All this week, Behind the Setlist is previewing Volume, a music festival in Spokane, Washington, which features 100 DIY and indie artists from the Pacific Northwest and beyond (put together by our friends at the Inlander). Our Spokane team will be on the ground during Volume on June 2 and June 3, but we wanted to dive into these artists ahead of time.

Who are they, where do they come from, and what can we expect? We turned up the Volume on each artist for a little preview palaver.

Small Million @ the Bartlett, 6/2, 10 pm

Where are you from and how did the group come together?

We’re a duo based in Portland, Oregon, and we met one fateful night at a disco dance party a few years back. We started collaborating despite our very different musical backgrounds—I’m originally an alt-Americana songwriter, and I still front my own band playing country music. At first it was hard for me to see what I would have in common with Ryan and his psych rock and electronic production background, but when we sat down and I started humming melodies and writing words over his tracks, I could tell there was something great there.

What’s your favorite song to play live?

My personal favorite song to perform is one of our newest tracks, “Bullets in the Bower.” It builds from an A Capella track to something really heavy and synth-driven, and I had a lot of fun writing lyrics that merge the imagery of old English folk ballads with the romantic tension of West Side Story with a dash of Sleeping Beauty. It’s not available on an album yet, but here’s a video of us performing it on the Dan Cable Presents podcast.

What goes into the making of a great setlist?

It’s all about flow. Our songs range from upbeat danceable tracks to really moody and reflective ones. We love to build sets that ride the waves between those two moods, and we always want our sets to take people on a journey. We’ve heard people describe our music as cinematic, so I think whatever the pace we hope it makes you feel things.

While at Volume, who are you most excited to see perform?

Going in, I’m really excited to see Chastity Belt, Woolen Men, and Myke Bogan & Blossom. Mostly I’m looking forward to discovering new artists, though—the whole line-up is so cross-genre and exciting, I’m sure I’ll find some new favorites!

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

We’re writing and recording tracks for a full-length album, playing more shows and festivals this summer, and doing a West Coast tour in September with dream-pop crooner DoublePlusGood. We’re just putting the finishing touches on a joint single with DoublePlusGood that we’ll be performing and promoting on tour—stay tuned!

Answers by Malachi Graham. Follow Small Million on on Facebook. Get Volume tickets here.


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