Milo Greene talks change, control and craft

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The Los Angeles-based band Milo Greene put out its first and only album in 2012, touring extensively in support of it before settling down to craft its newest compilation, scheduled to be released this January. The upcoming LP, Control, breaks from the haunting feel of the band’s self-titled work to focus on a more uptempo beat that features a stronger percussive element and the inclusion of synthesizers. The Daily Californian spoke with one of the four singers, Andrew Heringer, to discuss the production of Control and the future of Milo Greene.

The Daily Californian: How would you describe your music to a deaf person?

Andrew Heringer: We just spent the last year making a new record, and we’ve spent a lot of time getting a really strong percussive element, so hopefully a deaf person would be able to feel the vibrations of all the rhythms going on.

DC: I read that you worked with drummer Joey Waronker and song engineer Jesse Shatkin on this album. How was working with them, and did you find that they greatly influenced your work?

AH: We first worked with Joey. He’s a-drumming for Atoms For Peace with Thom Yorke from Radiohead and for Beck. Like I said, we really wanted to focus on making a great rhythmic foundation for this album, and he is that guy. We went over to his house, and he had a whole room of percussion toys … When somebody else with their set of expertise comes in, they can push us in ways that we wouldn’t have thought of on our own. And the same goes for Jesse (Shatkin). Jesse comes from a pop, hip-hop background. He worked on some Sia stuff, and he’s worked on some of the Tegan and Sara stuff. So we wanted his expertise in building a bigger sound, a bigger sonic landscape for us.

DC: There is a substantially greater focus on percussion on this album. What other ways do you think you went in a new direction with this record?

AH: For this record, we wanted to emphasize each person’s unique voice, so we definitely let people have their moments. With the vocals on this record we definitely … tried to give everyone an individual voice. We kind of spent some time where everybody got to play around with vocals in these songs and put their personality into the songs. We also are sort of dabbling in a different genre. I would say it’s more of an ’80s dance pop sound than the last record, which had more of this ’70s folk vibe.

DC: The title of your upcoming album is Control. What does “control” mean to you personally?

AH: I found a lot of peace with the idea of letting go of control and the idea that this album can be so much more because we have such an amazing team of people around us, you know … So really allowing them to collaborate with us and for us letting go of being hands on with all the details, bringing in people for their expertise and for their vision too. Control can go so many ways, and I think every band member would give you a different answer on that one. But for me, I’ve found a lot of peace and a lot of pleasure in letting go of control.

DC: What is one band you wish you could tour with and why?

AH: I think (Arcade Fire is) incredible. They bring it. They’re so dedicated to being a great live band. I saw them recently, and they did a really good job making the entire show an event. It wasn’t just the music, but they had all sorts of little things, like visual things … They made an experience that you wouldn’t have necessarily seen by just going to any regular concert.

DC: Could you ever see Milo Greene having a definitive front man or woman?

AH: I don’t think so. I think we’re all just very active as songwriters … Who knows? The next record could be an acoustic record. I think it is possible that Milo Greene could evolve a lot from record to record. The four of us really are actively looking to new music and writing new music and pushing each other to get into other genres. We came together originally because we were four people who could sing, and I think that’s a big part of what we all love. But … it’ll probably change from record to record.

Milo Greene is opening for Bombay Bicycle Club at the Warfield on Sunday.

Sasha Chebil covers music. Contact her at [email protected].