Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into making music?
Well, I’ve been performing most of my life as both my parents are actors, so I’ve been brought up acting and prancing around onstage – which I loved. I just always knew I wanted to be a singer. I was fortunate enough to land some really good professional work with Basement Jaxx when I was starting off, which led to work with more people and after that it was a case of working up to writing my own stuff. I wanted to be independent.
In the video we see you building a track using a loop-based approach. Is this how you usually work?
I write on a lot of different instruments and I have been using a looper for a few years now. They’re so helpful if you’re a solo musician, to create huge soundscapes live on stage. I can’t tell you what the chords I’m playing are most of the time, but I know what sounds and harmonies I like, so the looper has facilitated a freer approach to music making in a lot of ways. More recently, I’m writing less on it as I’m using Ableton [Live] for production and writing with other instruments, but will still get it out if I’ve got a vocal beat that I like or want to trial some harmonies before recording them.
How did this track come about? Tell us about working with Boris.
The plan was that Boris and I would get together and work the track out over the course of a day, so I took my guitar (the blue Fender you see in the video) over to his studio in Neukölln. We hadn’t met before but we got on really well. We have a mutual friend from England, Aly Gillani from First Word Records who actually released some of Boris’s solo material a while ago, so we chatted about that whilst drinking tea. I’d been listening to a lot of Glen Campbell that week so I think the chords for the loop were pretty much inspired by him! The melody came from a bit of noodling, as usual. Boris and I properly got the giggles when he switched the microphone on and told me to ‘noodle freely’. Once we’d composed ourselves it was a case of putting in the harmonies and coming up with that lovely warm bass line and the drums. It all went so smoothly we were both like ‘oh, so I guess we’ve done it then?!’ Haha. Studio days can be super tricky sometimes and this was quite the opposite!
What was your inspiration for the lyrics of the track?
The lyric comes from a song I’ve written for my album. It’s a song called ‘Glass House’. I wrote it as a piece of advice on how to live life generously, despite being far from perfect myself. I actually started writing it before the advent of Brexit, Trump, et al, and it’s become really pertinent, alas. The lyric is super simple; just hold the door open if there’s someone coming along behind you. Share your privilege and power. Don’t elevate yourself above others. Show kindness. Close your own umbrella. Don’t be a dick.
How did you get on with the KOMPLETE AUDIO 1? What do you like about the audio interface?
It is absolutely perfect for my needs. Two inputs, two output levels and really user-friendly. And looks so sleek, I love it!
When inspiration strikes, how important is it for you to be able to get your ideas down quickly?
Really important. My phone is full of murmured voice memo melodies in train stations and club toilets. So having the KA1 around at home means I can so simply commit those things to my computer once I’m back.
In the video we can see some custom stomp boxes – can you tell us the story behind those?
Ahaha, yeah! I’m a painter as well as a musician and the chihuahua pedal is the ‘Lil Boost’, the first in a collab series with my friend Sascha from Suchahardman Pedals who makes all kinds of amazing custom boxes. He builds the circuitry, etc, and I paint a tiny dog on the front. Easy! And it’s actually for sale!
What’s up next for Milly Blue?
I’m finishing my album at the moment; I’ve been recording it at my friend Andrew Hung’s [Fuck Buttons] studio in Norfolk, England. So the next couple of months are about recording the last few tracks and getting it out later this year. I’ve got some great collaborations lined up too, some with Berlin-based artists and some with others much further afield, so I’m looking forward to lots of travelling and performing in 2019. I’ve been quiet on the live front whilst I focus on finishing the album; can’t wait to put a band together and get on the road.
The vocals and guitar were produced using only the included software with KOMPLETE AUDIO 1 and 2. Check out the list below from Milly and Boris to see which presets they used:
- REPLIKA – “Wormhole” preset (slightly tweaked)
- REPLIKA – “Padphaser” preset (slightly tweaked)
- SOLID BUS COMP – “Mix Glue” preset (slightly tweaked)