A few nights ago i got to talk to the boys in Spilt Milk about HSC life and a little bit about the recording process of their first release “The Fall” This is the first BEHIND THE BAND and i hope you enjoy!
//Can you give us a brief history of the band and releases?//
Dylan: Being in high school in the midst of a looming HSC unfortunately takes its fair share of time away from the music we’d rather be making, so our single ‘The Fall’ stands as our only proper release to date with more to come early next year.
//How did the band originate?//
Dylan: Early earlyyy Spilt Milk started between a few mates at Sydney Grammar School back in 2015 as a punk inspired cover band kinda gig up until last year when Charlie started writing some tunes, met me at some shindigs around and made plans to start pumping out some sweet music.
//What’s the first band who made you love music?//
Chuck: For me it was the Beatles. I grew up with them, my parents would always play them whenever they got the chance, so they’ve always been there. I still get just as much enjoyment out of them as I ever did then, even more so now. But yeah that’s how I really fell in love with music.
Sam: I actually first fell in love with theme music from video games and films (especially Doctor Who, which I watched from a young age just for the intro). I couldn’t stand pop, and it would be awhile before I grew to really appreciate specific bands, seeing as, beyond pop music, my friends were only into Green Day.
Dylan: The first time I recall music having a big impact on me would be when I was introduced to Jeff Buckley’s Grace album at 15 which for me then was just this really incredible crazy emotional thing that looking back probably validated a lot of teen angst. Either way, it really gave an example to me of how much you need to put into music for people to get something out.
//Who inspires you to make music now?//
Chuck: Honestly it’s still the artists I look up to. I’m always discovering something new, whether it’s more recent music or some hidden melody in a song I’ve been listening to for years. Also, it’s that feeling you get when you hear an amazing song, that’s what I’m chasing essentially. If I can make someone feel that way about my music that’s a job well done in my opinion, because in my experience it’s one of the most beautiful feelings you can have.
Sam: There is so much crazy music out there, along with many ridiculously talented drummers (Dave Weckl, Virgil Donati, etc.), but the man who inspires me the most is Aleksander Vinter (AKA Savant among his many aliases). He can write in any style and still make it unique, and he hates genres.
Dylan: Everything really man, with music the listener only gets out what the artist puts into it, so really I dig any artist whether it be jazz/rap/alt/rock/metal/reggae/psych or a clusterfuck of all the above that puts themselves in their music. In that respect I dig artists like David L’Eaupepe’s Gang of Youths, the Beatles, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Bon Iver, Foals, Snarky Puppy among heaps others.
//What are some of the most important things you have learnt while being together?//
Chuck: That it takes a while to get a band sounding good live - it takes a lot of work to get everyone in sync but once you do it’s great. Also that co-writing songs can be very fulfilling.
//How do you view your band now as opposed to when you started?//
Sam: When we first started, we were practically a Nirvana cover band trying to play at our school social. But once Chuck started writing for the band, a level of respect sort of grew and we knew this could be so much more. The three of us are all committed to careers in music and so we treat Spilt Milk as our primary project.
//What’s your favourite venue to play?//
Chuck: Well because we’re just finishing with school soon, we haven’t had the chance to do many gigs apart from a couple at a nearby youth centre, which was a lot of fun so I guess it’s good ol’ Mosman Youth Centre.
//Can you explain what goes on during the writing process?//
Chuck: Well initially I had a bunch of these song ideas, chords/melodies/etc, but I had no way to realize their full form I guess - I would just record a riff or whatever into voice memos on my phone so I wouldn’t forget (I still do this pretty often actually.) But then I discovered that my dad had Logic Pro X, with everything I could ever need to record demos of the songs I had, so one day I sat down and bashed out this song over like 8 hours, I became addicted to having what was in my view a finished song, and so I recorded all the other ideas I had in there, just with a guitar and a midi keyboard with a bunch of effects to make it sound like a full band. It allows for sort of writing on the fly, because I can switch between instruments by clicking a button essentially. It’s really fun, but it gets tiresome, so with the introduction of Dylan as a writer there’s a bit more hands on 1 on 1 writing which I think is even better, because you get to vibe of each other’s ideas - it’s just a great feeling.
//Can you explain the recording process you go through?//
Sam: We record everything ourselves - I’ve spent a long time hunting for the right drum skins and listening to cymbal after cymbal to arrive at the drum sounds we’re currently happy with. Following that, if we’re recording in a new space, I’ll move the instrument around the room, listening for where it sounds best, and then place a few sheets of acoustic foam to tame the room sound a touch. At this point, I’ll set up the mics (we use nine, for example, on the kit), and record each part separately to a click track, working from the rhythm section up. Once the actual recording is done and the mixing begins it’s time for me to detach from my ego and work on a mix that will be refined over and over until all three of us are happy, without complacency. What’s most exciting is that we’re super young and already achieving a great sound, yet we’ve got so so much more to learn.
//What does this release mean to you?//
Chuck: it’s exciting because it’s our first official release, and it’s pretty cool to have our stuff on Spotify and iTunes, it’s pretty crazy. We’re just glad that a lot of people seem to enjoy it, and having this release brings our music to people who otherwise wouldn’t have heard our music, it’s cool that they can now.
//What does the scene mean to you?//
//If you could change one thing about the scene, what would it be?//
Chuck: Stop the Sticky Fingers cover bands.
Sam: I think people should expose themselves to all kinds of music - Indian, reggae, electronic, all kinds of rock and jazz, etc. Our Australian music scene tends to have a bit of a specific sound these days, and I really wish there was more experimentation. Kevvy P’s obviously an exception to this.
Dylan: For baby boomers to stop having a fat hissyfit about sound waves from live music entering their little investment property bubbles.
//What song means the most to you?//
Chuck: Probably “A Day In The Life” by the Beatles, I always knew that song was special, and listening to it now it gives me goosebumps, it’s just an amazing song, means a lot to me because it’s always been there throughout my entire life. I’ll probably die to that song.
Sam: In The Air Tonight has the most beautiful mixing I’ve ever heard. It’s like unattainably good. It makes me shiver when I’m listening in the studio with my eyes closed, and I can practically see every instrument. There are too many good songs to pick one on musical/lyrical merit alone though. Actually lyrically it’s gotta be Crossfire by Stephen - so damn meaningful.
Dylan: I’d have to say Vital Signs by Gang of Youths down to David L’Eaupepe’s lyricism - it’s fckn poetry and it epitomizes for me the ecstatic way music should make you feel. Otherwise, there’s this short 1.30 instrumental called Idaho Pt. 2 by Acid Ghost which gets to me for reasons I don’t quite understand. I couldn’t explain it if I tried.
//What’s your favorite song to play live?//
Sam: American Idiot!!
Chuck: Nah but probably the next single we’re gonna release, it has this crazy ending that we all just really vibe on when we play it.
Dylan: Yea we’re all geed for that next one I reckon it’ll go down well^
//Why do you play music?//
Chuck: Because it’s fucking hectic, when you play with people you’re comfortable with it’s beautiful.
Sam: Music is magic, and when you play with great players that’s exactly how it feels. People say I dance when I play and that’s simply because I fucking connect with the music.
Dylan: For jamming with other people really, you get these sick moments that come along every once in awhile where everything just clicks and it’s a crazy feeling.
//Would you encourage people watching this to start bands?//
Chuck: I would encourage anyone watching to whatever they love doing, everyone has something that they’re passionate about, if that’s music, fuck yeah start a band or write music or whatever. If you have a passion, fucking go for it.
Dylan: Yeah for sure like in my opinion playing good music with other people is one of the best feelings you can have, and it grows on you.
//What advice do you have for new bands?//
Chuck: be prepared to be shit - at rehearsals, gigs, whatever - stuff is gonna go wrong at some point, and if you wanna get anywhere you have to fail.
Sam: Hunnit' percent - you’ve gotta back yourself and never fucking stop, no matter how many times people reject you.
Dylan: Just fckn enjoy it cause you’re wasting it if you don’t, and that’s what the music’s about. If you wanna make it you gotta go hard, but just don’t forget what it’s about.
//How important is it to network with other bands?//
Chuck: pretty important, it’s great to be in a community of passionate musicians, it’s like being in a band of bands uno, like a bunch of bands joining together to be one super band.
Sam: Network with everyone. Doesn’t matter if they’re in a band or not, as long as they’re cool people. You might introduce two people who just had to meet each other, and they might be the reason you meet a particular industry contact too.
Dylan: Yea for sure like most of all it’s just heaps chill to have other people to jam and collab with, cause at the end of the day no one is really competing in music.