Millie creates cross-genre punk that is hard to ignore. With lyricism that pokes fun, draws you in or leaves you questioning social norms teamed with incredible vocal dexterity, grinding guitars, irresistible horn hooks and a pumping rhythm section. The Millie Manders Music Machine churns out more raw punk fusion than you can shake a stick at, with a huge amount of Pop appeal.
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where are you right now?
Currently residing at my Tour Manager’s caravan in Suffolk (he lives in an awesome caravan next to open fields and it’s lush) we are self isolating together because we are great friends, and frankly, it would be horrid doing this alone for either of us.
Tell us about your musical style:
Vocally I am classically trained but prior to lessons I taught myself techniques by listening to people like Cranberries, Skunk Anansie, Rage Against The Machine, Aretha Franklin and musicals like Phantom Of The Opera (I have an incredibly eclectic musical background, for which I am eternally grateful). As a band we all come from different musical backgrounds and that is reflected in our writing style. Punk, Pop, HipHop, Metal and Ska are all influences from various band members and I think that comes through in spades. We term our music “Cross-Genre Punk” for that reason.
What are some major accomplishments you’ve achieved?
As a band we have played infamous stages such as Brixton Academy and The Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, played major festivals such as Boomtown and Rebellion, got shortlisted for Glastonbury, played on Fresh Blood on Kerrang! Radio. All things that have made me (and make me) incredibly emotional. I never would have dreamed my little project would have got this far. Personally major achievements would have to include some of my vocal students – one in particular could barely speak for vocal damage when she came to me but 6 months later we had her singing in full range again. Seeing student successes is a beautiful thing. I’m also proud of having lived and worked in the fashion industry in Cape Town, my retail management background and the First Degree Hons in Music Management that has enabled me to self manage the band. I have had a very full life so far and it’s yet another thing I am grateful for.
Millie, your a hybrid of raw punk fusion all rolled up into a great front person. What is it that made you who you are?
Musically would be my parents. They influenced my love for music and nurtured my desire to learn instruments. My “stage persona” took a long, long time. I was always an anxious and shy child and I have always had horrendous stage fright (as a small child I wet myself, as an adult I still often have panic attacks and throw up). For years I could barely move on stage for fear, and could not for the life of me interact with an audience. I had to force myself to perform and little by little my confidence grew. I think the majority of performers have a “character” on stage – obvious household names would be Beyonce (Sasha Fierce) and Stephanie Germanotta (Lady Gaga) and I’m really no different to that. I enjoy being a larger version of myself. Acting out the characters within each of my songs is liberating. I am able to be stronger, voice my views and create a presence far bigger than I ever could be otherwise.
How is the band coping and dealing with this life changing pandemic?
I’m still running things from home and trying to find ways of engaging with all the lovely people who follow our journey. It’s really tough not being on the road and not being able to see each other. We all miss it terribly, but James and I have started writing again, Ale and George are both studying degrees and Dom is producing for other artists so we are all keeping as busy as we can and maintaining as much creativity as possible. We have group chats too so there is loads of camaraderie going on.
What was the group working on before everything happened?
We were due to be on a 15 date tour in April so a lot of our time was spent gearing up for that. We had just filmed three music videos too for the singles coming out on our debut album. So thankful we got them all filmed before the lock down! Lots of bands are struggling to create content with the limitations right now so we are incredibly lucky. We were, and still are, working towards the album release in October and we are keeping all our release dates the same so that’s where my concentration lies at the moment; getting the videos finished, looking at the merchandise and talking to our fans and followers about the physical and digital pre-orders available for the album.
What would you like to plan after the pandemic is over?
Tours. Lots of them. And loads more new music. But on a personal note, I’ll be visiting friends and family more. Making more time for hugs and chats and cups of tea in the garden. The little things that are important haven’t become more important, but have been highlighted so much more and I will never take them for granted again.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
A difficult question. I think I’d have to break that down in to the separate words. Dark can be dangerous, suffocating, mysterious, decadent, rich, enticing, frightening… Beauty to me is natural, unique, honest, loving, fierce, strong, weak, sensitive, ethereal, complicated… so Dark Beauty would be all those things. Like Mother Nature – a lightning storm or a forest at night with the stars shining down through the trees.