Little Tents screams goodbye
The rise and fall of the local band’s exciting, indie punk sound
These past couple of years have been quite a roller coaster ride for local quartet Little Tents. The eclectic punk rock band quickly developed a lot of buzz around town, scored some excellent gigs, released a killer record and even wrote material for a second.
But it may be a while before that new album sees the light of day. This upcoming show on Friday, September 9, at Blue Lamp will be the group’s final for the foreseeable future. Guitarist and vocalist Lys Mayo is moving to Georgia for a work opportunity.
“I haven’t even left yet, and I am already looking forward to coming back,” Mayo says. “Sacramento is my home, and while I really need to get out of this place for a few years, I know ultimately I will settle down here.”
Still, she acknowledges nothing is certain. The group discussed trying to record the new album before she left, but finally decided that doing so would be rushing things.
A few years earlier, Mayo wouldn’t have even imagined discussing recording an album of songs she wrote on guitar and sang on. Up until Little Tents, she had only ever been the drummer in bands—same with fellow singer and guitarist Audrey Motzer.
Prior to official band formation, Mayo and Motzer would get together, get drunk and jam on their guitars. They bonded over their drumming histories and felt comfortable exploring their new instruments and singing abilities together. There was no real intention behind the music they were playing, but what came out was a weird blend of high-energy indie-punk, emo, dissonant post-punk and screamo.
“Part of our style is not really knowing how to play,” Mayo says. “Even if I tried my absolute hardest to rip off a band, I couldn’t.”
They enlisted bassist Jordan Trucano and drummer Adam Jennings, which helped not only refine their riffs and assemble actual songs, but the four clicked. The songs have an exciting vibe that sounds like four people all riffing off one another.
Even the writing is a group project.
“We all help each other write parts because all of us can pretty much play everything,” Mayo says.
The debut record, Fun Colors, was released in May of 2015. It’s a short and sweet collection of seven tunes, most of which date back to their earliest practices. The record is fun, fast and scattered musically, but the lyrics deal with a lot of struggles, trials and tribulations that Mayo, Motzer and Trucano were going through, which they sang—and screamed—cathartically.
When they uploaded the album to Bandcamp, without putting much effort into promoting it, they were shocked it got more than 100 streams within the first 24 hours.
“Even now, I’ll go to Bandcamp and see that people are still listening to it, which is kind of weird,” Motzer says. “Usually when a band puts out a record it’s like, ’Cool check it out,’ then you forget about it. But people are still checking it out.”
After the release of Fun Colors, attention for the group only increased. It got some of its best gigs in the past year, including a spot in 2016’s Concert in the Park series.
“Audrey and I were both going through a pretty dark time in our lives, and that’s what the record was born out of,” Mayo says. “This band allowed me to really get out of my head and express things that I haven’t been able to in the past.”