Getting to Know Little Desert


Melbourne-based psych grunge anti-rockers Little Desert are launching their new album this weekend. We asked Esther Rivers from the band to tell us more:

Little Desert are a bunch of genuinely off-kilter individuals, made up of myself, Bonnie Mercer (Dead River/ Grey Daturas), Roman Tucker (Rocket Science), Ash Wyatt (Red Red Krovvy/ Masses) + Ema Dunstan (Hi-Tec Emotions).

Our forthcoming record is called ‘Saeva’, and it comes out with Melbourne indie label IT Records next week! It’s a combined effort of strange, horror-synth melodies, menacing bass lines and vintage psych rock.

Our last gig was Bank hootenanny #7! They’re these big, excellent local line-ups run by a couple of guys from The Bank art space in Preston, they’re so lovely. We played with some excellent bands – Masses, Taipan Tiger Girls, Exhaustion. Actually we nearly didn’t play … Ema was sick so we swapped playing times to get on earlier and unfortunately we forgot to tell Roman. He just wasn’t there when we went to play – that has never happened before. He got there pretty quick stix and we went to play and his lead was fucked, and under the intense pressure of time we couldn’t work out what was wrong and I made the call that we just had to cut the set – and just as I said the words his keyboard came to life and we had time to play three songs. The intensity was palpable – we actually played the best three songs to date. I was sweating. We can laugh about it now.

Our next gig is our album launch! November 21st at The Tote in Collingwood, with Teuton, Mollusc, Half Mongrel, DJ Guns ‘n’ Rosè (from Miss Destiny) + projections by video artist Keith Deverell.

My favourite place to jam/write is The Warehouse where we rehearse in Fairfield. It’s owned and run by some beautiful friends of ours, and lots of bands rehearse and record there. There are pianos and instruments and velvet curtains everywhere, it’s very romantic. Sometimes I like to go in to rehearsal early and just play some piano in the big old space. Little Desert have always rehearsed there, so it feels like a home.

Outside of playing with Little Desert, I am also a writer. I love the writing community in Australia, and studied writing and editing at RMIT. I always had the words for songs before I ever sang or played them. Thankfully I met some very cool people when I moved to Melbourne and they were like “SINGER’S GOTTA SING GURL!” (They weren’t like that at all), but they were musicians and they bought me my first guitar and I played my friend my first ever song and she paused and said: “Well … it’s better than my first song.” I have a band now though, and I reckon I’ve evolved since then. I hope.

The last dream I remember having was… Oh god. I have the most whacky dreams. And then whoever is in them I feel the need to contact and tell them about it. Like I had this dream where this giant beach ball was chasing my childhood best friend and so I found her on Facebook and was like “JUST CHECKING IN – ANY BEACH BALLS BEEN FLYING AT YOUR FACE LATELY??! JUST BE CAREFUL …”
She actually replied, bless her. Probably to say don’t ever contact me again.

When I imagine deserts I think of exotic faraway never-ending landscapes of freedom where the unreal happens.

As a child, I lived in the clouds inside my head. I would take lemons to school and eat them whole just to get a reaction from the other kids. I drew many many rainbows and flowers and talked to dolls and plants and laughed and wore tutus and made caves out of trees and drew words on walls and sat on the highest branch reading book after book after book. Until I got hungry.

A great gig I saw this year was Bonnie Mercer doing solo noise stuff with a couple of amps at The Tote a few weeks ago. She is mind-blowing. She is one classy guitarist.

Before the end of the year I’d like to have enough money to record music, play music, eat, pay rent, write, and buy the Joan Didion anthology I’ve had my eye on for months. All at once.

Next year will be the year of Tony Abbott’s self-reflection, wherein he loses his mind through guilt and personally frees all refugees.

If you’re in Melbourne, you should head along to Little Desert’s launch at The Tote! You can also keep in touch with the band via their Facebook page.

Chloe Mayne


Interview by Chloe Mayne.