I didn’t find an Englishman in a three-piece suit, wearing a monocle, when I went to meet Milo Greene. When I arrived I found the band, consisting of Robbie Arnett, Graham Fink, Andrew Heringer, Curtis Marrero, and Marlana Sheetz, in the middle of sound check getting ready for the night’s performance. For those of you who don’t know Milo Greene, they are a Los Angles based “cinematic-pop” band. The band adopted the moniker of their fictitious band manager/booking agent, which was created by Andrew Heringer and Robbie Arnett, in order to get themselves better gigs early on. Milo Greene is on tour promoting their second album “Control”, which was released in January of this year, coming almost three years after their debut self-titled album. “Control” was recorded at Highland Park studio with producer Jesse Shatkin, who has worked with the likes of Foster the People, Kelly Clarkson, and Cheryl Cole.
The group is currently just starting their own headlining tour, only a week after their tour supporting Foster the People. Calgary marked the band’s return to Canada, with dates to follow in both Edmonton and Winnipeg, before the band returns state side in which they will continue to tour until the wrap things up in Austin Texas at the ACL Music Festival in October.
“Our set was twenty songs last night,” stated Graham Fink to his bandmates during sound check, “We played seventeen songs last night with three for the encore.” Fink was referring to their show in Missoula, Montana the night before, a stop that was essentially their first full show on their headline tour. Up until Missoula, the band had been playing a 45 minute sets, but were now was revisiting some material they hadn’t played live in a while. The greater depth of songs, without a doubt will be welcomed by fans of the band.
After the band wrapped up their sound check I was joined by Andrew Heringer, Graham Fink and Marlana Sheetz, and we started talking about their new album. Rumours were that the band had fifty songs for the new album which they whittled down to thirteen for the release. “Fifty ideas,” clarified Fink, ”It’s not like we fifty complete songs and had to cut thirty-seven, but you know we trading demos and ideas for a year before we settled into things we actually started tracking, but there was a lot of stuff flowing.”
The process of song writing and recording is what Heringer describes as, “Something that they are always figuring out.” He goes on to explain that the process is, “Day to day, switching, adapting. The beautiful thing about this group, when it is done at its best we have all these people to throw ideas off of, any combination of those people and those idea, and whatever makes music that we all fall in love with and want to put out.”
Admittedly the process is not simple and constantly evolving for the band, and there is “no simple answers” according to Fink, and this is especially so when you have, “four passionate songwriters.”
“Deciding on the songs, there has to be an amount of fairness that has to be involved in it,” shares Marlana Sheetz, “if everyone had exactly what they wanted, then everyone would have an album, filled with exactly with what they wanted. That’s not exactly how this group works. There is lots of decision making.”
“There was a number of songs, that we didn’t want to cut, but they didn’t work with this group of songs,” elaborates Heringer. This comes as no surprise especially knowing the volume of material being worked on in the making of this album. So the question then becomes, what will happen to that material? “There’s a good three or four that we have already talked from these sessions bringing on at some point along the road whether it is another album or an EP, “explains Heringer. This is something that will come as welcome news to fans.
Upon listening to the new album, people will find that the percussion is more pronounced than the previous album. Heringer explained that, “We spent so much time on the road with the first record, and especially towards the end we were doing a whole bunch of festivals, I think there was something about that environment that we wanted to explore a bigger sound, and I think at the same time it was also some of the music we were really excited about, you know, things that had that more percussive, friendly, more dance feel to it.”
“That is also the last thing that we focused on the last album,” indicated Sheetz, “Drums and percussion were a last minute thought, and it was hard to put that on top of what we already had, so we wanted to start with that first. So pretty much every song started with a drum beat and a groove.”
“We went with Curtis into a studio and recorded a ton of beats, and then we take those backs and start recording on top of them, and playing around with them, “Fink expanded, “I think that is where the whole fifty song idea came from.”
When Milo Greene released their self-titled album in 2012, they also release a short film entitled “Moddison”, which encompassed every song on their debut album. This time around the band is looking to visually explore the songs from “Control” in a different manner. Fink explained that,” With the first record it felt so cohesive, you know the visual counterpart was so natural, so the film in itself became such a natural extension of the album.” He went on to say that, “I think this record was more, you know, a song by song record. All the songs came from different places, and they have a little bit more variety to them. Something about the way we capture each other’s individual stuff, voices and stylistic directions, something where that full movie may not have felt as natural. I think we wanted to explore more with video by video, more traditional video ideas, which is how we started with ‘Lie to Me’.”
Currently the band is focused on their tour. “It’s a funny thing touring, but as soon as you not on the road your dying to get back out there, cause there are so many fun adventures to be had,” say Sheetz. Unfortunately the band doesn’t have the time that they would like at every stop due to the amount of driving involved, but do appreciate some of the smaller things like photography, reading, and even the odd game of rest stop football (despite some lost balls) while on tour.
In fact according to Fink, “We had one of favorite days of our lives in Montreal on our first tour, we rented bicycles, and went around the old port and explored, and drank Irish coffee.”
However, once the tour ends this October, the band is looking to get back into the studio. They are acutely aware of the time between their two albums, and the amount of material that they have that in the bank. “More time passed between our first record and second than we would of liked,” stated Fink, “I think when we get back off the road, and get some breathing time probably in the fall we will dive right back into getting some new ideas, and maybe finishing some of the ones that didn’t make it onto Control, and then it is just deciding the best approach.”
Sheetz mirrors this sentiment indicating that, “I hope we have another album soon.”
We do too.