Interview: Milburn

Ten years after their debut Well Well Well, which saw them revive Sheffield’s music scene alongside Arctic Monkeys, Milburn are back with their latest single ‘Take Me Home’.

With incredibly driven verses and infectious hooks, ‘Take Me Home’ sees Milburn slot perfectly in with the likes of Blossoms, whilst maintaining a sound that’s swimming with nostalgia. Milburn aren’t stuck in their ways, but they certainly aren’t bowing down to any pressures or trends either.

With a new album in the works, we caught up with Milburn to find out more about their return…

Hi Milburn, welcome to Gigslutz! How did you all initially meet and start playing music together? 
As teenagers we all used to play for the same football team. A full season lasts from Autumn to Spring, so we found ourselves, like most kids, with plenty of time in the Summer and nothing much to do. Forming a band seemed like a good way to pass the time.

You’ve been away for quite a while now, what prompted the decision to return with a new single?
The ‘fans, maaan’. Everyday I’d get a message on social media from someone new asking the band to reform. There was a lot of love out there, particularly in the North. We thought it’d be interesting to see how much, if anything,  had changed since we last made music together.

We’re loving the new single ‘Take Me Home’ – what’s it all about?
Thanks. Like many artists from our neck of the woods we prefer just to play our music and keep ourselves to ourselves. Often in this industry, however, you’re made to talk to people that you’d rather not. The word ‘networking’ makes me feel nauseous, but it comes with the territory. The song is about that whole side of things.

I’ve heard there’s also a new album on its way, recorded with the acclaimed Bill Ryder Jones – how was the experience of working with him?
Great. Bill seemed to understand the dynamics within the band straight away and acted almost as a fifth member/big brother. Coming off the back of eight years apart, it was always unknown as to whether we’d be able to make music together again. We all respected him as an artist before meeting him which helped him to captain the ship. I honestly don’t think we could or would have made this record with anyone else.  

Having been a major part of the Sheffield scene in the noughties, how would you compare the music scene up there now to what it used to be?
Honestly, I don’t really know an awful lot about it. It’s kind of a wilfull ignorance because I think the young’uns have to create their own scene without much help of the thirty somethings. A sort of tough love. Yeah, we knew who Pulp were when we first started making music, but we didn’t really want to sound anything like them and we didn’t really need their help. That attitude helped to spawn what the city’s scene became in the ’00s.

And how would you say the music scene’s changed generally in the last decade? Do you feel it’s harder for new bands to make a name for themselves these days?
It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. The abundance of music undoubtedly makes it harder to ‘get noticed’, and the general shift away from guitar music – in terms of the mainstream media – means that not as many kids are doing it the way we did. However, the social media revolution has created a real independent spirit. No longer do bands have to rely on sycophantic A&R interns to pass their music up the chain, or take a kicking from the journalist who never could figure out how to play ‘Stairway To Heaven’. More often than not, ‘the middle man’ is being removed. That’s not to say these tossers don’t still exist, it just that they’re less influential.  

You’ve played lots of big gigs over the years, but is there one that stands out as a career highlight?
We ventured over to Japan a couple of times and were lucky enough to play Fuji Rocks festival. The gig itself was good, but it was more of the realistion that we were on the other side of the world playing music that we’d written in our bedrooms in Sheffield. The big festivals are always fun, but nothing can beat the atmosphere of our headline shows in Sheffield and Manchester. The last ‘Ritz’ gig was special.

As we’re a new music-focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
I like the debut by Findlay. It’s called Forgotten Pleasures and has a Lykki Li/Yeah Yeah Yeahs vibe. I know the cat is well and truly out of the bag with this one but Cabbage supported us on a few dates and it was one of the few times that all the band members made an effort to catch their set.

Finally, what are you most looking forward to about the rest of 2017?
We have a new record due for release in September. Most of all, I’m really looking forward to reading a five star review in Gigslutz.

Huge thanks to Milburn for answering our questions! 

‘Take Me Home’, the new single from Milburn, is out now.

Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.