Tinyfolk: Monday Exposure

Tinyfolk – Lunches (MP3)
Tinyfolk – Do Animals Get Lonely Late at Night? (MP3)
Tinyfolk – Lost and Found (MP3) via CLLCT

CLLCT is a great place to hunt around for interesting new uke acts. I’ve already spread the good word about Madeline Ava. And today it’s the turn of Tinyfolk. I caught up with Russ, Mr Tinyfolk, for the essential details.

What appeals to you about the baritone ukulele and how did you get started with it?

I really like the smallness of the instrument, it’s really easy to take with me to shows or wherever. The sound is also really great because it’s somewhere between a ukulele and a guitar, and I kind of feel like I get the best of both worlds there. It makes Tinyfolk sound different from other acoustic acts, for sure.

I started out with a cheapo soprano uke in 2005 and taught myself to play. I didn’t really know how to play any other instruments, I just thought ukulele seemed really pretty easy to pick up, so I did. And it was pretty easy.

You’ve got a big back catalogue. Where do you recommend people new to your music start?

I would recommend starting with Owling, which is what I call the “greatest” “hits” record, then decide which you like and listen to the full albums or EPs those songs are from. Tinyfolk is really all over the place, and not all of it’s ukulele, though the vast majority of it is. The songs without uke are probably all either electronic or classical guitar, though there might be an a capella number or two in there.

Is that a standard ukulele on Lost and Found? Do you play much re-entrant uke?

Yep. That’s my original soprano uke that I started out on. It’s broken apart and has been glued back together, but it works just great still, or as great as a thirty dollar ukulele can be expected to work after four years.

I generally play one song on the soprano per show, sometimes more if I’m in the mood. I don’t write songs on it as often, but I’d like to. I played it ad nauseum when I first got it, so by the time I got the baritone uke, I was tired of writing songs on the soprano. Now I like it again.

You give most of your music away for free on the net. How has the internet changed the way you make and release music?

I started making music in 2005, so the first thing I did when I first made the first song was to put it online. I quickly learned that when I made it free online it was a good way to get feedback from people, and I also quickly learned that I wasn’t going to make any money selling CDs, except for occasionally at shows. Thus, I put out an online-only EP with the now-defunct mp3 label/blog Bunch of Beatniks Riding a Rocket in 2005, then started putting out of print releases up there, then whenever 001collective (now CLLCT) was created, I just put everything up there. I haven’t been on tour in over a year now, so really promoting with free music online is the best way I have to let people hear what I’m doing.

Who are your favourite ukulele acts?

Ukulele Ike, Herman Dune (I was inspired to pick up the uke after seeing David-Ivar Herman Dune play a lovely little set on a soprano in Bloomington), Dennis Driscoll, Jens Lekman, Jacob Borshard, Ki(10)z and my friends bands like Watercolor Paintings, Madeline Ava, Your Yellow Dress and Blanketarms.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Well, I’m working on a barry uke album that will be out on the wonderful Swim Slowly records before the end of the year, and I’m working on a three-song split of electronic music that will be a benefit for We Heart Arts and will be out by the end of the summer. Maybe a tour after that. I’ll be on Shrimper Records 20th Anniversary 2 CD compilation alongside amazing lo-fi acts like The Mountain Goats, Herman Dune and Jad Fair, so that’s pretty exciting. I’m moving from central Indiana to Chicago by July, so who knows what wonders will await Tinyfolk in the big city.

Download more Tinyfolk at CLLCT and visit his MySpace.

View Comments

14 Comments

  1. JCMcGee May 11th, 2009 7:23 pm

    Ha…it was after seeing Herman Dune that I got a uke!

  2. Howlin' Hobbit May 11th, 2009 8:09 pm

    Dude, did your gazillions of fans crash CLLCT? It keeps timing out when I try to visit.

    Ah… the price of fame, hm?

  3. Tinyfolk May 11th, 2009 10:15 pm

    I just e-mailed the guy who runs CLLCT about it. Should be cleared up soon.

  4. Minamin May 12th, 2009 6:29 pm

    Tinyfolk is one of my favorite lo-fi diy indei ukulele acts. Love the interview!

  5. Anne May 13th, 2009 3:19 am

    I didn’t get a ukulele after seeing Herman Dune, but I maybe got one after hearing Tinyfolk. Thank you for posting this interview! I am pretty excited for the future of Tinyfolk, and that includes not just the part about moving-to-Chicago!

  6. Woodshed May 13th, 2009 7:13 am

    Hobbit: Yeah, a mention from me is like having Stephen Fry tweet about you.

    Tinyfolk: Looks like it’s still down. Shame about that.

    Minamin: Yeah, top guy.

    Anne: I’ve been meaning to visit Chicago ever since I had a stop-over there. It’s a shame the Windy City Uke Fest got canceled.

  7. Marcus May 14th, 2009 10:50 pm

    Great video, great interview. Keep up the good work.

  8. J-Hob May 20th, 2009 10:31 pm

    Nice interview, I really wanted to check out more TFstuff but cllct still seems to be down :-(

    Hopefully I’ll remember to try again in the future when the site is back up

  9. Woodshed May 21st, 2009 3:36 pm

    J-Hob: It’s still down? Uh oh.

  10. J-Hob May 21st, 2009 3:47 pm

    yup, still down unfortunately

  11. Tinyfolk May 24th, 2009 6:07 am

    Looks like CLLCT is gone for good, unfortunately: http://www.holycrapitsaustin.com/2009/05/life-and-times-of-cllct.html

    All those songs are up on last.fm, but Owling is no longer anywhere. I’m trying to put it and some other things up on bandcamp, but that site makes it really slow to upload anything.

  12. Woodshed May 24th, 2009 9:37 am

    Tinyfolk: Damn, that is a shame. Where am I going to find new ukulele acts now?

  13. alexp November 2nd, 2009 4:03 am

    cllct is back up! go check out tons of new music!

    im in your yellow dress and you might want to check out our track called “palm branches” off our latest record called “Orange County We’re Nothing At All Like the Shows” or our older record “Songs for the Backseat” which has plenty of uke songs

    http://www.cllct.com

  14. Woodshed November 3rd, 2009 11:37 am

    alexp: Excellent stuff. Thanks for letting me know.

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