Photo by Nick Fancher

Saint Columbus

Ohio indie folk band Saintseneca bring new songs to Eugene

Fighting the flu is tough enough when you can stay home and rest. Zac Little, bandleader with the Columbus, Ohio, indie folk band Saintseneca has been nursing the flu from the backseat of his tour van.

“It’s not the best place to have the flu, I’ll tell you that,” he tells me. 

Little, nevertheless, is feeling better, and his band, together in one form or another since 2007, is set to launch a West Coast tour supporting the indie rock band Murder by Death. On an off night from the tour, Saintseneca picked up a headline slot at Sam Bond’s in Eugene. 

Saintseneca’s latest full-length album, Pillar of Na, came out in 2018, but over the past year or so the band re-emerged with a few singles available on streaming services. There’s no full-length forthcoming.

“I’ve been putting out songs for the enjoyment of putting out songs,” Little says.

Little is a self-taught musician on guitar and on more folk-oriented instruments such as mandolin, banjo and dulcimer. As a boy he listened to The Beatles and the Ramones, and he started writing his own music right away. 

“Rather than playing other people’s stuff — which for whatever reason was a little tedious for me — I got a VHS tape that showed some real basic guitar stuff,” he says. Little would rewind the tape, watching it over and over. “After I figured out power chords, I was like, ‘OK, that’s all I need to know!’ I started writing songs after that.”

A recent Saintseneca single is “Winter Breaking,” in which the band’s lo-fi indie folk tendencies snap a bit more into focus under a sheen of frosty production and contemplative emotion. “You say you hear the sadness in the singers voice,” Little sings in a wobbly tenor, with tears welling behind the words. “Well, maybe I do, too.”

Little has no words to describe Saintseneca’s music. In fact, he avoids the question whenever possible.

“I don’t have any perspective on it. That’s not really my role or responsibility to articulate what it sounds like,” Little says. “I just make the sound.”

Saintseneca performs with Eugene’s The Macks 8:30 pm Sunday, Feb. 23, at Sam Bond’s; $10 advance, $12 door, 21-plus.