“Don’t be annoying,” says Byll, 36. “We’re taking [kids’] challenges significantly and all the time proper in our minds, as properly, is that folks and carers are going to hearken to this over and time 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 a little bit giggle.”
Provides Beth, 32: “We’ve recorded the albums and gone again and completed the additional harmonies and vocal elements, the place usually the jokes will are available, 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 refined.”
Byll: “So you’ll be able to hearken to it time and again. And look, because it seems, something is annoying when you hearken to it over and time and again, even the bathroom music.”
Besides it’s not. For any father or mother accustomed to the bombast of Frozen or the wash, rinse, repeat cycle of Wiggles songs, the Teeny Tiny Stevies are a breath of contemporary air in a crowded children market that’s as intent on promoting a product as it’s on holding them entertained.
A lot of that comes all the way down to their ability at not speaking all the way down to their viewers and the intense musical expertise honed via their different job as folk-pop duo the Little Stevies. It’s why the raucous name and repeat of I Ate a Rainbow will follow you lengthy after you’ve heard it and why Boss of My Personal Physique does glorious double responsibility as an empowerment anthem and piece of low-key funk.
“They’re all the similar commonplace,” says Byll. “It’s not, ‘Let’s consider a shitter musical thought as a result of it’s a children music,’ that isn’t our intention in any respect. We wish to be placing great things on the market that’s simply nearly as good as any grownup stuff you’ll hearken to.”
Once I first spoke to the sisters in March, they had been in the midst of their second nationwide tour and had simply launched the only Mild as a Bubble to coincide with the return to high school (“three massive kisses, one massive cuddle, see you mum, I gained’t make no bother”). 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 Individuals, whereas Keep Residence, a music about coping with the coronavirus pandemic, got here out in April.
They’re now locked again down in Melbourne with their younger households, juggling house studying with album promotion. However it has include its upsides – in March we each fumbled with Skype, staring into the display 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 that may not have been thought-about potential pre-pandemic.
“Devastating on one hand and really, a tiny bit amusing,” says Beth of the sudden interruption to their 12 months. “I bear in mind considering, ‘Oh properly, we’ve been via 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 Individuals and Useful Songs for Little Individuals – Considerate Songs for Little Individuals contains songs that cowl the enjoyable stuff, corresponding to altering your lingerie in Good For Your Well being, the necessary stuff, corresponding to taking care of the surroundings in Plastic, and laborious stuff corresponding to loss of life in Every thing Involves an Finish. And, once more, the songs are sung from the angle of a kid, with a number of nods to any grown-ups listening.
“While you’re singing from a toddler’s perspective, they’re related to it immediately,” says Byll. “It’s them, it’s their voice. And you’ll 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 fogeys to narrate to on their stage. And never simply listening to the songs via the angle of their children or younger folks, however actually decoding the lyrics in a means only for them. As a result of plenty of the songs have a few completely different layers or interpretations behind them.”
It’s why a music corresponding to Had You to Train Me with its last verse geared toward dad and mom – “happy 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 Residence reduces even its writers to tears.
“When Byll despatched it via 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 could have a lot enjoyable travelling and having all these experiences and assembly all these folks however you additionally miss out and miss everybody else at house.”
Provides Byll: “I listened to that within the automobile final evening and I used to be crying for totally completely different causes. I used to be actually bawling about that exact factor. It obtained 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 try this once more’. It was so upsetting.”
With musicians for fogeys, 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, nonetheless, 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 present writing for kids a shot. “We knew it needed to have some comedy to it, as a result of it’s a humorous factor to put in writing a music about,” says Byll. “However it could possibly’t be that humorous as a result of we’re not laughing at children who’re rest room coaching, that’s necessary.”
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 anticipate it to be so fulfilling,” says Byll. “Our first music, certain, was about going to the bathroom however then when folks come as much as you and go, ‘You actually rest room educated our child. I couldn’t have gotten via 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 looks like necessary stuff. Rather more necessary 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 venture looks 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’d like to do a crossover with Bluey,” says Byll, laughing.
Provides Beth: “If they are saying bounce, we’ll bounce.”
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 Individuals is out now.
Louise is Editor of S and TV Liftout at The Solar-Herald