Little Monarch’s sun-soaked funk pop is perfectly fitting for a band hailing from Los Angeles. The indie pop band has been churning out indie pop hit after hit since they premiered their eponymous EP on All Things Go back in October.
Their song “No Matter What” has been featured on a number of Spotify’s indie playlists and has surpassed 2 million plays. It’s soulful, uplifting and playful. It’s about staying positive and knowing everything is going to be okay. Listen to the discoey pop anthem without at least tapping your feet along. It’s nearly impossible.
Little Monarch consists of an LA native, a New York transplant and a Memphis import. Singer/songwriter and music teacher Casey K, who also has a jazz album and publishing company among her credits, has been performing solo for years, but felt something was lacking. Ironically, Nick Setter, a Berklee College of Music grad who had interned at the school at which Casey taught, contacted her last year to write songs together. The pair became instant friends and writing partners. Then, somewhere in that process, the duo became a trio, after Casey saw another band one night at the House of Blues and became enamored with their keyboardist, Lanita Smith. The three have been churning out indie pop hit after hit ever since.
Indie Soul Media: “No Matter What” is an extremely catchy song that is blowing up on a couple of Spotify’s indie playlists. What was the songwriting process like for that song?
Little Monarch: Thank you! It’s been crazy and exciting to see all the traction on Spotify for this song. Like a lot of our songs, we started out with that lead guitar riff and built around it. Then I think we outlined the melody for the verse and chorus and the words started to form soon after. “One foot after the other” was one of the first lyrics we slotted in but it took until almost the end of the writing process for us to figure out what lines would precede that. “No matter what” was one of the last lyrics we wrote but it fit the bill. That’s the mantra, keep going and stay positive no matter what.
ISM: Was the songwriting process for each song the same or does it differ for each one? Please also tell us about which instruments you play.
LM: The process is pretty similar song to song. We write it just with lead vocals and guitar first and make sure it can stand alone as an acoustic jam and then figure out the arrangement as we go with the rest of the band and our producer, Ryan Marrone. Casey K sings lead vocals, plays synth, and occasional guitar. Nick Setter is lead guitarist and vocals. Lanita Smith sings lead Vocals and plays Keys. Justin Andres plays bass and vocals and Reade Pryor is with us on drums.
ISM: What has your experience been being a band based in L.A.? With it being such a hotspot for musicians, do you feel that it has contributed to your success and also, has it made it difficult at all?
LM: Well without LA I don’t think any of us would have met. Whether it was through other gigs, or teaching music, or doing session work, we all crossed paths in this city because of the music scene here. I think the only difficulty in being an LA based band comes with scheduling. We all have busy lives and careers so getting 5 musicians schedules to align can be a bit tricky. We try to differentiate our music from the rest because it’s a fusion of a lot of sounds. All 3 of us have our own style and sound and the synergy of it all is what makes our group tick. Having 2 female lead singers is something new and fresh and when we play our stuff live I think we really take it to that next level.
ISM: Lanita was the last member to join Little Monarch. Explain for us a little more on how her strengths contributed to the sound of your music.
LM: She is a powerhouse singer and a total prodigy. She grew up in Memphis and learned to play in church so she brings a side of gospel and soul to our music that might otherwise just be straight indie pop rock. When she plays she puts her whole world into it, its transcendent. When we aren’t making music the three of us also have a great dynamic as friends. Always lifting each other up and bringing new and interesting people into each other’s lives.
ISM: How would you describe your music to listeners who haven’t heard your music yet?
LM: Upbeat, positive, warm, and soulful. A unique fusion of pop and rock with some edges.