Recently I got a chance to put a few questions to my old buddy Millie Manders, a fantastic singer-songwriter who is a force to be reckoned with in the British music scene. When I first met Millie in 2013, I was blown away by her powerful vocal work and intricate lyrics which told such fascinating stories.
As it’s 2019 and a lot has happened, I saw this the perfect time to speak to Millie and I am happy to share with you now the outcome of that chat…
You had a huge 2018, it was an incredibly busy year for you and The Shutup, what did you see as your personal highlights?
Releasing a new EP after two years was a huge highlight, and seeing the reaction to it was amazing. We got to tour to new towns, we went abroad as a band for the first time, we had more people coming to our shows than ever before… So many highlights….
In 2018 you released the new EP ‘Shutup’ and I loved hearing it over and over. What made this release different to the previous EP’s?
Collaborating as a band for a start was always going to make it different. You then have the cumulative interests and sonic preferences of a group begin to merge making it, in my opinion, more interesting – the previous EP was also a collaboration but with other producers and songwriters. I have always retained topline (melody) and lyrics though, on the most recent EP too.
To answer your question though, the processes were different. George wrote a horn line that became the basis for Right To Life. Brave was a jam session that focussed around the drums and bass. Lolipops was originally a poem I wrote and One That Got Away was a hook I had in my head for days.
For the first time we went to a professional mixing/mastering engineer who really knew how to craft our vision sonically and made our recordings sparkle beyond measure. Each person involved in creating Shutup is, I believe, very proud of the end result.
Last year I saw a lot of updates from you with your shows and festival appearances. What show was probably the most memorable of last year?
Rebellion without a doubt. There were some incredible shows – Boomtown, Nice N Sleazy, Bearded Theory were all incredible – the crowds that came and supported us blew our minds, but to be on the Empress Ballroom Stage – a 3000 capacity room at 1:30pm and to see it packing out for a band barely known was one of the most emotional experiences I think any of us have experienced. I nearly cried. I also nearly threw up. Haha!
2019 has just begun, what shows have you already got in the pipeline for fans to come and see you?
We are at Rebellion again this year, plus we have Nice N Sleazy, Camden Rocks and a few others, plus we will be coming to Scotland for the first time since 2014 and a bunch of other places. Loads of shows in loads of places!
With the release of various Eps over the years, have you looked at maybe doing a full album in the future or would you prefer another EP next?
It’s something we want, but it has to be right. I’d love to release an album but I would rather release another EP than release an album with songs I only half believe in. A body of work needs to be as good as you can make it. So yes, but not til it’s right.
I have over the last few years seen you rock the Ukulele. Is there a particular instrument you would love to learn to play?
Sure! Loads. I’d like to pick up my clarinet again. I’d like to learn guitar properly and get better with my sax. I’d love to be able to play the piano. I’d quite like to try learning trumpet….
The mix of ska and punk is very evident in the latest EP. But, I remember when I heard you sing ‘I Feel Good’ live and was blown away by your vocal range. Would a cover album ever be on the cards? Or a recording of that track?
Super unlikely. But who knows?
By the end of 2019, What would you like to see achieved by yourself and the band?
I’d like us to have a heap of new material written if not released. I’d like us to be touring in other territories both in and outside of the EU. I’m always looking to progress musically.
A fun question to finish on. You are stuck on a desert island and you are only allowed one album, one food item and one luxury item. What do you pick?
The album thing is really hard because that’s not something that has ever stayed the same for me. When I was 15 it would have been Dookie by Green Day. At 18 it would have been Stoosh by Skunk Anansie. Two years ago it would have been To The Moon by Popes Of Chillitown. Right now probably I Was Broken When You Got Here by Call Me Malcolm… Tomorrow who knows? But surely no matter how good the album, if you only had one, at some point silence would become more appealing?
One food item?? God this is a horrible question haha! Is there other food on the island?? ummmm……. Vegan Sriracha Mayonnaise. That stuff goes with anything…
One luxury item… Coconut oil. Cheating a bit but its a brilliant moisturiser, healer, hair product and cooking oil. Boom!
Millie, as always, thank you very much. If people want more information on you and the band, how can they do that?
You’re welcome!! Thank you Jonjo!!
Here’s a list:
If you have never heard anything by Millie Manders before, here are a selection of her songs for you to get your teeth into!