Twin brothers Max and Nicky Weinbach originally dwelled along the West Coast before moving to New York City to nurture their band Little Person. They were taught music at an early age by their mother, who is a pianist. They studied theater together, and even wrote, produced, directed, and acted in their own musicals.
Now they reside in the bustle of NYC, where they believe their music makes a better cultural fit. That being said, they haven’t left their theater roots behind. Every song written and every live show played has a drop of theatrical inspiration to it, and they even participate in many other productions like their past “Variety Show,” stand up comedy acts, and more recently, their very own podcast entitled “Splitting Hairs with Max & Nicky.”
On April 3, they released their newest EP entitled “I Feel Fine”—inspired by the album, “Pet Sounds,” by The Beach Boys. They self-describe it as, The Beach Boys combined with The Smiths.” It’s full of catchy oh la la’s and mmm-bop’s that’ll make you want to hum along, paired with well-coordinated harmonies and instrumental dashes throughout the tracks. It’s a good EP to put on during a happy, nostalgic walk through a warm summer’s drizzle.
BTRtoday spoke with the twins after one of their live sets. It was mind-blowing to watch them finish each other’s sentences, and the electricity of passion that flowed through both of them was palpable. They talk about musicals, writer’s block, and their newest EP “I Feel Fine!”
(Interview by Irina Groushevaia)
BTRtoday (BTR): So what made you guys want to form a band?
Max Weinbach (MW): Senior year of college, my honors project was a musical and it was an original. It was one act of what would eventually become a whole musical. It went off really well; I staged it, directed it, and starred in it. I ended up having to do these roles myself, because no one else could, so we put it on, and it went over successfully. I called it “A Match Made In Hell.” But first I went abroad to study in France.
Nicky Weinbach (NW): That summer I set out to write my own musical called “Made In China.” Throughout all of college I had already written songs that I thought, “oh these would be good for a musical someday,” and a lot of those made it into “Made In China.”
After two years, I did a stage reading of it… Then a year later I put on a full production of the musical. It was a month-long run, completely funded from my tips as a waiter and working as a substitute teacher. We were both involved in each other’s musicals. The production went off really well and sold out opening and closing nights, and immediately we started production of Max’s musical [“A Match Made In Hell”] and later that year we put it on and it went off really well too.
After the musicals, we were like, “well what now?” I had already written some songs that I thought would be good for a rock band, and I thought, “you know what, now is better than ever to start a band!” So we started a band, our friend joined on bass, and the drummer for Max’s musical became our drummer. Eventually, we went through some lineup changes, but we recorded this EP and got some good write-ups on it!
BTR: Tell me a little about that first EP!
MW: The guy who engineered it is now a very good friend of ours, his name is Derrik Soares—we owe him a lot of gratitude. He was a co-producer on Nicky’s musical. So we met him through that and he became a really good friend.
NW: The musicals were so intense and stressful that we were like, “let’s do something that’s a little less stressful and just a lot of fun!” Not that the musicals weren’t fun, but at that time we were like, “let’s just have fun with this!”
BTR: Do you guys write the songs together?
NW: No. We always write them separately and whoever writes the song sings lead on that one—but we do a lot of harmonies.
MW: Right! As far as arranging the songs go though, that’s completely collaborative. We did a lot of shows with the band in the Bay Area, and eventually we decided to move to NY because we always felt like our band didn’t fit well into the Bay Area music scene.
BTR: So you have this heavy theater influence–how would you describe your music?
NW: I would call it vintage pop. Right now it’s kind of like The Beach Boys meets The Smiths—basically in the middle of 2015, we saw that Brian Wilson biopic called “Love & Mercy,” and we saw a lot of scenes of them recording “Pet Sounds” and we were just like, “Oh man! We want that.” It really inspired us and we immediately got to work on recording “I Feel Fine,” our new EP.
BTR: Tell me more about this new EP.
MW: We decided this time to engineer it ourselves—we played almost every instrument on it, including the bass and drums. It took a long time. On a couple of tracks we have a few friends play on them, but it’s mostly just us.
NW: It took more time too because we were also learning ourselves how to engineer these pieces. To get the right sounds that you want, you have to know what you’re doing, so we did a lot of research.
BTR: Do you ever have writer’s block?
MW: Oh yeah, that’s definitely a thing. As a teacher once said, “you can’t wait for inspiration, you have to put the pen to the paper and sometimes it’ll just come.”
NW: Lately, I’ve been able to really challenge myself—if I want to write a certain kind of song I’ll just sit at the piano and attempt to do that. I’ve been able to succeed at that very much recently, where I’m forcing myself to write a song that I think is good and do it.
BTR: Why the name Little Person?
NW: Our sister did a cover of a John Brian song called “Little Person,” it’s in the movie “Schenectady New York” and she made this cute animated music video for it. I thought it was so cool and the way she drew the animation—it’s got this innocent quality and we thought, “Well, this is kind of what we are in a way!
MW: I don’t want to say we are really innocent people, but we cherish that a bit in a sense. There’s a certain purity and inhibition about innocence that we like. Also, we’re on the shorter side of the height spectrum…
“I Feel Fine” came out April 3—stream/download and/or get your physical copy on Little Person’s Bandcamp!