Maybe I am a bit biased (as I am from this area), but Long Island has a massive history of producing some of the biggest music legends over the past sixty years. Mariah Carey, Billy Joel and LL Cool J are just three that are on this incredible list of artists who have shaped how music is today. Now, we are looking for the next big thing to change the course of how the music industry will be in the future. One that could potentially make those sorts of waves are a band named The Little Red Men, whose updated take on Indie rock could easily place them into the music stratosphere in a very short period of time.
Comprised of band members Brandon Gurba, Nick Granelle and Jaylen Petinaud, this talented group of young guys have already made quite the impression on the local music scene in and out of Long Island. They won Best Band of 2014 by Long Island Pulse Magazine, and have performed at some major spots to sold out crowds.
Rock is a genre that is having a hard time finding its place back in the scene overall, and The Little Red Men are one of those bands that can aid in getting it all back together. Their songs like “Psycho” and “Off Guard” read like something out of the mid to late 90’s era when rock reigned supreme, and they have quite a lot in store for the rest of 2017 and beyond.
Take a look at my interview with lead singer Brandon on how they came together, the funny way they came up with their band name, future goals, and so much more.
How did your band form to become The Little Red Men?
Back in middle school, Nick and I were in a band with some friends called Fully Charged. We really were just a cover band, playing rock songs from artists like Guns N’ Roses, Foo Fighters, Fall Out Boy, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young… stuff like that. In 9th grade, Nick and I realized we wanted to be our own artists and perform our own material. Staying with that band was holding us back, so we decided to leave, and start a new band where our original music was the focus. So the summer of 9th grade, August 2013, we started The Little Red Men.
Speaking of, how did you come up with the name of it?
It’s a funny story actually. Every time we bring that name up to a new person, they can’t help but ask. Here’s the truth: Nick and I had just finished a gig with Fully Charged, I remember we were feeling pretty bummed out, because we knew the band wouldn’t last much longer. In the car ride back home, my dad wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, and the dashboard icon was blinking and sounding off. We all thought this was pretty funny, so Nick asked him, “Why don’t you wear your seatbelt?” and my dad said, “Because the little red man keeps me company!” It was all very funny, and we thought nothing of it at the time. A few weeks later, Fully Charged was no more and we were trying to come up with a band name, so Nick suggested “The Little Red Men”. We were 15 when we chose that name.
No matter what industry you are in, there are always inspirations that draw you into the career you choose. Music is especially one of those. Do each of you have a musical inspiration that is bigger than all others and why them?
I can say for me, it’s hands down The Beatles. They’re the reason why I started pursuing this. I remember hearing the “1” Album for the first time on a car ride with my dad. I must’ve been 3 years old. From the moment I heard “Love Me Do”, I was hooked. I realized right away that making and performing music was what I wanted to do. That band has always been such a big part of my life. I know for Nick, Aerosmith was a significant inspiration early on. His mother is a big fan, so he started listening to them at young age. Jaylen started playing drums as a kid in church, where his father would play the organ and sing. What initially sparked his interest in music was watching his dad perform. What got him into the drums specifically was his older brother, who played drums himself. A big moment for him, was when he saw “Janet: Live in Hawaii” on DVD. After watching that, he just knew playing in a band was what he wanted to do.
How would you describe your sound and styling?
I like to think we have a pretty eclectic sound. I mean, the influences between us are so diverse that it naturally is. I think we’ve developed a sound that’s not quite like anything we’ve heard before. It’s hard for us to pinpoint what exactly we are, so we just make what we make, without limiting ourselves to the confines of any genre. Nick is an incredibly unique guitarist. His playing style is a perfect balance between melody, and technicality. Our drummer Jaylen has a Gospel, Jazz, and R&B background. Before us, he never played rock music in his life. But he is so talented, and his feel is so special, he is able to tackle any genre. It doesn’t matter what you label it, good music is good music. All I can say is that we strive to make timeless music that will be remembered and enjoyed, even long after we’re gone.
I heard your song, “I Won’t Be Far” and it is absolutely fantastic. Tell us about the process of recording this song.
Thank you so much! I wrote that song back in 10th grade. Nick and I produced, mixed and mastered that ourselves in our rehearsal space on Long Island. Everything but the drums were recorded in that space. The guitars were played by Nick and me, the vocals sung by me, and the bass and drums by our old members. Working on this song really helped Nick and I hone in on our production skills. It took so many hours, and a lot of hard work, but it was well worth it. We can’t wait to share this song with the world.
Will future efforts have the same sound, or will you be experimenting with other types?
Just as people, we are constantly evolving and learning new things about ourselves, our craft, and the world around us. Our music is really personal to us, so our music will naturally evolve with us as time goes on. We are always experimenting with new sounds, as well as listening to different artists and expanding our tastes. We never want to repeat a sound we’ve done before, we want to grow with each release. As a songwriter, I’m currently in a transitional period, and I’m busier than I’ve ever been, working on new stuff. I’m really excited to see how our sound changes throughout the next few years.
Do each of you have an ultimate goal regarding the future of The Little Red Men?
We all have the same goals really. We want to be as big as we can possibly be without compromising our artistic integrity. That is the ultimate goal. We’re not shy about it, we want to be the biggest band in the world. We’re extremely ambitious people, and we back it up with hard work, and an unwavering belief in ourselves, and the band. This comes from our faith in the law of attraction. If you’re familiar with “The Secret”, then you know what I mean.
Who would be a dream act for you to open for and why?
Honestly, there are so many acts we would love to open for. I’ve spent so much time trying to reach out to the managers of our favorite artists, offering The Little Red Men to open for them when they come to New York!
Like I said, our influences are so diverse. I would say some dream artists would be Paul McCartney, Frank Ocean, Arctic Monkeys, Brand New, Tyler The Creator, The Strokes, Basement, SZA, Kendrick Lamar, just to name a few. There are some artists that are lesser known too like Rex Orange County, Steve Lacy, Daniel Caesar, and Brockhampton, that we would love to open up for. Most of these aren’t rock bands, but it doesn’t matter to us. Like I said, good music is good music. We just want to surround ourselves with artists that inspire us.
Do you have a favorite spot to play at down at either in Long Island or NYC?
We really like Amityville Music Hall and Revolution Music Hall in Nassau County. We actually played our first headlining show ever at AMH a few weeks ago. Over the summer, we’ve played a bunch of places from NYC to Montauk. This year, we’re looking forward to playing colleges and house parties. Nick, Jaylen, and I go to SUNY Purchase, and if there is a “demographic” we’re concentrating on, it’s college kids. Wherever we perform, we strive to create an environment where everyone feels included, and everyone can be comfortable being themselves.
Anything else you would like to add to this interview?
We’re looking for a new bassist to join The Little Red Men! Contact us if you’re interested.
We are also looking for a music video director to collaborate with, and help make something beautiful. If you’re interested, hit us up! Our next show will be at The Tilles Center on September 22nd, as part of “The Sound” music series. There will be other great artists too, so come through!
For more information on The Little Red Men, check out their official website.