Artist Spotlight: Little Sprout
Amie Gislason’s songwriting lives at the intersection of cute and macabre
Columns / August 28, 2018
Little Sprout’s eponymous EP is plucky, sweet, and just lyrically dark enough to be hotly sardonic. The band places themselves under the “fuzzy pop rocks” genre, a label that—whether through an explosive chorus or a punchy line about vomit on the carpet—makes plenty of sense for their sugary but shocking sound.
The band has three members—singer Amie Gislason, drummer Sean Aram Gordon, and bassist Reese Patterson—who entered each other’s lives after a successful Tinder date between Gislason and Gordon. Then living in in Nanaimo, Gordon and Patterson were college roommates who moved away from the island in 2016. Once together, they quickly started appearing on bills from Abbotsford to East Van.
On the cover of the band’s debut is a classic Canadian candy, the Cherry Blossom—a chocolate shell filled with syrup and a maraschino cherry—which also falls in line with their sound. Sonically, the record bounces between being emotionally taxing and soothing. The lyrics fluctuate from dimly cynical to wide-eyed and hopeful. Little Sprout’s portfolio to-date is generally full of this kind of witty contrariety.
“I’m 33 now. I wrote some of those songs, a couple of them, when I was 16,” says Gislason, about the debut. “When I was that age I wrote a lot of songs. I was very prolific and those are the only ones that I could remember. I thought that if they survived that long in my brain somewhere, maybe they were good enough to play.”
According to Gordon, the next release will be heavier, longer, and more experimental. Patterson adds that they’re also more collaborative, with each of the members adding their own parts to Gislason’s for the first time.
Their signature style, defined by Gislason as “bright and repulsive at the same time,” is compelling to each of the three members, according to Gordon.
“I think that’s an aesthetic that we all kind of appreciate in a way,” he says.
Patterson adds, “I always separated the two—not before Little Sprout, but before knowing Sean and Amie. I liked bright colours, happy things, or dark, brooding, sad shit. I never even thought about putting both together …. I like that it’s fun and accessible but isn’t devoid of meaning.”
For Gislason, “being morbid has always been a part of life,” which she says naturally bleeds into her art.
“I was a morbid, creepy little kid and it’s usually not very socially acceptable, but if you package it in this unique way—if you package darkness or dark ideas or depression or humiliation in a very humorous or attractive way—people access it more easily,” she says.
She also “tends to use other people’s voices in songwriting,” an inclination that will likely be easy to spot in the song Little Sprout is putting out through a music video this fall. The track, “Carport”, is apparently “inspired by Damien Echols in a very abstract way” and will be accompanied by “stock footage from the early 90s satanic panic news reports.”
Fans haven’t heard much from Little Sprout since their debut. In addition to “Carport” the group has “seven or eight” songs written that an audience can hear live, and an LP might even be dropping in the spring.