Outside, in Bournemouth, the sun was shining brightly, almost without mercy as the market packed up for the day. Amidst the clang of metal against metal and plastic against the pavement was the excited chatter of those queuing outside the O2 Academy, waiting for the doors to open.
But who cares about what was outside? Who could care when in the depths of the cavernous academy one of the behemoths of music resided alongside one of Britainâ€™s most exciting bands. Although diminutive in size and in name, Little Fish pack a surprising punch.
You know youâ€™re good when you go from supporting Courtney Love to Blondie, you know youâ€™re fantastic when Debbie Harry may have asked for you personally.
â€œShe watched our entire set and really liked what we were doing. A few weeks later, her people got in touch with our people as Blondie were about to tour the UK and asked if we would support them. We felt honoured and obliged,â€ explains Juju, the singer and guitarist of Little Fish.
Yet despite this, despite the subtle praise from the woman who is responsible for all those female fronted bands out there (yes that does mean sheâ€™s to blame for Paramore) Little Fish are in no way arrogant. In fact even as Juju launched into the story of how they came to be there she still sounded slightly in awe of the way their luck had turned out, Nez sitting beside her agreeing as enthusiastically as Juju spoke.
The gig at Bournemouth was around about the halfway point of what the band have dubbed an â€˜immenseâ€™ tour, and there didnâ€™t appear to be a single sign of fatigue from the gruelling drives they had to put up with from city to city (although it became far worse a couple of days later. As they travelled from Tetbury to Dublin their van broke down and they missed their ferry over to Ireland). Neither did they appear to be suffering from nerves; â€œWe were a little nervous at first as to how the Blondie fans would take our music, we werenâ€™t sure whether we would be too rock for them,â€ Juju recounted. With her confident demeanour and lively nature it was hard to imagine her being nervous. Thankfully, though, all doubt had been driven away. â€œThe shows seem to have gone down great so we feel far more relaxed and confident that we are on the right tour.â€
The fact that Blondie have been welcoming towards them must have played a part in soothing their nerves also. â€œHanging out with Debbie Harry has been pretty cool. She has been very approachable and friendly. Weâ€™ve been talking lots and so it has been great to hear about the world of rock â€˜nâ€™ roll from one of the greatest front women of all time.â€
As well as this tour, Little Fish have been busy with their debut album, Baffled & Beat, which is set for release on August 16 which they describe as â€˜Natural…and humanâ€™. According to Juju we can look forward to â€œlistening to some great songs that you can relate to.â€
One of the singles that has been taken from their album is â€˜Am I Crazyâ€™, the video, which features a woman cooking and holding a heart to her face, pretty much lives up to the title. â€œYes we had lots of input. We wanted the video to catch some of our live energy and so it is predominantly a live performance piece. I think the video is slightly insane and its pretty simple â€“ the story within the video is a direct metaphor to the songâ€™s meaning and lyrics.â€ The band has also released a video of an acoustic version of â€˜Whiplashâ€™, another of their great songs. All in all, with appearances at Sonispehere this summer (â€œWe are looking forward to catching up with the boys from Alice In Chains as we had fun supporting late last yearâ€) and Southsea Fest this September, theyâ€™ve had a pretty busy and highly eventful year. Of course this wonâ€™t be the first time theyâ€™ve appeared at Southsea.
â€œWe love Southsea Festival,â€ Juju exclaimed, and again Nez agreed with her. Both of them seemed pretty animated as they spoke about it. â€œYes we have taken part in it a couple of times because before anyone knew who we were, Portsmouth promoter Josie really supported us and had us play Pompey several times. We kind of adopted Portsmouth as our second home as all the people there always welcomed us. Pompey is one of the first cities where we started to have any sort of following and we respect that and acknowledge it.â€ So far, from the interview it seems as if both of them really value the support theyâ€™ve received from their fans. They donâ€™t take their following for granted and do what they can for their supporters. This includes dedicating their spare time to making something for the people who have signed up to the Little Fish Paper Club.
â€œI was tired and frustrated that we didnâ€™t have anything to give our fans. It is hard when you are signed to give music away or to give anything away,â€ Juju explained. She later had a conversation with the band about it and that resulted in the idea of sending something through the post, entirely for free.
â€œWe then decided that we would send something in the post to our fans, some sort of art, poem or story â€“ and we didnâ€™t need our label to do this, we could just do it without any sort of permission.â€
With their album out next month and a steadily growing fan base the band seem a far cry from how it first formed; two people meeting in a fish and chip shop arguing over drum solos. Juju mentioned, when asked how the band name came about, that during university people didnâ€™t know her name, they instead called her Little Fish because it was â€œone of the first songs that I ever wrote.â€ Well now, plenty of people know her and Nezâ€™s name, and with the way things are going for them many more should be jumping on that particular bandwagon.