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By Tom Murphy
Adam Baumeister, aka Littles Paia, can often be seen as the pedal steel player in Bad Weather California. But those lucky enough to have seen him perform experimental folk-blues-rock know him to be a talented songwriter and sonic innovator in his own right. With a vintage reverb unit and a vivid imagination, Littles blurs and bends the edges of his guitar sound and weaves a frayed, daydreamy soundscape. We spoke recently and asked about the origin of his name and the high-concept art experiment that is a centerpiece of his new album, Dew on the Needles.
Westword: What is the meaning of the name "Littles Paia"?
Adam Baumeister: In the group of friends I used to hang out with, there was another Adam, so I became "Little Adam." With the name, one of the thoughts I had is that...it sounds really weird, but that it was Google-able. In Hawaiian, paia means "big sound," because it's up on the hill from the beach a little bit. When the winter comes, the big waves come to the north shores of the island; you can hear the crashes.
Could you explain the "CC" in the "CC trilogy"?
Contracrostipunctus — it's from Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter. It talks about music and art in there and how it can be one thing alone but mirror something else. "Row Row Row Your Boat" is sort of an example of that. I was fascinated by the idea, and somewhere along the way I came up with the concept of writing a song to a music video. When YouTube came around, I saw stuff like that and realized I could do the same thing.
I searched for a long time for the most ridiculous videos I could find and ran across Blue Öyster Cult. I wrote a song to the "Shooting Shark" video. The band is singing about shooting shark, and on the screen it's lizard women, fire and aliens. The whole idea was to write a song I could play live that would sound kind of weird, but if anyone ever saw the video, it would blow their minds, like Pink Floyd and The Wizard of Oz. The words to the song are weird because they're not what I'd normally write to tell a story or express feelings, but they tell the story I came up with to go along with the video.
The second song — which isn't on the CD but is listed as "Track 8" and "only available on YouTube" because I didn't want to put it on there to mess with the flow of the CD — went along with another video from the same album, the same director. I wanted the music to go along with the first song as well but also fit along, in the loosest terms, with the first song so that the third CC trilogy song is the two songs at the same time and the two videos at the same time.