Milo Greene have learned to take Control.
story / Korrina Rose
photos / Hartman/Harris
After having recently wrapped up a tour with Bombay Bicycle Club, Graham Fink muses on being back in Los Angeles: “It’s like summer camp withdrawals. You get home from summer camp and you don’t get to see all your friends. There’s not stuff to do all day, every day. I don’t have 4 hours [while on tour] to sit on my couch, but once you cross that, it’s like, ‘Wow, this is amazing that I get to sit around and be at peace with the universe.’” And that is a peace well deserved. Armed with stories of slashed tires and a near death experience of their sound guy, Milo Greene sat down with LADYGUNN over jitter-inducing coffee and sub-par chai tea to chat about the release of their sophomore album, Control, and upcoming headlining tour.
Milo Greene is comprised of 4 members who share vocal and instrumental duties: Robbie Arnett, Graham Fink, Andrew Heringer, and Marlana Sheetz. They are an LA-based band that can be described as indie cinematic-pop, although to try to fit them neatly in a single genre just doesn’t work. When asked what their dream movie to score would be, their answers ranged from Brokeback Mountain to an Alfred Hitchcock horror flick. With their second album, Control, Milo Greene’s sound has definitely evolved and is apparent with their decision to enlist producer Jesse Shatkin, who has worked with the likes of Sia, Foster The People and Ellie Goulding, and drummer Joey Waronker (you might know him from Beck and R.E.M.) to bring their more up-beat pop record into fruition. The band doesn’t see the new sound as a change but more of a natural progression that can be attributed to just life. “The first album is very much a time capsule of what we made four years ago when we first started writing. This album is, in a similar way, what we’ve done in the past year of our lives together after 3 years of touring,” explains Fink. The band started writing Control while off tour and were naturally drawn to songs that had different rhythmic patterns and drums which they built into a record that they felt was cohesive and relevant to what they wanted to achieve musically. In response to what many people have called a “genre jump” Heringer says, “We never really saw the first record as a folk record, it was just that we had a mandolin or a banjo around us at the time and that was what we used. This time we are finding new instruments to create a new sound or whatever it is that is inspiring us in the moment. There were just specific things we knew we really wanted to play with like drums and different guitar sounds and using our vocals in different ways and so it wasn’t an attempt to jump genres as it was just to experiment and play with what was actually exciting for us right now.”
Navigating a project with so many inputs, especially when all members have been leads in other bands before, might seem like a nightmare, and while it can be frustrating at times, Sheetz feels quite the opposite, “The title of the new album is called Control and that pretty much explains everything. If you’re the lead singer of your band you’re in charge, you’re in control, it’s your band, and that’s one thing – but in this band, we’re all working together. There’s never really a day when we know who’s the leader or who’s in control and it can make things confusing, but its also exciting.”
When asked about what we can expect to see on their upcoming headlining tour, amid answers of piñatas, sequins, and pyrotechnics, Sheetz says to anticipate “more dancing from all of us than anybody has ever seen because the songs are more leaning in that direction.” It’s very apparent that the band has been eager to release the new album and get back to performing. They mentioned working on a new production scheme and lighting, and looking forward to playing for a crowd that knows their new songs. “During the [Bombay Bicycle Club] tour people were kind of looking at us like ‘new songs??’ and you can’t really gauge that – if you see [the crowd] not reacting, you can’t actually internalize that and think, ‘oh maybe they don’t like that’ because they are just experiencing and just kind of taking it all in for the first time,” explains Heringer. But don’t think for a moment that Milo Greene has a shred of doubt about their new record; they answered the question of how to describe Control in one sentence with barely a moment of thought:
“Motherfucking jam of 2015.”