Little Red rock it in Byron Bay
LAST year’s That Festival in Cabarita was interesting for Little Red drummer Taka Honda, who giggled at his memory of seeing people having sex backstage.
It’s nice to know the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle hasn’t affected Honda’s sense of decency, nor his sense of self when he ventures home.
Honda is one-fifth of the Melbourne band, which is having a run of success since the release of their sophomore album Midnight Remember.
The first single, Rock It, landed at No.2 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 for last year, while the album debuted at No.5 on the ARIA charts. Their previous album, Listen To Little Red (2008), put them on the map with singles Coca Cola, Waiting and Witch Doctor.
They’ve scored slots on some of the biggest festivals in Australia, including Splendour in the Grass and Big Day Out, with their pop-harmonies winning them fans everywhere.
Band members Adrian Beltrame, Dominic Byrne, Quang Dinh, Tom Hartney and Honda have been touring the world and recently returned from a brief trip to Tokyo, before returning to Australia for their national All Mine tour.
While the other four members of the group formed out of two bands, they stumbled across Honda at a party.
Back then, in 2006, Honda had his life figured out, but it was in science, not music. He was, however, happy to change his path.
When I speak to him, he and the rest of the band are arriving at their hotel in Perth where they have a gig as part of their national tour.
Having moved from Tokyo, the biggest hurdle he faced as part of an Aussie band was language, but as I talk to him now it’s clear he has overcome that barrier.
“When I first came here my English was so bad,” Honda says. “All I understood was the drum beat. No matter what I just had to keep that beat.”
Having learnt that lesson, it’s nice to know – no matter where you are – there is one language people will understand. For that reason Honda doesn’t get overwhelmed by touring in non-English speaking countries.
“It’s not that difficult because everyone understands music,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what country you go to, if you’re in America or Germany or Japan, music is universal, everyone understands. That’s the beauty of music.”
While the rest of the band noted their challenges on their blogs during their recent trip to Tokyo, for Honda going to Tokyo was a homecoming.
“It was great,” he said. “Going back with the band was really good. For me I was visiting a lot of friends, too, so it was busy. I was exhausted.”
The trip was only a brief three days, but it was jam-packed for Honda with a day of press, one show and appointments with friends and family in between.
Making his return as part of an up-and-coming rock band has done nothing to change his status though.
“I think if we were as big as Oasis I’d feel like a king, but no one knows us so it was just normal,” Honda says.
For Honda, life in Little Red is his bread and butter, but he has no say in the songwriting. He makes mention in his blog about trying to live life without having the record company breathing down his neck. So how does he manage it?
“I just gave up,” he says. “There are two ways of playing music. You can either play for a living or you can do it for lifestyle. That’s how I look at it now. This is a job for me. At some stage I’d like to do it for lifestyle, too, but it’s always a choice.”
But Honda isn’t implying life is a drag being part of Little Red. He’s happy being the drummer and leaving the songwriting to the other band members.
“Too many cooks spoil the broth,” he says.
Little Red head to The Northern, Byron Bay, next Thursday as part of their All Mine national tour. Tickets $29.