Friday, March 2, 2012

Emile Millar Interview

I recently had the opportunity to speak with acclaimed singer/songwriter and record producer Emile Millar(PostFontaine, The Lapdancers), about his writing process and recent/future projects.
For the latest on Emile, please check out
How did this project begin?
I began the project three years ago actually. I worked with some usual suspects from California and Austin. I recorded close to 20 songs, it's crazy how time flies...
How would you say you arrived on "your current sound"?
I've been recording music for a long time now. As an artist I like to do different things, but I can definitely hear a common thread now. I think my songs and sound grow as I do.
What's the music scene like in Austin?
Austin is a great town and music is coveted. You can't throw a rock without hitting a musician or a writer. There's a lot of talent here.
Who are some people that you have looked up to in the past in terms of live performance and stage presence?
Well I'm a big fan of Wilco, Shins, Sea and Cake, Belle & Sebastian, etc. I'm a sponge for songwriting and craft. A lot of bands may sound crisp and cool, but the song is most important (to me).
What can people expect when they see you live? What would you like for them to take away?
It has been a while since I performed live. Over a year. It is still a part of my life but I took a break and locked myself in a studio. I've recently begun preparing a live show and hope to start touring this summer.
How did the writing process pan out for your new EP release? How would you say it differed from your previous release Neighbors?
This new EP is a bit different than Neighbors or Stay Here. But in a way it's a combination of both. The songs on this next EP are definitely lush but organic. There's a darkness to the songs and I'm curious to see how people respond, I am really proud of it but I did take some chances, sometimes you have to follow your heart and just hope it's received well.
Tell me how "Traffic Lights" specifically came together...
Traffic Lights was inspired by a short film called Amateur. I composed music for the film and the director Daniel Trevino and I knew there needed to be song attached. I wrote the song for the end credits and it was about a minute long. It came out beautiful and I knew this song deserved to be on a record. The song is about wanting something, having it, and than not knowing what to do...sometimes you need a red light or a green light to help you find your way...something like that.
What would you like for listeners to take way from your albums?
I hope the music speaks for itself. There's a lot of noise out there, if my songs can capture a moment in time or create a mood for someone, I'm happy.
Who did you work with during the recording process of the new EP?
I worked with producer Brian Standafer here in Austin. It was a wonderful experience. I also brought in Dony Wynn (drums) and Bukka Allen (keys). The EP is currently getting mixed in Santa Barbara, CA by Thom Flowers.
What attracted you to work with them?
I worked with these guys before. Brian and Bukka played on the track You & I from Neighbors. I wrote a song for the EP called Having it All and knew I wanted the same team to record it. Dony is my favorite drummer in the world and Thom Flowers' mixing is a sound I am familiar with and trust.
Any advice for new D.I.Y. artists just starting out?
I am a believer that talent rises to the top. It doesn't matter, if you can write a great song and perform it live and in the studio you have a future. If you have that trust in yourself than don't ever stop; keep recording, keep playing, and put yourself in rooms with people you've never played with - this is how chemistry is discovered. If you can afford it, a home studio doesn't hurt. Invest in a Mac, nice mic, mic pre, and compressor. Learn Protools and start tracking. In this day of independent music it's all about content. Keep writing, keep recording, never stop working.
How important is social networking/media for you?
I'm not much of a self-promoter. I never enjoyed asking people to show up to shows. I'm new to Facebook and enjoy it but find it a distraction mostly. I have a simple infrastructure: website, FB page, itunes, etc. It seems to do the trick and allows fans to discover my music on their own. I prefer it that way.
What kind of positives have you seen from having your music featured on shows like One Tree Hill and Dexter? Have you had a chance to see the scenes featuring your songs?
I have seen most of them. A lot of times I don't know their played until after it's aired. I have a DVR so I have a nice collection of shows with my music. It's amusing.
Do you have any other projects currently in the works?
I am finishing the EP, art work meetings and stuff like that. I plan to shoot a video in the next month and have begun preproduction on a record I will produce in April. SXSW is also around the corner and I am always writing and producing instrumentals for television. I just finished the score to a short film called Steal Away and it will be featured at SXSW. My new full length album is also on my brain and I hope to have it out January, weird saying 2013 - sounds odd.
Any shows coming up?
I'm doing a couple small things for SXSW but nothing crazy. Hoping to get the live thing off the ground this summer.
Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?
I'd be listening to The Stones...maybe some Gerry Rafferty or Peter Sarstedt. Most likely The Rolling Stones :)

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