A Q&A with Millie Manders and the Shutup
Fierce and addictive – introducing the politically charged Millie Manders and The Shutup…
How did you get the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
Telling Truths, Breaking Ties is our debut album. It’s an outpouring of self-exploration, looking at mental health, heartbreak, and loss, while also dealing with current issues such as climate change, plastics, the health care system, immigration, and justice.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
The logistics, probably. With none of us living close to each other, the album had to be written remotely with ideas constantly bouncing back and forth via voice-note, bit-part logic projects and email. Our longsuffering guitarist did a lot of the hard work by piecing everything together as pre-production before we booked ourselves into the studio. We also only gave ourselves six months. It was high stress, but worth it.
Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
We went to John Mitchell at Outhouse Studios in Reading. He’s worked with some massive influences for us such as Enter Shikari and Lower Than Atlantis. He was incredible at getting us to try out various twists and really pushed me vocally with harmonies to get extra out of the sound.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
Certainly, with the more political songs, I am hoping to at least raise awareness of some of the issues I am most passionate about. The broken-hearted songs were an outlet, and to begin with, the mental health tracks for me were more cathartic than anything else and part of my way of processing my own issues. I never expected so many people to connect with them the way they have, but it has been beautiful to talk to so many people who go through similar things.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
There isn’t one process used or a usual way. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to hear with a song, sometimes I will send James a crappy acoustic song and ask him to make the structure better. For some of them, James will have a backing track and my lyrics fit, or one that I can write to. Alex once wrote a chord structure on a keyboard app on his phone and that was turned into a song. I think for us it’s just allowing the creativity to flow when it strikes rather than having a formula to create a song.
Which bands/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
There are many influences in the band. Vocally for me it would be Skin (Skunk Anansie), Gwen Stefani, Aretha Franklin, P!nk, Dolores O’Riordan (Cranberries), Scroobius Pip; sound wise I would say all those but also Rage Against The Machine, Skindred and Enter Shikari. James’ biggest influences are bands like Less Than Jake and Goldfinger; George’s bass lines are inspired by The Beatles and Queen; Dom is predominantly a jazz musician; and Alex is a huge fan of Blink 182 and that all comes out in the music too.
Which countries would you like to tour? And are there any standout venues you’d like to play?
I would like to tour anywhere and everywhere that has kind people who love music. My bucket list venue is Shepherds Bush Empire, though. It has a special place in my heart and I long to tread those boards!
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
That’s a hard question. I’d say either ‘Silent Screams’ or ‘Your Story’. Those two probably encompass a fair amount of our sounds.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
To go as far as we can is the simple answer. But in between we would like to see a second full length and more extensive touring for now. We have some wonderfully exciting things coming up and I want to enjoy those moments and each small success as it happens while striving to get better and achieve more.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
It’s always an outpouring of gratitude for those who have come to see us, those that made the show happen and for my band. I wouldn’t be on the stage without those people, so I see no better way to leave it.
For more info visit millie-manders.com