“Don’t be annoying,” says Byll, 36. “We’re taking [kids’] challenges significantly and at all times proper in our minds, as effectively, is that folks and carers are going to take heed to this over and again and again. And when you’ll be able to pop a joke in that’s not going to be annoying, too, pop one thing in there that makes them have somewhat giggle.”
Provides Beth, 32: “We’ve recorded the albums and gone again and accomplished the additional harmonies and vocal elements, the place typically the jokes will are available in, after which we’ve re-listened and gone, ‘Oh that’s a bit a lot,’ after which we’ll take it out once more. We attempt to preserve them fairly delicate.”
Byll: “So you’ll be able to take heed to it again and again. And look, because it seems, something is annoying when you take heed to it over and again and again, even the bathroom tune.”
Besides it’s not. For any mother or father accustomed to the bombast of Frozen or the wash, rinse, repeat cycle of Wiggles songs, the Teeny Tiny Stevies are a breath of recent air in a crowded children market that’s as intent on promoting a product as it’s on maintaining them entertained.
A lot of that comes right down to their ability at not speaking right down to their viewers and the intense musical abilities honed by way of their different job as folk-pop duo the Little Stevies. It’s why the raucous name and repeat of I Ate a Rainbow will stick to you lengthy after you’ve heard it and why Boss of My Personal Physique does wonderful double obligation as an empowerment anthem and piece of low-key funk.
“They’re the entire similar customary,” says Byll. “It’s not, ‘Let’s consider a shitter musical thought as a result of it’s a children tune,’ that’s not our intention in any respect. We wish to be placing good things on the market that’s simply pretty much as good as any grownup stuff you’ll take heed to.”
After I first spoke to the sisters in March, they had been in the midst of their second nationwide tour and had simply launched the one Gentle as a Bubble to coincide with the return to highschool (“three large kisses, one large cuddle, see you mum, I gained’t make no hassle”). They had been additionally trying ahead to their largest exhibits but – two sold-out gigs on the Sydney Opera Home.
Then alongside got here COVID-19 and, like each different touring musician or band, the Teeny Tiny Stevies’ gigs floor to a halt. Now, 4 months later, they’ve simply launched their third album, Considerate Songs for Little Folks, whereas Keep Dwelling, a tune about coping with the coronavirus pandemic, got here out in April.
They’re now locked again down in Melbourne with their younger households, juggling residence studying with album promotion. Nevertheless it has include its upsides – in March we each fumbled with Skype, staring into the display screen because the sound didn’t work and bits of paper had been held as much as talk e mail addresses. All of it appeared a bit overseas then however now – roughly 4 months later – it’s second nature. We’ve Zoomed in, the band have performed their first live-streamed exhibits and created a video clip from fan-submitted movies. All issues which may not have been thought-about doable pre-pandemic.
“Devastating on one hand and truly, a tiny bit amusing,” says Beth of the surprising interruption to their yr. “I keep in mind considering, ‘Oh effectively, we’ve been by way of this earlier than,’ by way of having such excessive expectations after which simply being flattened.”
Provides Byll, laughing: “In fact it was too good to be true. In fact a pandemic was going to occur!”
Very like their earlier albums – Helpful Songs for Little Folks and Useful Songs for Little Folks – Considerate Songs for Little Folks contains songs that cowl the enjoyable stuff, corresponding to altering your underwear in Good For Your Well being, the essential stuff, corresponding to taking care of the setting in Plastic, and exhausting stuff corresponding to dying in Every thing Involves an Finish. And, once more, the songs are sung from the attitude of a kid, with a number of nods to any grown-ups listening.
“Whenever you’re singing from a baby’s perspective, they’re linked to it immediately,” says Byll. “It’s them, it’s their voice. And you may have a little bit of enjoyable with that. You’re not the trainer standing in entrance of the category going, ‘That is what you do.’ You’re singing the ideas of a kid. It’s taking their challenges significantly.”
Provides Beth: “There’s a slight distinction with these songs in comparison with the others as a result of they’re a bit simpler for folks to narrate to on their degree. And never simply listening to the songs by way of the attitude of their children or younger folks, however actually decoding the lyrics in a manner only for them. As a result of a number of the songs have a few completely different layers or interpretations behind them.”
It’s why a tune corresponding to Had You to Train Me with its ultimate verse aimed toward mother and father – “pleased with you, however unhappy that you just don’t want me” – can have grown-ups wiping away that annoying speck of mud from their eye, or why Can’t Wait to Be Dwelling reduces even its writers to tears.
“When Byll despatched it by way of to me I used to be identical to boohoo,” says Beth. “As a result of on a regular basis, after we go away, it jogs my memory of how a lot I miss these guys. And it’s a push and pull about how you actually wish to go, as a result of you’ve a lot enjoyable travelling and having all these experiences and assembly all these folks however you additionally miss out and miss everybody else at residence.”
Provides Byll: “I listened to that within the automobile final evening and I used to be crying for completely completely different causes. I used to be actually bawling about that exact factor. It received to the verse the place it’s about me or us – “my mum’s work’s by no means the identical” – and I began bawling as a result of I used to be like, ‘We’re by no means going to have the ability to do this once more’. It was so upsetting.”
With musicians for folks, Byll and Beth have been singing collectively since they had been youngsters, writing songs since they had been youngsters and touring and recording albums because the Little Stevies since 2006, after they had been unearthed by radio station Triple J as a “subsequent crop act”.
It wasn’t till 2015, nevertheless, that the Teeny Tiny Stevies took form. Byll was toilet-training her son and, confronted with some dodgy toilet-training movies on YouTube, she determined to provide writing for youngsters a shot. “We knew it needed to have some comedy to it, as a result of it’s a humorous factor to write down a tune about,” says Byll. “However it might probably’t be that humorous as a result of we’re not laughing at children who’re rest room coaching, that’s essential.”
Taking children’ challenges significantly – however not themselves too significantly – has been an indicator of the Teeny Tiny Stevies ever since. They’ve a delightfully unvarnished presence on social media and their merchandise is proscribed however helpful – suppose pillowcases and sing-a-long image books – and their gigs are prop-free. In a closely marketed area, it’s a aid.
“I didn’t count on it to be so fulfilling,” says Byll. “Our first tune, positive, was about going to the bathroom however then when folks come as much as you and go, ‘You actually rest room skilled our child. I couldn’t have gotten by way of it with out you.’ You go, ‘Oh that’s superior.’
“After which getting up on stage and singing songs like I’m the Boss of My Personal Physique – that seems like essential stuff. Far more essential on some ranges than my heartbreak or how I felt emotionally about some issues, which I’ve now moved on from. I actually get pleasure from that [writing] too, that’s virtually very self-serving, the place this challenge seems like I’m placing one thing good out into the world.”
However whereas their lo-fi method is endearing to folks, the sisters do have a big-ticket merchandise they’d wish to tick off.
“I might like to do a crossover with Bluey,” says Byll, laughing.
Provides Beth: “If they are saying soar, we’ll soar.”
Byll: “We’re prepared any time. We seen some articles within the paper the opposite day about voices within the present. And we had been sitting by the telephone, ready.”
Your transfer, Bluey.
Considerate Songs for Little Folks is out now.
Louise is Editor of S and TV Liftout at The Solar-Herald