The Little Kicks released their highly anticipated fifth album ‘People Need Love‘ this week. Their first since 2017’s successful ‘Shake off Your Troubles.’ The release sees the lead singer and songwriter Steven Milne explore the darker side of life while maintaining their infectious guitar-led vocal pop positivity.

Listen to the album on your favourite streaming service now.

The band recorded most of the album in 2019 and completed it in 2020, but the pandemic pushed the release until now. With so much love and effort put into the recording, they wanted to give it the very best chance to shine.

It’s a very busy few days in Steven’s life. We caught up with him ahead of the release of the album and fresh off a successful True North festival (Steven is an artist booker for Aberdeen Performing Arts). The Little Kicks also have live dates on the schedule across the country, so we are delighted that he took some time out to answer our questions.

The Little Kicks

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Let’s go back to the start. The Little Kicks have been releasing albums for 13 years now. How did you meet up?

Our first LP came out in 2009 but I don’t think we really found our feet until after we released our second LP (in 2011). That album’s material was so well received (particularly when playing at festival sets) and as a result, I think we felt a lot more confident to continue.

When we then tried to vary our sound on ‘Put Your Love In Front Of Me’ (2013) by incorporating a bit more of a concept to the record, using more strings and synths etc it became our most popular release. So we have been quite lucky that we aren’t bound by one sound and can sort of change as our influences and tastes change.

We all met through playing in various other bands or sharing stages so being in this band as a unit now feels like a natural fit. I think it has helped that we all have varying music tastes and we have had a couple of line-up changes along the way which has kept things fresh – we jokingly compare ourselves to the Sugababes and that at one point I will ultimately be next to be replaced.

Did you have big ambitions for The Little Kicks at the time or was it a case of having a bit of fun, letting off steam and seeing where it takes you?

I think probably when we started yeah. Speaking personally as a kid in your room you want to be as big as you can get and we perhaps had bigger ambitions previously but the music is the most important thing to me now.

I like the idea of a body of work that has a natural flow and I hope that each time we follow up the previous LP with a new release that it’s a development in some way and that we are not sounding the same. Perhaps the music may have similarities in sound (my voice/ our writing and playing style) but it has to change somehow to keep both us and the listener interested.

We probably had our biggest following locally when we came out sounding like The Strokes and Interpol waaayy back but it would be dull to still be like that now – for both the audience and us. In saying that, if the opportunity came along to get out there full-time we would take it with both hands, we want our music to be heard as far and wide as possible.

The Little Kicks singer and songwriter, Steven Milne

You, yourself have had your challenges coming through covid, becoming a dad for the first time, then losing your own dad. How do you think has that impacted this new album?

Our last LP came out in March 2017 but it had been finished for a wee while so I had started sketching for what became to be this record. My eldest was born in August and my Dad died very suddenly that November and we were very close. We were meant to go to Canada the week after he died, we obviously didn’t go, and I took some time off. Obviously, that was a strange mix of emotions (having become a father and losing mine) and it did knock me off compass for some time.

The year ahead (2018) had been planned as a writing year (other than two big shows at Belladrum & King Tuts) so come Spring 2018 I would try and pick up with the ideas I had begun the year before but the songs were becoming very sad (which I couldn’t help) and not really the direction I wanted to go.

The 2017 record ‘Shake Off Your Troubles’ best-received feature was its positivity so I didn’t want to make a downer but I needed to get how I felt out of my system as that’s how I usually deal with things. Slowly I managed to tip the balance in the right direction and I started bringing ideas into the room and sending demo ideas around.

The lads were great about it and incredibly encouraging which made me feel better about sending such personal lyrics out – although I admit now on the almost eve of the LP coming out it is strange to think other people will hear them.

The album (I think) is, on the whole, a very positive record but my hope would be that if someone is going through similar emotions to what I experienced I hope they can hear something in the words that chime with them and that maybe it can give them some comfort.

The band originally planned to release the album last year. It must feel like this one is kind of in the rearview for you? Are you already working on the next album?

Not at all actually, it has been a pretty constant process somehow since it was finished/ mastered in Autumn 2020. During the first wave of Covid, we were literally one session from finishing the record so we had to sit at a standstill of course but in 2021 we began planning ahead.

We commissioned the artist for the artwork paintings and whittled down which to use, our drummer Scott took on a new band space for us to use and kitted it out as a studio, we had to get the vinyl designed and ordered and we began rehearsing.

I have some sketches on my phone but there hasn’t been a huge desire to work on any further new material (or much time/ things to write about!) but once this album comes out I am sure I will get some brain space to get going again. To be honest, I am really so proud of these 10 songs which are sitting ready to go and all I have thought about for some time is how much I can’t wait to get out and play them live and let people hear them.

The Little Kicks from the Ruminations Video

The Bon Accord Baths pool was a great backdrop for the Ruminations video. It really reflected the song’s lyrics. What was it like filming there?

An immense honour to be honest. We cannot thank the BAB team enough for facilitating our access to the space and helping us make it work. Snap who made the video also did a fantastic job. To make that shoot happen took so much work from all sides and I am still a little in disbelief that we got in there.

Obviously being from Aberdeen and having grown up swimming there it was cool to be back in the space. Every room could be a film set it has so much character and the natural light in the pool area is amazing. It wasn’t without its challenges (illness cancelled the first shoot at a day’s notice, the venue has no power etc.) but we are overjoyed with the final result.

What do you love most, touring or recording? The three singles released from People Need Love have a nice distinctive crisp sound. How deeply do you get involved in the production of the Little Kicks music?

If I had to choose I would have to say I love being in the studio. It’s such a great way to spend time, being creative and trying things to make the songs happen together – this was especially true for this record.

We recorded in Chem19 in Hamilton with Paul Savage (his production credits are endless and too long to list) and he really elevated the songs to a different level. He knew how to push us in the right direction in terms of our performance and what the song needed (without being pushy about it) and he stopped us fussing over tiny details or ironing out creases within the mixing of the songs (which is a previous bad habit of ours). I think this is why the album has the energy it has.

Steven Milne at the piano

Paul was keen for us to attend the mixing sessions wherever possible so I was fortunate to sit in and watch him work which was really cool. As he is fortunate to have accumulated lots of outboard equipment he doesn’t believe in using lots of digital or computer effects and prefers to make sure he gets what’s going in sounding good to cut the editing or mixing work down later. So there was a lot of emphasis on getting a strong performance down.

Also, some of his techniques with microphones for the drums or how he treated guitars & vocals, blended the synths in the mix were fascinating to watch and I truly hope we get to do another LP with him, so everyone reading do please buy this one.

On some of your upcoming live shows, you’re playing with the Cairn String Quartet. You’ve worked with before…including on the new album. What do they bring to The Little Kicks’ live experience?

I love the sound of strings in music and I think hearing them live is going to be very emotive and be the cherry on the cake for the live shows we have with them. When they did their parts in the studio we were blown away by what they added to the sound and considering their current engagement is to be on tour with Biffy Clyro I am staggered they have agreed to come and play with us.

As they are session musicians in high demand it’s doubtful (unfortunately) to be something we will repeat in a live capacity after these shows so do come and see us this Autumn.

The Little Kicks – People Need Love – Artwork

Album artwork is clearly important to you. Tell us about the artwork for this new release.

We all collect vinyl and enjoy that listening experience. Our last two LPs have almost sold out of their vinyl editions so it was a no-brainer to get this one made on vinyl which allows the option to think more creatively with the artwork.

We felt like the title was a cool statement and Adam liked the artist Georgie Bell (the painter of the artwork on the sleeve) – we all agreed that having the title over one of her artworks would be a cool cover. Our friend Michael Chang helped us achieve this by spending a lot of time on the cover design (style, layout, fonts and direction) and as a result, we went to town on the vinyl edition. It has a die-cut sleeve with three different paintings from Georgie Bell that can be used as cover options and the vinyl is clear/ opaque.

The insert also has all the lyrics within as well as a dedication to my Dad. As a package, it is a truly beautiful thing.

What excites you about music? Who are you listening to right now?

I love checking out the new LP releases every Friday and I always like hearing new things. The latest things I have been enjoying at home are the new album by James Righton (formerly of the Klaxons now produced by Soulwax), Andrew Wasylyk’s back catalogue (instrumental composer from Dundee who is also in Idlewild), Nina Simone (specifically a live album I picked up) and I’ve been on a solo McCartney tip of late.

In a live capacity, I have really enjoyed Zoe Graham‘s ‘Medicine Cabinet & Rival Saints’ in the last few weeks, and in terms of upcoming records, I am looking forward to the new Arctic Monkeys LP based on the single and their last LP, which I loved.

This year the most listened to LP in our house is probably Harry Styles‘ last LP ‘Harry’s House’. It’s an absolute banger.


We’d like to thank Steven again for taking the time to answer our questions in such a thoughtful and candid manner. This has been one of our favourite Temp Check interviews.

You can buy ‘People Need Love’ on vinyl from The Little Kicks’ website, where you can also get tickets to their upcoming tour. You find the album on your favourite streaming service. Finally, please make sure to support and follow The Little Kicks on Twitter or Instagram.


About POST

Kevin Mitchell and Chris Sansbury founded POST. This was from a desire to cut through the noise to share the great things that happen in Aberdeen. They focus on community, culture and the interesting people of the city. The local artists, businesses and charities; photographers, musicians and entertainers. These are the people that make a positive impact on our city every day. So they use video, audio, writing and social media to amplify the voices in our community. And to ultimately give a platform to Aberdeen folk to engage and tell their own stories.

Recent work includes coverage of Spectra 2022, interviews with We Are Here Scotland founder Ica Headlam; Paralympic gold medalist, Neil Fachie; Aberdeen rapper Chef and his push for success; an article by film director Mark Stirton about the state of high-rise buildings in the city; coverage of Nuart Aberdeen 2022 and TEDx Aberdeen, as well as coverage of British Art Show 9.

A great way to catch up with our work is by reading our 2021 Year in Review.