The origin story of alt-blues duo Little Hurricane never gets old. In 2010, drummer Celeste “CC” Spina put out a musicians-only ad on Craigslist. Anthony “Tone” Catalano responded, and the two started making music and performing together.
Two LPs and one covers album later, the San Diego now-married duo releases its third album Same Sun Same Moon in a few days, which showcases a somewhat different flavor than what fans are used to. The album’s lead single “OTL” (short for “One True Love”) typifies that slight break in the band’s sound but not its soul.
CC answered some questions via email about the upcoming album and touring over the years.
The band has performed at a few South by Southwest festivals. How was [your fourth] SXSW [earlier] this year?
Every year gets progressively better for us. SXSW is the most logistically challenging festival to play, and in our early years [it] felt quite intimidating. Now, we feel like veterans. We know what to expect and how to navigate the system. It has become one of our favorite festivals to conquer.
How has touring for you two changed over the years? I know you were famous for touring around in a small van. Do you still use that van?
We’ve toured in all sorts of rigs—from an SUV with a trailer to an RV. For the past few years, we have been in a sprinter van, which has been great.
I read in an earlier interview that you learned to play the trumpet for a few songs on the album, which is quite an investment and time commitment. Why learn to play the instrument yourself? And how did the trumpet work its way into your sound?
It felt like the easiest way to get the exact sounds and melodies from what we had in our heads onto the recording. It was actually easier than explaining to someone else what we wanted. We did a few tours with the ska band The Specials, and ever since then, we have really wanted to incorporate brass instruments into our sound. [The trumpet] adds a depth and happiness that you can’t always get with just drums and [a] guitar.
You started writing songs for this album three years ago. Is there ever any concern or fear that the time gap is too wide to reflect where you are now versus then when [the music is] finally released?
Not really because we’ll just keep writing. These songs represent a time and place for us, and it’s necessary to release the feelings behind them and be able to move forward. It’s like purging your emotional history and then having space to release more.
“OTL” is decidedly different from [your] previous songs. What went into the decision to put [it] on the album as opposed to perhaps releasing [the song] as a one-off single or part of an EP in order to test the waters so-to-speak with your “different” sound?
We don’t want to define ourselves with a genre or sound, or take our music too seriously. The actual recording on the album was the first time we played it; we were recording as we wrote it. People think [the beat is] a drum machine, but [I actually played] the drum beat live and we later looped it. We recorded the drums with one mic and used a vintage synth for the keyboard part.
It was fun to do something different, but we were just messing around in the studio. Whether people love it or hate it matters very little to us. It’s just a song amongst many. Perhaps releasing it as a one-off would make it seem more or less important than it is. It’s just another component in our musical history that adds a bit of dynamic to our catalog.