Interview with Lil’ Huffy

February 4th, 2014 · 5 Comments · By

Lil Huffy is a band from Harrisonburg that plays some awesome noisy rock n’roll jams. Last Friday they played a show with Left and Right and the Snowy Owls at the Tea Bazaar. I caught Emigdio (guitar/vocals), Landon (guitar), Jesse (bass), and Max (drumz) the next day to talk about Marvin Gaye, starting out as a Japanther cover band, wearing dresses (and other wild outfits) and living at a show house called “MyMansion.”

Interview after the jump..

What is the story behind your name, “Lil Huffy”?

Jesse: I have a Huffy bicycle, and it’s too small for me. It started as a joke…
Emigdio: Yeah, it has to do with how we met Jesse. He was traveling across America on that bicycle and he stopped by Harrisonburg. That’s how we know him.
J: Also we started as a Japanther cover band and mostly played songs from the album Skuffed Up My Huffy.
E: Every once in a while we’ll still bust out into a Japanther song during a set.

I hear a pretty big 90’s rock influence on your sound, but what are some older bands that have inspired you?

E: Oh, I mean Rat. Cinderella.
Landon: Michael Jackson.
E: A lot of RnB, a lot of soul. I like Marvin Gaye. Suicide

What contemporary bands do you appreciate?

J: I guess we all really like Deerhunter.
L: One of my favorites right now is Dirty Beaches.

I’ve noticed quite a few of your songs go past the five-minute mark. What do you like about playing longer songs?

J: I feel like most of the longer songs just happened organically. We werent really trying to write really long songs,  by learning the songs together and jamming on them together they just grew into something bigger.
E: I think a good example of that would be “Diamond Ring.” It was orginally a three-minute song but we just kept jamming on it and it ended up as a six or seven-minute song.
L: That slower part at the end was an accident that happened, we tried playing the song really slow and added a bit on.

Do you improvise during shows?

L: We improvise to a degree during the noisier parts of shows. But as far as practicing goes jamming is a big part of our routine, so I guess that has to do with how we end up with longer songs. We’ll kind of play the same riff for ten minutes at the beginning of practice just to see where it goes.
E: Typically I’ll show up to practice with lyrics and some chords, maybe a couple of riffs. We’ll jam on that until we get some vibes we like, fleshing it out.

I’ve seen you all at a lot of house show but recently you’ve been playing at more “official” venues. Is there a type of space you prefer playing or do you like things about both kinds of space?

E: There’s advantages to both. I mean, the vibe is always gonna be better at a house show, you’re right there you know? The times that we’ve had shows where people are really freaking out have always been house shows. Playing a venue is really nice too, the sound is better…
L: With our music there’s a lot of guitar parts going on, so with house shows it probably just sounds like a wall of noise.  But at venues the soundsystem will clear that up a bit. All in all I have more fun at house shows. I drink 40s and I dunno..we’ve been making jungle juice at a lot of the house shows lately so people can get silly wasted.
E: After the last house show we played  this guy came up to us and was like “People are trying to party man, just play your set again!” And we just said “No..It’s one in the morning how about you get out of our house!”
Max: I like venues because people can see me better. Still working on that drum platform at MyMansion..

What you favorite show that you’ve played?

J: I think the Macrock aftershow last year at MyMansion.
M: Yeah that was a fun one.

I was at that show!

L: Packed room. A lot of our friends were there. Everyone was crowdsurfing.
E: What clinched it for me was that “Boys Don’t Cry” cover we did.
M: It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing too.
E: We said “A bunch of people are here. Let’s do something weird.” We start playing and Landon’s guitar immediately goes out. It’s only bass, vocals and drums.
L: After that I turned my guitar off. I didn’t even play and just jumped into the crowd.
E: In terms of a show at a venue the Speedy Ortiz show at the Tea Bazaar was awesome.
L: Everything went well, the show sold out and we got to hang out with some really cool bands.

(To Jesse) I remember at that Macrock aftershow you were wearing a dress. I really liked that. I thought it was interesting because it didn’t really feel like drag. It wasn’t quite about making a spectacle; it was more of a elegant, classy dress. Have you worn that at any other shows?

J: I’ve worn that dress at a few other shows at our house, but I’ve never taken it on tour…
E: No, that’s not right! You wore it in Charlottesville at the Magnolia house show!
J: Oh yeah!

So why do you wear the dress?

J: Because I like it.  I think it’s kind of weird and cool. It’s actually very comfortable and fun to play in.
L: You wear pants under it though, right? Don’t you feel exposed?
J: No…it’s a pretty long dress. I mean wear underwear under it, I don’t feel that exposed (laughs). I got that dress for our Japanther cover set because we played on Halloween so it was kind of a costume, but not really. And then it stuck around.
L: We’ve worn some pretty wacky outfits on the stage. It’s kind of a thing our band does in general.

What other outfits have you worn?

L: You never know what Max is gonna be wearing. The other night he showed up in a onesie.
M: A few shows ago I was wearing a worker’s polo from a sharpie factory.
E: I have three pairs of these mustard-yellow pants and Max has a pair so sometimes we all wear the same color pants. For a while we were a leather jacket band, and that was really nice because you’d meet other leather jacket bands and immediately have a connection with them, if that makes sense.
L: And one tour we all wore these big bug-catcher hats at every show.

Why do like to get dressed up for shows?

E: It’s a show, you’re putting on a performance and it sets a tone I like for the space. People are mor down to get wild and goofy if the band is wearing costumes and shit.
J: We take our music seriously but we don’t take ourselves very seriously.

So what’s next for Lil Huffy?
E: We have a new set in the works right now, with four songs we haven’t recorded yet. Right now the focus is fuckin’ livin’ it and having the experience.
L: Yeah just play shows, record songs. Keep track of Max.
J: He just runs off sometimes. Chasing mail cars and stuff like that.

If he’s gone for too long you might have to replace him with a Roland or something  like in Big Black.

L: (Laughs) Yeah we were talking about that…that’s our real plan for the future.
E: You sweatin’ Max?
M: I don’t sweat. (Burps) I hope you picked up my burp on your recorder.

If you want to check out their music (and you should), listen in to Lil Huffy’s EP Old Volvo here.

 

Tags: interview

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 coogan // Feb 5, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    i just got turned on to dirty beaches and really dig it

  • 2 prostate cancer // Feb 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    This is a topic that is close to my heart… Best wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?

  • 3 james // Feb 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    “Ratt” is spelled with two T’s.
    I saw a Cinderalla LP in a dollar bin yesterday, the ladies I was crate-digging with were all remarking about how even the air-brushed hair-metal aesthetic failed to make those schlubs visually palatable.

  • 4 scarr // Feb 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    j.ford, “cinderella” is spelled with an “ella.”
    ooooh comes around

  • 5 james // Feb 7, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    oops! I do know how to spell “Cinderella,” but apparently my fingers don’t.
    either way, I earned that one