INTERVIEW: Little Hurt’s Colin Dieden on “Better Drugs”, the rose emoji and potential future!
“Butterflies and sunshine are a lot easier when you’re 19 years old and you’re stoned in Venice Beach. Your heart gets broken, your parents get divorced, shit gets fucked up,” says Colin Dieden about the band that he spent a decade in prior to taking the risk that is Little Hurt. Being the man behind the majority of the tunes fans fell quickly for with The Mowglis, the songs released so far show an incredibly genuine vibe from Dieden who says it’s wasn’t something we had for sure seen before. I got the chance to speak with Dieden the day “Better Drugs” was hitting the radio, about what’s to come for him and how Little Hurt really came to be! Find our chat below, as an avid supporter at New England Sounds of his previous act, we’re sure only great things are sure to come this year for Little Hurt!
From looking at social media, I know that today is kind of the start of the “Better Drugs” push for radio. For “Better Drugs”, when did that song really come together for you? I know you worked on it with Cam Walker-Wright and Elijah Noll from American Teeth.
Well, I wrote that back when I was still in The Mowglis. It was probably five months ago or more, I’m bad at timelines like that. So a pretty long time ago. So I was sitting down with those guys and we were just writing to write. I forget what we were actually writing for that day. But could have been for The Mowglis, could have been for something to pitch but then that song happened. And it was like this is too good to not do something with. And everyone was like, “Yeah this is special”. And that was sort of the catalyst and Elijah went, “Why don’t you just do you? Do your own project”, and I just went, “Okay”. And here we are.
Obviously I’m sure you were a major part of the songwriting for The Mowglis, but was it something where you’d always written solo music?
I wrote like 99.9% of The Mowglis’s songs. I can probably count on one hand the ones I didn’t. It’s sort of a similar thing. I’m writing from my heart in a different way then I was before. Before, I was writing for the fan base. It was a very peace and love kind of band and I decided I wanted to take my project a lot deeper, with some more depth then what I was doing before. Kind of challenging myself to see how real and uncomfortable I could get. I needed something a little deeper.
100%. And then just from seeing it online, you only have the three songs out but the two songs you released before “Better Drugs” are almost at a half million streams. So obviously it’s picking up really well and people are supporting it. You’ve been really interacting well with fans on social media. How do you think that’s been helping this project?
Well, I noticed there were a lot of people getting interested in the project and I was like, how do I unite everyone? It was really interesting, it came down to this fucking rose emoji. I don’t know what it is, but it gave kind of this signature thing that made everyone feel part of the same thing. It was so cool. I was like, “Hey! If you’re a fan of Little Hurt, put this in your name”. And all of a sudden, it went crazy. Some girl got a tattoo yesterday. Which by the way, there were hundreds and hundreds of that for The Mowglis but this was the first for me on my own. She hit me up on Instagram and was like, “Can you write out ‘Its Ok to Not be Ok’ for me”. I get this photo back with the rose and my handwriting on her. It’s so cool, it feels like things are really starting to click. They feel like they’re part of something and they’re interacting and they have street teams and fan clubs now. I’m just like wow this is really cool and it’s flattering. Honestly this wouldn’t have worked without them. None of this would have happened without them rallying like this. I’m so appreciative and trying to interact with them as much as I can. I feel a lot of artists just expect that out of their fans instead of being like, “Thank you guys.” They take time out of their own day to do this. This is so wild and I have a lot of gratitude for it.
Then how has it been. I’m sure it was a little scary to go out on your own and have this solo venture. Maybe something you’ve really learned about yourself now that you’re on your own? Something new you’ve learned about yourself as a musician as cheesy as it may sound?
I didn’t know how this was going to go. This could have gone either way. People could have not given a shit or they could have reacted the way that I’m seeing now. I think it’s given me some confidence. When I did leave The Mowglis, one of my friends told me, “This is the bravest thing you’ve probably ever done in your life”. That was a comfortable situation for me. I kind of got paid the same, kind of regardless of what’s happening. It just got really comfortable and really monotonous. I just freaked out and realized I was just floating along. That’s not enough for me. I was just like, I need something more. I need to freak myself out. And doing this really did that. It reinvigorated me. I don’t have the safety net anymore. I have to start this whole brand, I have to start this whole thing up from nothing. I guess I learned that I’m able to do that. I don’t have five other people in my band that are every single day being like, “Okay this is what we’re doing today”. I got to wake up every morning and make the choice to work myself through the subject at hand because nobody else is going to do it for me. It’s literally me motivating myself to do it.
Then I know you haven’t announced a date I believe, but I know you have an EP or a body of work kind of ready to go. When it came to the writing for that, maybe something really new you tried and maybe something you feel is still present from the past, considering you did write so much for it.
Yeah, I mean I definitely went into this being, “Okay, If I do do this project, I’m not just going to follow the same model”. I’m going to try to take some risks lyrically that I haven’t in the past. In terms of opening myself up to the audience that I haven’t done before. Like, this is shit that I’ve struggled with. Because in the past, it’s been very I’m writing these songs that are peace and love at the concerts and everyone’s leaving feeling great. I hope they leave my shows feeling great, but I also hope that I’m able to express the things that I’m feeling and give them an authentic experience. So I really made that sort of the focus of this thing. I am going to push myself to give them the most honest songs that I can. And I think I’m just now scratching the surface of that. I’m really excited to see how far I can take that. I don’t have a gimmick, I don’t dress a certain way, I don’t do something weird. I’m just a dude that writes songs. If I have to do something to set myself apart, I really want it to be the fact that I’m being myself and wringing myself out dry into these songs and that’s kind of it for me. I think that’s more interesting then anything else.
I think so too. You’re being so truthful, it’s not at all like butterflies and sunshine. Obviously you guys covered some dark subjects but the projects are very different.
Butterflies and sunshine are a lot easier when you’re 19 years old and you’re stoned in Venice Beach. Your heart gets broken, your parents get divorced, shit gets fucked up. People die, so it wasn’t all butterflies and sunshine anymore and I felt that it wasn’t authentic to me to be singing about that.
And you were in that band for so long. A decade, right?
Yeah I think it was ten years.
I know you haven’t announced anything but I’m sure touring, playing live is something you’re thinking about in the near future. Is this going to be you playing shows by yourself on stage? Are you going to be having a backing band? How do you think it’s going to pan out?
I’m definitely going to have a backing band, I already have them. We’re just kind of waiting to be told to get out there. We’re all ready to go. We’ve done a few shows in LA. It’s going to be most likely a four piece, including myself. I wanted to still put on a show live. I don’t want to stand up there with just a laptop or do acoustic. I definitely want to have a band and do it the way I like to watch bands play.
Then to end it off, a lot is happening right now but maybe focuses or goals for you as Little Hurt over these next few months, 2020 in general?
Goals? I really want to get going on whatever my next thing is. Whether it’s finishing an LP, I think we might have the next single for after “Better Drugs” picked unless I come up with something brilliant before then. But I really just got to keep writing every single day. Just keep myself in a place where I’m mentally able to do the best that I can do. It’s hard, it’s a part of it, because this thing is lonely. So just keeping myself super busy and throwing myself entirely into my work. Kind of my goal.