it is a crowded pool of people with the same dreams and goals, so it is difficult to “stand out” per se, but in the middle of a pandemic, what else can ya do, right? 🤷♂️
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Mike Hannah – My interests have expanded a ton over the past few years. With Little Cities, I feel inspired by bands like The Killers, The 1975, The Band CAMINO, lovelytheband, Simple Creatures and Nothing But Thieves. Beyond that, I listen to a lot of hard rock, rap, folk/Americana and sometimes minimalistic classical music. The more I listen to different genres of music, the more I develop an appreciation for what that style is all about.
Music Bugle – What’s something you wish happened more in today’s music industry?
Ryan P. Gallant – I wish there was more demand from consumers for hard copies of albums again. As a vinyl lover, I love to play a whole record and have something to look at and hold in my hands. Streaming is a great convenience and a great tool for getting music to the masses, but I miss the intimacy of the physical media.
Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something that people might be surprised to know about you guys?
Mat Hannah – Individually, we all have a lot of drastic different interests and careers and all of us have made big changes in our lives and still find time for the band! I was a classically trained Chef and had worked in kitchens and ran restaurants and bars for 10 years and recently switched careers and now I work for an Auto Body Shop!
Mitch Gallant – I was an early childhood educator in PEI for over 10 years and now I coordinate events and programs for a town in PEI and am a recent first-time dad to beautiful baby boy Dax!
Ryan P. Gallant – I lead a group of IT techs for the PEI Department or Education system and spend my spare time updating my home with my wife and two basset hounds!
Josh Pitre – I have a large past in IT work and recently switched careers and help manage a great cafe downtown and make the best latte east side of Montreal!
Mike Hannah – I just recently left my job as an Advanced Care Paramedic after 12 years and started Med School to become Doctor Mike Hannah!