Interview: Five Minutes with Milo Gore

UK band Milo Gore has just released their new single ‘Green Eyes’ off of their upcoming album release, How Do You Cope While Grieving For The Living? (20 August 2020). The album features impressive credits with producer Pete Prokopiw (Mumford & Sons, Florence & The Machine), Mixing Engineer Andy Savours (Sigur Ros, The Horrors, Arctic Monkeys) and Mastering Engineer Guy Davie (Jamie T, The Streets, King Krule). Other noteworthy success the band has achieved thus far includes airplay, interviews and live sessions for BBC Radio Devon and BBC Radio Cornwall

Before the ‘Green Eyes’ release, we asked the band a few questions, below are their answers.  

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

A big question…One that I think I could write a whole dissertation on! However, I think it’s important to keep my answer natural and fluent. After all, I think that’s the most important thing about the arts; honesty. I’ve always been the type of person to wear my heart of my sleeve, to speak my mind, and give all of me, especially when it came to songwriting. To me the arts are everything. I was never that academic, and I just sort of fell into music and drama while I was at school, and from then on, I was hooked. Although I must say, as much as I love listening to new music, looking at amazing art, for me, it’s always been much more about the creative process. I have this NEED to create. This NEED to get my feelings and emotions out through writing songs. I guess that’s the answer to your question. I need the arts. The arts have kept me alive and ticking. They’ve given me meaning, where little else has…

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

Hmm, that’s a hard one. I think it depends on the situation really! I think when it came to this album, the overarching idea of the album came first. But when it came to an individual song, the sound came first. If that makes sense? For instance, I knew I wanted this album to be based on mental health, love, loss, and addiction. But then, when it came to writing the 12 songs, I believe that process to be much more natural. For me, I like to come up with my guitar part, and then once I have that, play around with lyrics and melody on top of it. I’m much more comfortable working that way. Although.. I’m starting to work more and more conceptually.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

This album only has one collaborator on it…. Ronnie Cook, or as he likes to be known when playing solo, RMC. Ronnie is an incredibly good friend to the band, having learned his trade in Falmouth just like us, alongside us. He is an incredibly gifted songwriter, singer, and guitarist. His band Ronnie Cook & Friends are awesome live, and have a wicked album out at the moment called Good Grief – hence why we called the song he collaborates on ‘A Collaboration Of Our Grief’. Ronnie and I wrote ‘A Collaboration Of Our Grief’ in my room in Falmouth, while discussing depression, anxiety & mental health. Both of us have been truly struck down by our mental health in the past, and this song is a lament to those times. Ronnie can be heard shredding out a solo on the guitar, towards the end of the track. It is a song that reflects the times, and the tough times ahead.

What’s on your current playlist?

Penelope Isles – ‘Gnarbone’

Wolf – ‘Immortale’

Velvet Hands – ‘Fallout’

Flowers Of Palo – ‘Not Long Til New York’

The 1975 – ‘Love It If We Made It’

Ben Howard – ‘Time Is Dancing’

Idles – ‘Samaritans’

Kid Kapichi – ‘Sardines’ 

Lola Young – ‘Blind Love’

We’ve recently updated the playlist on our Spotify, check it out for sure. It’s filled with some great up and coming bands and musicians, as well as some of our fave golden oldies.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

I don’t really know how to answer this without coming across very cliché and like a bit of a knobhead! BUT HERE WE GO! I think we have some awesome fans. Though we are only based in the South-West, we’ve managed to really gain some traction, and we couldn’t have done that without the support we’ve had from our listeners and our fans at gigs. We’ve managed to gain a bit of a cult following in the South-West with Cornwall and Devon being a real strong area for our shows. We are lucky to have great chemistry with our fans on stage. We often find them singing our lyrics back to us too, which honestly still blows my mind every single time. That feeling will never EVER get old.. And if it does… Well, I think you’re in the wrong job. It is truly humbling. We are known for good live sets, and to go a bit crazy (especially Kieran haha) so it’s awesome when they dance along and go crazy with us. Our fan base is steadily growing, but we will always remember the ones who were there at the beginning, we wouldn’t be where we are today without that lot.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

Kieran… “We build a world in your head, by creating a storyline from our own experiences and tapping into our feelings, and express it through not only the lyrics, but within our instrumentation. We look at how we want to put across our story song by song, delicately building each part. We look at how we can use time signature changes and dynamics to portray the story without any words being said. Whether it be upbeat and positive, to slow and sad, we focus on hard before a song is “finished”. We have written the same way since we were first formed, together in a room, letting ideas flourish, through jamming, or someone bringing a small idea to the table, and allowing it to grow. We will always record it and listen back constantly to scrutinize and perfect.

When I came to recording, we kept these ideas in mind, changing how we played in the smallest ways to bring the most out of the recordings. Whether it was Joe playing fewer cymbals to give the drums a larger sound in the mix, to Milo’s vocal delivery being pushed to its limits, we strive for the most perfect each song can be to encapsulate the story.”

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

It’s hard to take you through an ‘average’ day in the studio, cause I find every day is different! But, I’ll take you through how we came to get most of the songs for the album done. With this album, I wrote a lot of the foundation of the songs on acoustic guitar. I’ve always been my most comfortable when writing on my acoustic. Then, I’ll bring the songs to the band.. and that is where the fun really begins! It’s odd, but we’ve always had this really awesome ability to jam so well together. I’ll play the song on electric a few times, and show them what I’ve been writing.. and then BAM! We are in full swing! The detail comes later, but first, for us, it is really important to feel the song. As cliché as that may sound, it’s true. If we are really feeling a song, that’s when we will take it further. We’ll start to dissect it, cut and change parts, talk through what we’re trying to achieve with the song.. etc, etc. An ‘average day’ in the studio is just a lot of fun; creating new music all the time. Sometimes I think we even get a bit carried away, and we should look at slowing down the process! We have such a large catalogue of songs now! It’s great, but of course, you can only release so much music at a time!

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

Damnnnn! That is a VERY hard question! I think it is hard as I’ve been lucky enough to have so many of those moments throughout my musical career. I think early on I knew I wanted to be involved in the arts, that’s for sure, but as for that defining moment, it’s hard to pinpoint. I think I have to mention when I visited Nashville and Memphis in Tennessee. I went out there on a music trip with my school, and I was blown away. Just truly blown away. It was just music, music, music, music, MUSIC. And I think I knew then, that this is something I had to be a part of. And although my musical sound has certainly drifted from my indie-folk and singer-songwriter foundation, I still love nothing more than to hear the simplicity of an acoustic guitar and heartfelt vocals. From that moment on I was well and truly hooked. My friend and I who played music together actually got to play some songs outside the Grand Old Opry, which was nuts considering there was a show on that evening, it was a properly good experience.

I gotta say though.. any time I’m on stage with the Milo Gore lot, and I’m singing to a full audience, I still get that “this is what I want to do” feeling. I am truly blessed to be doing what I do and to be playing alongside my best mates.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Kieran seems to have guitars coming out of his ears! He always keeps an extra guitar close by, just in case he breaks a string.. which is almost every set! He rocks out proper hard!

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Just to name a few. Penelope Isles, The Velvet Hands, Flowers of Palo, Wolf, Maū, Lola Young, Sea Girls, Kid Kapichi, Aaran Daniel, Bamily, Cam Bloomfield & Junodream. Some close friends, and some even better musicians.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

I talk a lot about honesty.. and if I’m honest, drugs used to be a big thing for me. Weed, cocaine, MD… You name it. It used to get me into a headspace where I was so free and open, that creativity would just pour out of me. That, combined with my experiences, led to a lot of great songs. I mean just listen to our music! It’s all about things that I’ve gone through. The album was heavily influenced by drugs, and I’d be lying if I said otherwise…

However, now I find myself seven months clean and sober, I’m finding new ways to be creative and get the ideas flowing. At first, it was really hard. The adjustment was always going to be difficult. But now I really like diving into concepts and philosophy without drugs. I really want our second album to be much more conceptual. I still want to draw on experiences, but I want to open it up much more, draw in other people’s feelings and ideas. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and proper interesting. I think I’ll definitely do some reflective writing on past stages of my life, I think that will be interesting too. So just thinking about that process and those new challenges that I face with my writing, that gets my new creative juices flowing. I can’t wait to be back jamming with the band on album two.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

Kieran… “Guitar wise, we’re pretty much electric guitars the whole way through and utilizing what we can get out of those, whether we want it to sound like a guitar or not. We like to experiment with guitar pedals and how we use the multiple guitars for different layers to give a song an extra element of atmosphere. We don’t have a loyalty to a brand, we use what we think would be good for the band. That’s the same for all of our equipment, we don’t tend to buy anything because of its name. We have built our set up the long the way, adapting what we had and building on it. We went from a four-piece indie-folk band to something much larger over just a few years, and that was by building our little world, and that included the gear we used. We’ve never really breached too much into software, though obviously with our first album done, we are looking into what equipment, software, and gear we can play around with for album number two!”

Any side projects you’re working on?

Milo Gore is certainly everyone’s main focus, however, all five members of the band have smaller side projects on the go as well. I think we all just love to create! I have a side project called Dark Eyes. Christina works on music under the name of FARE. Kieran, aka Luke Moss, also has music out and is continually creating. Then Joe, our drummer, he is in a couple of other bands called BAGGS & Long Tonic. All our side projects have music out on Spotify and Apple Music, so defo check those out if you have time! Christina and I actually have another side project called Tapes, which is doing really well actually! It’s all very lo-fi, and everything is recorded onto tape.. Hence our name! On Spotify, we’ve just hit two million streams on our song ‘Adele’ from our first EP; dead dogs & sad songs. I don’t think any of us are able to just sit still haha!

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

Milo Gore is now built up around 5 artists. Having started off as my individual project, it is becoming more and more collaborative. Through this collaboration, we’ve definitely started to refine our craft further, as each of us brought our own genre and style to the table. It’s through this amalgamation of genres and sounds that we’ve managed to put together such a fun, exciting and vibrant album. Having started out as a simple singer-songwriter, as each band member has joined, it has really taught me new things. I’ve certainly developed my skills because of those around me, and just like that, the sound of the band grew, transformed and molded into what it is today. We pride ourselves on keeping people hooked with catchy melodies and songs but also keeping that grit and integrity through our lyrics and musical ability.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

Oooh! Well… We were initially expecting to be quite busy in April and May! Especially with our UK tour coming up from April 30th to May 10th! But sadly, due to the circumstances, we are now all quarantined in different parts of the country! Two of the band are stuck in Cornwall, 1 in Bristol, 1 in Swindon, and then I’m stuck in Reading with my family! So even when some bands have luckily had the chance to be quarantined together, we’re all stuck miles apart! It’s really frustrating. We just wish we had the chance to be stuck together, that way we could be writing, jamming, practicing.. etc, etc. BUT! It is what it is! And we can’t complain. We are all safe and sound and in good health. What more could we ask! 

I mean, we still have exciting times ahead! We have our second single ‘Green Eyes’ coming out on the 17th of April, and our debut album coming out on the 20th of August! (with a few singles in-between too!). Fingers crossed that we’ll be able to play our rearranged shows! We are looking to be on tour from the end of August into early September! For now, we are just waiting to see how everything progresses!

Famous last words?

How do you cope while grieving for the living?

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