Photo by Caleb Whelan

Little Fuss, with special guests Henry Morris and Lipstk, perform at Rumba Café on Wednesday, June 21. Doors are at 7pm, show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $10.

Joining a Zoom call from the parking lot of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the Boston band Little Fuss is excited to play Columbus for the first time later this week. For one member of the band, Cody Von Lehmden, this will be a homecoming of sorts as he previously played bass for the Columbus-based The Candescents, a band that this site had a lot of nice things to say about in 2015. The Candescents flirted with some big success in 2017 when they signed with Dirty Hit Records (The 1975, Wolf Alice, Pale Waves) out of the UK and even had the chance to do some cross-country touring with the likes of Pale Waves and We Are Scientists.

Little Fuss was born with Cody met Cleveland-native Olivia Martinez during their freshman year in college while studying abroad. The duo then recruited Delia Martin (bass) and Vitor Oliveira (drums) to round out the band. In January of this year, Little Fuss released their debut album, Girls at Parties.

Last time I saw you, Cody, was when The Candescents opened for Pale Wave at Rumba Cafe in 2017. What’s happened since then?

Cody: Man, it’s been a journey since then. The last time I played with The Candescents was in 2018. The beginning of 2019 was kind of hectic and the band went their separate ways, we all wanted to pursue separate things. I ended up auditioning for the Berklee School of Music and I got in. That’s where I met Oliva, during my first semester. And we’ve just kind of been a pairing ever since, just working on music and collaborating a lot.

And then, during 2020, we got sent back home because of Covid and we were able to finish out writing a project. We found our sound and just tried a bunch of stuff out. Then, during 2021, we met Delia and Vitor on online classes and we were able to make our live debut. So, it’s been a long journey to get to the point where we’re able to come back and play a venue like Rumba.

Did Vitor and Delia have similar music interests or were you just looking for the right personalities to join the band?

Cody: It was a combination of those things and also it was them just being cool people.

Is there a common artist that you all like or do you each have your own unique tastes?

Olivia: There’s overlap, but I feel like that’s not why we started the band. It’s not like we all liked one band and decided,
“Oh, we should make music together.” I think, like Cody said, we just kind of vibed as people and sort of general genres and stuff. We like a lot of the same artists, but also, like, a lot of different artists.

Vitor: It overlaps, but we have common interests and kind of all have different niches that we really dig.

Cody: We never want to come at music from a perspective of genres. For us, it’s taken us a while to find our sound because we truly just want to create whatever we wanted to. And some of those fit together, some of them didn’t. But hopefully, as we go along, we get more specific to the point where we can start kind of referencing ourselves and creating our own thing as opposed to pulling from elsewhere and pulling from different genres.

Have you been concentrating on writing songs and perfecting songs rather than going out and playing shows as often as you can?

Cody: Yeah, for sure. It’s funny because I oftentimes forget how long we’ve spent actually playing shows. I would say we’ve been really active now for a couple of years, which is funny because I feel like that pales in comparison to the amount of time that we’ve actually spent behind the scenes making sure everything is good, and we write and record all the music ourselves. The reason for our Ohio trip is we’re holding up here and writing what could become our second album. We try to put a disproportionate amount of time towards writing and hopefully holding it up with a somewhat decent live show.

Olivia: And we’re based in Boston right now, so we, I think, have gotten a lot of practice just playing a lot of local and regional shows around there and there have been highs and lows and all sorts of things. I think that sort of helped us stair step our way up in terms of live shows. I feel like that I’m thankful that has been like a natural progression because I feel like when we started playing live, we wouldn’t have been ready to play bigger crowds and venues and stuff. So it’s nice that it sort of worked out that way as we’ve been writing.

Cody: It’s been really where we sort of started playing basements and whatever bar would get us in on a Monday or Tuesday night and then to kind of grow it. It’s been really fun and rewarding.

Vitor: It’s crazy seeing the videos from the very first shows and the ones from now.

Were the first shows before the pandemic or were coming out of the pandemic?

Olivia: Coming out. It’s all been pretty recent, really. But you know how time is.

Cody, when you were in The Candescents, you had label interest, signed with Dirty Hit Records, and did some touring. That had to have been a lot for someone still in high school to take on. Do you think that experience helped you learn some things that you’re carrying forward or was it too much too handle too soon and you wish hadn’t come before you were a little bit older?

Cody: On one hand, I do think it’s a huge positive. I feel like we’ve sort of had a leg up in knowing who to bring onto our team. Our team isn’t that big, but knowing when to say “no” to people is a huge asset. From that perspective, I definitely enjoy handling more of the business side of things. But, musically, I can’t stress enough, Little Fuss is it’s own thing entirely. As far as stuff I’ve been able to pull from my past experiences, it’s really been a few business tips and tricks. Back then, we had a lot of help in every aspect of the band, even in cover art, in production and everything. Little Fuss is like a whole new experiment for us. Like, how much can we do just in house? It’s a whole new thing.

The album sounds great. Did you record in a studio or did you record at home?

Cody: Basically it was all recorded in our apartment besides maybe two drum tracks.

Olivia: A couple of times we tracked drums in a local place.

Cody: A couple of the drum recordings were really funny stories. One of the big selling points of Berklee that they get you to go there is that you have access to studios. What that means is you might be able to get in from 2am to 4am. So, we would have to haul all of our drum gear down there and basically set up all the mics and then you might get a chance to do a 3-minute take and then you have to go out the door. I’m pretty sure “She’s a Liar” was tracked like that. We set up everything and did one take. We were shoving our gear out the door as the people that were going to suspend us if our gear was in there too long were walking in the other door.

Vitor: We were like, “We can’t finish this in time. What do we do?” And Cody’s like, “I’m going to talk to the dude and distract him and tell him that the studio is clear. You go out the other door and take the gear. Just go to work.” So the dude came in the room and he was looking at the other side of the studio because he could see through the glass. I was just hauling everything out and it all worked out. That session was fun.

Cody: Otherwise the rest of the record, Liv sang the vocals in our apartment. It’s crazy, actually, that you can’t hear more traffic going by. It’s pretty noisy out there. We just set up mics and record guitars. Recording electric guitars in a tiny Boston apartment is kind of difficult, but we manage.

You played the Boston Calling festival recently. Was that something where you had to submit music and there was a fan vote or were you asked to play?

Olivia: We were asked to play, which is really cool. Someone had seen us play live around town and they thought we’d be a good fit. We had a great time.

For local bands at festivals like this, a band like yours often plays really early in the day in front of no one as people come later for the headliners. But, I saw a photo on Instagram and it looked like you had a decent size audience.

Olivia: That was the first thing I said into the microphone when I had a minute to talk. I was like, “There’s so many of you.” We walked out and were like, “People actually showed up to the local stage.” That was cool. The crowd was bopping along and pretty enthusiastic.

Cody: We had played shows leading up to that, to empty bars.

Olivia: And we will again, I’m sure.

Cody: I was much more nervous for that show than I was for Boston Calling because I think it was just so exciting that people actually hear our music outside our bedroom for the first time in a couple of years.

There were probably some people watching you who didn’t even realize you were a local band.

Olivia: Yeah, for sure.

Cody: There’s no distinction between the orange stage, that we were playing on, or the blue stage.

Olivia: I think there were some people that discovered us in the weeks leading up to Boston Calling from the posters that were hung all over Boston. Some people who came, they hadn’t seen us before but they came having heard our music online. We met some really nice people. There were some girls in the front and stuff that were really sweet after the show and some other people that sent some nice stuff.

Vitor: We got the sweetest emails from people that were just propped up over at that stage, and they were the kindest words to us. It was so sweet.

Cody: The coolest one for me was this guy said that he couldn’t wait to bring his 14-year-old bass playing daughter to the show to see Delia play.

Did you get to hang out with the bigger acts that were part of the festival? Or, did you have to move your cars after you were done playing and park in the regular parking lot?

Cody: The parking thing was a whole other deal but we did get to hang out after we were done.

Olivia: The headliners have their own area. I think Declan McKenna thought I was stalking him but I just really like his music.

Cody: We just happened to be chilling out in front of his camper.

Olivia: I had already said “hi” twice. And then he came out of the camper and was like, “Oh, them again.”

Vitor: While that was happening, I kind of befriended some his band at the bar area but I only found out they were his band afterward. We befriended The Beaches. And then the dude from One Direction showed up over in the bar section and people just swarmed him.

Olivia: He was walking by and I was with my mom and I was like, “Is that Niall Horan?” because I genuinely didn’t know. He looks so different now than when he was younger, obviously. And then he heard me and looked at me so I was like, “Oh, I guess that is him.”

Is there any secret, super exciting stuff coming up for Little Fuss?

Cody: We’re just trying to focus on the music and writing and recording and scheming.

Olivia: Nothing to announce, because we’re still scheming. We may or may not be writing new music.

Cody: We have some exciting show announcements we’re going to be announcing over the next week or so of which are at dream venues of ours that we set goals to play a year ago.

What do you want to tell readers about the show in Columbus?

Cody: Hopefully we can get some people to come out, some old friends from Columbus. We’re playing with Henry Morris. I caught him as part of Radattack who he used to play with. He was actually a replacement guitarist in The Candescents after we dropped out. He’s been one of my favorite musicians on the Columbus scene. We sent him an email to see if he’d play with us and he was like, “Yeah, of course.” And we’re playing a band called Lipstk. Their stuff seems really cool. I’m excited about the whole bill.

Vitor: If I may, the set is popping, dog. That thing is on fire so people should pull up.