For a newly-signed band criss-crossing the U.S. touring, maintaining exuberance shouldn't be hard for Milo Greene to do. But the Silver Lake dream pop quintet, having just started their biggest tour, is already a bit road worn.
We spoke with them recently in Tucson, Arizona, where multi-instrumentalist Graham Fink is already feeling tired. "We've had like 48 hours to rest up at home," he says. They're just back from Big Sur for a photo shoot and they're using this stop to kick off their first headlining tour, supporting the self-titled debut that peaked at number one on the Billboard Heatseekers chart over the summer. In conjunction, the band has also released a 35-minute short film, Moddison (above), a visually stimulating supplement to the album that's more a companion piece than a marketing tactic.
Milo Greene's members linked up while attending UC Irvine and USC. The band's tight, focused sound is the result of simply having other projects fall short. Fink says that he wanted to "do this band right," and their precision has paid off. "We went through that process of 'being a band in L.A.' and seeing what worked and what didn't work," he says. "From day one, we tried to do things the right way, not just playing to play and figuring out sonically and aesthetically who we wanted to be."
Guitarist and vocalist Robbie Arnett had an idea of Milo Greene's sound before the band's inception, leaning on his love of film scores and early '90s R&B. "We focus on trying to get a rhythm out of the vocal melody, and we try not to put ego in the way," says Arnett. Milo Greene's members are all multi-instrumentalists, but it's the band's layered vocal melodies and harmonies that are key to their sound. The choral vocals are dense enough to stand on their own, almost making instrumentation an afterthought at times.
Between their live act and Moddison's cinematic narrative, Milo Greene has found themselves in a limelight they may not be necessarily comfortable with. Though the band is relatively new, Fink's aware of how fast a musical act can move through the cycle of independent music. There's a bit of that self-aware jadedness that he jokes about. "It's like, 'We already liked them, got over them, moved on,'" he jokes.
But if determination is any indiction of a band's success, Milo Greene should prosper. They've submitted Moddison to both South By Southwest and Sundance film festivals, and foresee the next year as being solely lived out on the road. Fink quotes the ever-insightful Rick Ross to describe Milo Greene's inevitable grind. "You know, everyday we're hustling," he laughs.
Milo Green plays Saturday, November 17 at the El Rey
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