Little Liar is the Project of Maya Yianni, born in 1988 in London but moving to Somerset when she was 3, she now resides in South East London. She and her band capture a sound of nostalgia and accentuate it with confessional lyrics and evocative vocals. In song, topics similar to the hardship and love-lost that is expressed from early Torch-Singers are reflected, but from a modern point of view.
We caught up with Maya in her local fish n' chip shop, we found a table, sat down, cracked open the cherryade and chatted about the beauty and horrors of social media, chatting to gorillas and wanting to appear in a Hitchcock movie, here's how we got on....
Please introduce yourself and your music in one sentence....
I’m Little Liar (aka Maya), the music my band and I play is a magnification of my self-indulgent songwriting.
Where did the name ‘Little Liar’ come from?
It's related to me personally and as performer via lots of little fragments, some of them too mundane or cryptic to name. One that is simpler is that people tell me I look like 'Little My' from the Moomins. It also relates to the weird little things you can do when you’re performing in front of an audience that can go unnoticed, but if those little things weren’t there people would notice – a bit of a subjective theory.
Being unsigned, how hard is it to get noticed and how has social media aided your music?
Social media is good and bad and quite terrifying, that’s just the curse of the Internet. It’s definitely helped me gain a more listeners and, like it or not, it is undeniably a good platform for musicians. I don’t think I’m that good at the whole social media thing though…
The fact that it allows you to reach out so much further than you could before is amazing. But everything’s so instant with the Internet, isn’t it? That’s what scares me. A lot of people take things extremely literally, and create opinions instantly, which can sometimes be damaging - I’m being a pessimist here - obviously it can do amazing things too.
How and when did you decide that you wanted to be a performer?
When I was a really little, but, I don’t remember a specific moment.
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
The best advice I received was from my Grandma, Maria - “The cheapest is the most expensive”.
Ha ha, she was a tailoress on Saville Row. Her saying that taught me that if you invest more into something, quite often you won’t have to spend as much time patching it up. Undoubtedly, she was implying that I should stop buying cheap shit that kept falling apart but when I think about it, it really applies to the creative process that I use to make music.
I have been listening to ‘Incomplete’, superb tune, what was your inspiration behind writing this track?
Aw thank you. Well topically it’s about wanting to shun the feeling of really needing something that you know is bad for you, and that feeling of no control over yourself or the situation that you have found yourself in.
The dynamic arrangement runs parallel to the pent-up aggression I was feeling when I wrote it. If you’re holding something in, it’s going to explode. When I first started writing the song I knew there had to be a constant within the arrangement, like the constant in my brain at the time, so that’s the repeating bass line that never stops throughout the song.
What was the first song you learnt to play on the guitar?
Honestly, this is going to sound a bit self indulgent, but it’ll be the first song I wrote on guitar, ‘He Said’. I don’t really play it any more. I learnt guitar to aid my songwriting. If only I had the skills of my band members, they’re like a jukebox in rehearsal.
Would you rather live with a dog that sings lullabies or a gorilla that can do sign language? Explain your answer
Gorilla doing sign language > Conversation with gorillas = amazing!
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released and why?
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (only living members please)
‘Swim Deep’ what is the story behind this tune and how was it playing this in a park?
Aw it was nice playing in the park, getting back to nature.
I had a moment of realization when I was swimming lengths that something I was completely convinced about was not true at all. I’m glad I realised when I did because I had been convinced otherwise for far too long. It was weird, like I was seeing out of different eyes when I got out of the swimming pool.
Is there something you would like to tell each of the band members that you haven’t told them before?
Anything I’d say they already know. ;)
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
What was the first gig you ever went to?
I grew up in rural Somerset so if I wanted to go to a gig I’d have to get my parents to drive me there and back. They took me to see Amy Winehouse at the Fleece in Bristol when she was on her first tour. I was terrified the bouncer wouldn’t let me in because I was underage, but they did and needless to say she was awesome. I’ll treasure that memory.
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as dinner party guests?
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
An outspoken woman from a classic, yet, nondescript era, maybe looks a bit like she’s from a Hitchcock film, I think she’s a spy as well.
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
Not after the Guardian’s exposé doc on the chicken meat industry…
What are your plans for the rest of 2015?
The plan is to put something out later this year, probably autumn, so we’re recording at the moment, I’m writing still. I’m not rushing but I think it’s about time for the first Little Liar EP.
After we had demolished our fish n' chips, we decided to call it a day. It was on the way home that we decided to unleash the quickfire questions on her....
Coffee or Tea?
Coke or Pepsi?
Drum machine or the real deal?
Mac or PC?
Taco or Burger?
Fry up or Sunday roast
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
CD or Vinyl?
Car or Motorbike?
Acoustic or electric?
Record Stores or Download?
Shower or Bath?
Tattoos or Piercings?
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino?
God or Google?
We'd like to thank Maya for taking time out her busy schedule to come and chat to us, we're looking forward to taking a listen to her debut EP which should be hitting the shelves in the Autumn. For more information about 'Little Liar', please check the social media channels below.
Interview by Mark Wincott